Can NFL Championship Sunday Continue Ratings Momentum?

The 2019 NFL Regular Season was the most-watched since 2016

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The National Football League is having an excellent year, TV ratings-wise. Can that momentum continue into this weekend’s NFL Championship Sunday, when the Super Bowl LIV participants will be decided?

Maybe — but Sunday’s schedule has a tough act to follow.

The 2019 NFC Championship Game between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints averaged 44.4 million total viewers across Fox and Fox Deportes last January. That was up double digits (on a percentage basis) from the prior year’s NFC Championship Game.

Last year’s AFC Championship, the later of the two pre-Super Bowl matchups, did even better, hauling in 54.2 million total viewers on CBS. That tally made the Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots the most-watched AFC Championship Game in eight years. Including the NFC side of the coin, the Pats’ victory was the most-watched NFL conference championship game in five years.

Those are big numbers, which were made possible in part by the fact that both games went into overtime. Yeah, it was a hell of a football Sunday: Can 2020 keep up?

So far, so good. The 2019 NFL regular season was the most-watched since 2016. The first round of the playoffs, NFL’s Wildcard Weekend, can lay claim to that same best-in-three-years boast. That kept pace yet again last weekend, which was the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs.

The regular season and NFL Playoffs to-date are both up 5% in viewers from last year.

This coming Sunday, Kansas City is back in the hunt, but the Tennessee Titans are a definite downgrade from New England. We mean that in terms of talent, history, fan-base size, marquee players and media market. Boston is the No. 9 media market in the country, Nashville is 27th.

Kansas City is No. 32, but the Chiefs’ No. 15, Patrick Mahomes, is nearing household-name status.

The 2020 almost primetime game (for the East Coast, at least) between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers could be considered an upgrade from L.A.-New Orleans. (Yes, Los Angeles is the second-largest media market in the U.S., but it’s never been a football town.)

Green Bay is a tiny market, but the Packers are one of the NFL’s original franchises. San Francisco-San Jose is the eighth-largest media market in the country.

Tennessee visits K.C. on Sunday, kicking off at 3:05 p.m. ET/12:05 p.m. PT on CBS. Packers-49ers is set for a 6:40 p.m. ET/3:40 p.m. PT start on Fox.

Two weeks later, the winners of those games will face off at Super Bowl LIV, which begins at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on Fox.

Tony Maglio

Tony Maglio

TV Editor • tony.maglio@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tonymaglio



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