Ratings Roundup: ESPN’s BCS Title Game Scores Record Cable Audience

The BCS National Championship on ESPN pulled in the largest audience in the history of cable television, as the game drew an average of 27.3 million viewers. Auburn’s last-second 22-19 victory over Oregon also earned a 17.8 fast national rating, the highest in ESPN history. The two records were previously held by a Green Bay-Minnesota Monday Night Football on ESPN on Oct. 5, 2009 (21.8 million viewers, 15.3 rating). Despite the new benchmarks, the game was down 11% in ratings and viewership from last year’s BCS title game (Alabama-Texas, 17.2, 30.776 million), which aired on ABC. The game now ranks as the fifth-most-viewed BCS title game ever (13 telecasts)…

…The first weekend of the NFL playoffs produced a host of ratings and audience records, including the single most-watched Wild Card playoff game ever. Sunday afternoon’s Green Bay-Philadelphia showdown on Fox was watched by a Wild Card-record 39.3 million people and scored a 22.1 rating. That is up 14% in viewership and 13% in ratings over last year’s Packers-Cardinals matchup on Fox (34.4 million viewers, 22.1 rating). It also marks the highest-rated and most-watched TV program on any network since the 2010 Oscars and the highest-rated Wild Card game since 1999 (Green Bay-San Francisco on Fox, 23.6)…

…NBC’s coverage of the Jets-Colts Wild Card playoff game on Saturday was the most-watched primetime Wild Card Saturday game ever, pulling in a total of 33.4 million viewers. In addition, the Jets’ 17-16 win over the Colts logged the largest Saturday primetime audience on record (since 1987) for NBC and the largest Saturday primetime audience on any network since the1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics on CBS.

In addition, Game 1 of NBC’s Saturday doubleheader was the most-watched Wild Card Saturday Game 1 ever, drawing 28.4 million viewers. That is up 14% from the Jets-Bengals matchup last year. Overall, the two-game average viewership of 30.6 million is the best ever for an NFL Wild Card Saturday doubleheader, surpassing last year’s average of 28.6 million by 7%. NFL Saturday Wild Card games began in January 1991…

…CBS’s coverage of the Baltimore-Kansas City AFC Wild Card game in the early-Sunday window averaged 28.5 million viewers. This marks the highest-rated, most-viewed NFL Wild Card game on CBS since 2006 (18.9, 30.369 million) when Pittsburgh and Cincinnati faced off in the late-Sunday window.