Ratings Roundup: CBS Scores Third Biggest AFC Divisional Playoff Audience Ever with Broncos-Chargers; FOX NFL Playoffs Most Watched Ever Through Three Games

CBS’s broadcast of the AFC Divisional Playoff game featuring the Denver Broncos win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday was seen by an average of 41.1 million viewers (Persons 2+), the third-largest viewer average for a Sunday AFC Divisional Playoff game in 27 years (as far back as CBS records go, 1987-88 season). The audience was up 9% from last year’s 37.7 million (Houston-New England), while the fast-national household rating/share of 23.0/39 was up 6% from last year’s 21.7/36 (Houston-Denver). Sundays’s 23.0/39 is the third highest-rated Sunday AFC Divisional Playoff game in 18 years (25.4/42 Indianapolis-Kansas City; 1/7/96; NBC). The average viewership and rating/share peaked for the Chargers-Broncos game with 46.0 million viewers and a 25.3/38 (7:30-7:59 PM, ET), respectively.

The primetime Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots Game on Saturday scored a 19.4 overnight on CBS in primetime — up 4% from Packers/49ers on FOX last year (18.7), but down 6% from Broncos/Patriots in 2011 (20.6).…

…The 2014 NFL Playoffs on FOX is the network’s most-watched ever after three games, averaging 37.2 million viewers, eclipsing the network’s previous high of 36.5 million viewers set in 2012.  The three-game average household rating, 21.3/39, is up 11% versus 2013 (19.2/34) and ranks as the network’s highest-rated NFL postseason since 1997 (21.5/44).

Saturday’s New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks NFC divisional playoff matchup posted an 18.1/34 household rating/share with 31.1 million viewers.  Saturday’s early game rating is up +7% over last year’s NFC divisional game (16.9/27 for Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers in prime time).  The game was the second highest-rated Saturday NFC divisional game on FOX since 1999 (No. 1 is 22.2/42 was set in 1996) and the third most-watched Saturday divisional game on FOX ever. New Orleans led all markets with a 51.1/74 followed by Seattle which registered a 48.4/82. The audience peaked at 36.5 million viewers from 7:00-7:30pm ET.

Sunday’s San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers NFC divisional playoff game posted a 19.9/41 household rating/share with 33.3 million viewers, up 3% compared to last year’s 19.3/38 and 11% compared to 32.1 million viewers in 2013, which pit the Seattle Seahawks against the Atlanta Falcons.  The game marked the third consecutive broadcast in 2014 in which FOX posted year-to-year gains and and the first time that the NFC playoff games on FOX have exceeded 31.0 million viewers for each of its first three games. Charlotte led all markets with a 42.1/70 followed by Sacramento 38.5/70, Greensboro 36.8/56 and San Francisco 35.8/74. The audience peaked at 38.6 million viewers at 3:30pm ET…

…ESPN men’s college basketball game telecasts have posted significant audience growth two months into the 2013-14 season (through January 9). The network has averaged 1,373,000 viewers and a 0.9 US HH rating for increases of 25% (vs. 1,097,000) and 13% (vs. 0.8) over last season. ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU have combined to televise 249 games – the majority being nonconference matchups – averaging 413,000 viewers for a 4 percent increase over the same point last year.

ESPN’s most-viewed game of the season – then-No. 2 Michigan State’s win over then-No. 1 Kentucky in the November 12 State Farm Champions Classic – is also the network’s second most-viewed nonconference game ever, averaging 4,002,000 viewers based on a 2.6 US HH rating. The second most-viewed game of the season also from the Champions Classic saw then-No. 5 Kansas upending then-No. 4 Duke averaging 2,977,000 viewers based on a 2.1 US HH rating. The two games are ESPN’s seventh and 33rd most-viewed men’s basketball telecasts all-time, respectively. ESPN’s third most-viewed game of the season – then-No. 18 North Carolina defeating then-No. 11. Kentucky on December 14 – averaged 2,719,000 viewers based on a 1.7 US HH rating.

Louisville, looking for its 12th consecutive year as the highest-rated metered market for ESPN game telecasts, currently leads all competitors with a 5.1 rating. Greensboro (3.3), Raleigh-Durham (2.7), Memphis (3.0), and Kansas City (2.5) round out the top five…

…Univision revealed ratings gains for sports in 2013 across its media platforms with double digit growth in key metrics, according to Nielsen. Additionally, Univision Deportes Network which launched in 2012, finished the year as the fastest-growing cable network in both total day and primetime in 2013. In 2013, Univision’s Liga MX viewership was up 25% among Total Viewers and 17% among Adults 18-49 vs. 2012. On UniMas, viewership for Liga MX spiked 16% for Total Viewers and 9% for Adults 18-49. (Cynopsis Sports)…

…U.S. Figure Skating Championships coverage in primetime one NBC earned a 3.0 overnight rating on NBC Saturday night — up 20% from last year (2.5), up 11% from 2012 (2.7), and the highest overnight for the window since 2010 (4.0). Afternoon coverage drew a 1.9 overnight on Saturday (+19%) and a 1.8 on Sunday (+20%).. (SportsBusinessDaily)