Ratings Roundup: Fox’s NFC Championship Most-Watched Program Since Super Bowl; YES Is Top RSN for 11th Time in 12 Years

Fox’s coverage of the Seahawks dramatic overtime win over the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday projects to be the most-watched television program in the country since last year’s Super Bowl XLVIII, according to Nielsen fast nationals. The game scored a 27.4/51 household rating/share, attracting 49.8 million viewers. That is Up 13% over the 24.2/45 (42.0 million) for San Francisco and Atlanta when FOX last aired the NFC Championship in the early window in 2013. The game peaked at a 31.9/54, with 59.6 million viewers from 6:00-6:30 PM.

It also projects to be the first time in nine years in which an early-window conference championship game out-rated the late-window game (see below). Top 5 Markets were Milwaukee – 53.9/83; Seattle – 51.9/86; Portland – 38.4/71; Minneapolis – 37.7/69; and Indianapolis – 36.5/56.

The complete 2015 NFL Playoffs on FOX averaged a 23.4/42 with 42.1 million viewers, +1% over last year’s 23.1/40, 42.0 million viewers and ranks as FOX’s second most-watched NFL postseason ever behind 2012’s 42.6 million viewers. FOX projects to sweep the NFL postseason by having the top-rated game in all three playoff rounds, marking the first time that has happened in five years.

FOX Sports GO posted its second-largest day ever, following Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, the day of Super Bowl XLVIII. Largest day ever for authenticated viewership on FOX Sports GO, +12% versus the prior record (2014 World Series Game 7). Cumulative unique visitors to the game more than doubled (+122%) last year’s digital broadcast of the NFC Championship….

…The Patriots’ blowout of the Colts in the AFC Championship Game Sunday drew a 24.2 overnight rating on CBS Sunday evening, down 22% from 49ers/Seahawks on FOX last year (31.0) and the lowest for any Conference Championship game since Ravens/Steelers in 2009 (23.8). Compared to last year’s Broncos/Patriots AFC title game, which aired in the early window, the 24.2 declined 18% from a 29.5. (SportsMediaWatch)…

The weekend prior, an average of 37.8 million viewers watched the four Divisional Playoff games, making it the most-watched NFL Divisional Weekend ever, topping the previous record (36.6 million, 2011).

Sunday afternoon’s Dallas Cowboys-Green Bay Packers matchup on FOX averaged 44.4 million viewers to rank as the second most-watched Divisional game on record (New York Giants-Green Bay Packers, 1/15/12, FOX, 45.1 million).

The Indianapolis Colts–Denver Broncos game on CBS drew 41.8 million viewers to rank as the second most-watched AFC Divisional Playoff game since at least 1987 (New York Jets-New England Patriots, 1/16/11, CBS, 43.5 million).

Saturday afternoon’s Baltimore Ravens-New England Patriots game on NBC averaged 34.0 million viewers to rank as the third-most watched Saturday AFC Divisional game on record.

The Carolina Panthers-Seattle Seahawks game on FOX rounded out the weekend averaging 31.0 million viewers, the network’s most-watched primetime Saturday NFL Playoff game ever…

… The NFL Playoffs have also been a hit up North, as CTV drew a record audience for its NFC Championship coverage in Canada. According to overnight data from Numeris, the game attracted an average audience of 2.34 million viewers to the network. It was the most-watched afternoon Conference Championship game on record on Canadian television. The game was also the most-watched program on Canadian television this week, with the audience peaking late in the fourth quarter with more than 3.7 million viewers as the game went into overtime.

The AFC Conference Championship attracted an average audience of 1.9 million viewers to CTV. Overall, a total of 10.3 million viewers tuned in to CTV to watch some or all of the network’s coverage of the NFL Conference Championships on Sunday…

The weekend prior saw the four games of the NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend on CT attract an average audience of 1.4 million viewers, an 11% increase over last year (according to overnights) The top-rated NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend game saw an average audience of 1.6 million viewers tune in to watch the Green Bay Packers’ nail-biter victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Baltimore @ New England crew 1.56 million viewers on CTV, making it the most-watched program overall on Saturday. Carolina @ Seattle drew 1.3 million viewers on CTV. Indianapolis @ Denver drew 1 million viewers on TSN…

…The YES Network finished the 2014 broadcast year as the most-watched RSN in the country for the 11th time in 12 years, with its Primetime and Total Day deliveries both experiencing double-digit year-over-year growth in the New York DMA.  YES’ average Primetime delivery of 58,000 Households in the New York DMA was a 16% increase over the 50,000 Households it averaged in broadcast year 2013. YES’ average of 58,000 Households in Primetime was 23% more than that delivered by the second-most-watched RSN in the country. YES’ average Total Day delivery of 23,000 Households in the New York DMA was a 10% increase over the 21,000 viewers it averaged in broadcast year 2013. YES average of 23,000 Households in Total Day was 44% more than that delivered by the second-most-watched RSN in the country. In Total Day, YES also saw significant year-over-year increases in several key demos, including Men 18-49 (17%) and Persons 18-49 (13%). In Primetime, YES also saw significant year-over-year increases in several key demos, including Men 25-54 (22%) and Persons 25-54 (16%)

In terms of the New York DMA, YES average Total Day delivery of 23,000 Households in the New York DMA was 92% greater than that of MSG and SNY (each averaged 12,000), and 667% greater than that of MSG Plus (3,000). YES’ average Primetime delivery of 58,000 Households in the New York DMA was 42% greater than that of MSG (41,000),  93% greater than that of SNY (30,000), and 544% greater than that of MSG Plus (9,000)

As for the Yankees on YES, New York Yankees game telecasts on YES averaged 223,000 TV Households in the New York DMA for the 2014 season, a 15% year-over-year increase from the 194,000 average TV Households YES delivered for its 2013 Yankees game telecasts. New York Yankees game telecasts on YES saw significant year-over-year increases in key demos: Men 25-54 (28%); Men 18+ (20%); Persons 25-54 (20%). Persons 2+ (18%); Persons 18+ (17%). Yankees pre-game shows on YES enjoyed a 25% year-over-year increase in average TV Household delivery (45,000 in 2014 vs. 36,000 in 2013). Yankees post-game shows on YES enjoyed a 23% year-over-year increase in average TV Household delivery (86,000 in 2014 vs. 70,000 in 2013). Yankees Batting Practice Today on YES enjoyed a 6% year-over-year increase in average TV Household delivery (18,000 in 2014 vs. 17,000 in 2013).

Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium, on September 25th, was the most-viewed program ever on the YES Network, averaging 1.25 million viewers in the New York DMA (a 10.84 average TV Household rating).  The game telecast peaked at 1.99 million viewers from 10:15 to 10:30 pm ET (16.55 average TV Household rating), the most-viewed quarter-hour in YES’ history

YES’ Digital Growth was highlighted by a 235% year-over-year increase in video views across its various platforms in 2014. YESNetwork.com recorded a 20% year-over-year increase in monthly uniques in 2014. YES ended 2014 with 350,000 followers on social media (Twitter + Facebook)…

…FOX Sports 1 generated a 1.7 in the overnight numbers for UFC Fight Night on Sunday, which would mark the channel’s highest-rated and most-watched UFC event of all time. (Cynopsis Sports)…

…Despite some struggles this season, the Cavaliers’ 11 games on TNT, ESPN or ABC this season have had a year-over-year increase in viewership in 10 cases. Thursday’s Cavaliers/Lakers game was the latest to see an improvement, with viewership rising 6% over Thunder/Rockets last year (from 1.9M to 2.0M). The previous week, games against the Rockets (1.4M, +18%) and Warriors (1.8M, +16%) had year-over-year increases despite the absence of LeBron James. (SportsMediaWatch)…

ESPN2 drew 1.44 million viewers for North Dakota State’s fourth consecutive FCS National Championship win last Saturday, up 16% from 1.24 million viewers for the team’s win in the same Saturday afternoon time slot last year. The audience also was up 31% from 1.1 million in 2013. (SportsBusinessJournal)