Fox, NBC Notch Record Wild Card Overnights


On the heels of a record-smashing NFL broadcast season, Wild Card Weekend has put up some monster preliminary numbers, thanks to a massive upset and a tight AFC matchup between an aging veteran and a spunky upstart.

Saturday’s Saints-Seahawks NFC Wild Card game earned an 18.3 overnight on NBC, the highest rating for the earliest of early-round playoff broadcasts since 1991. That year, the first the NFL scheduled a quartet of Wild Card games, saw the ‘Skins and Eagles draw an 18.6 overnight.

The Seahawk’s home-field upset over the defending Super Bowl champs was up 8 percent from last year’s Jets-Bengals tussle (16.9/31) and improved on the analogous 2009 game (Falcons-Cardinals) by 28 percent, according to Nielsen.

As Drew Brees and the Saints bowed out, fans in New Orleans were glued to their sets. The NBC broadcast earned a 54.4 HH rating/73 share in the Crescent City, beating all comers among the DMAs. The game drew a 39.9/73 in Seattle.

NBC’s late game performed even better, as the Jets-Colts AFC Wild Card showdown drew a 20.8 overnight rating/33 share, up 6 percent from last year’s Dallas-Philly meeting and up 14 percent from Colts-Chargers in 2009.

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