The AFC Championship on CBS Delivers Goliath-Like Ratings

Sunday's games attracted massive audiences, but were slightly down from last year

The Patriots pulled off another late comeback to advance to the Super Bowl.
Getty Images

Billed as a matchup of David versus Goliath, the New England Patriots earned a come from behind 24-20 victory over the underdog Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon in the 2018 AFC Championship Game, sending the franchise to its 10th Super Bowl appearance.

The broadcast delivered Goliath-like ratings for CBS.

According to Nielsen, the CBS Sports broadcast delivered a 27.3 overnight household rating in metered markets. That’s the largest overnight household rating for any telecast since last year’s Super Bowl (LI.)

The 27.3 rating is only down one-tenth from last year’s “early window” championship game broadcast, which was was the NFC championship between the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. That broadcast earned a 27.4 overnight rating, translating to 46.3 million viewers.

The “early window” conference championship broadcast generally delivers a smaller audience than the “late window,” but the riveting nature of this year’s game successfully bucked that trend for CBS.

Fox, on the other hand, saw its conference championship ratings stumble. The 2018 NFC Championship Game on Fox featured a dominant 38-7 Philadelphia Eagles victory over the Minnesota Vikings. After Minnesota scored first, the game quickly turned into a blowout as the Eagles scored the final 38 points of the game, and viewers apparently decided it was time to change the channel.

The Vikings-Eagles “late window” broadcast on Fox broadcast delivered 42.3 million total viewers. That’s a 9 percent drop-off from 2017’s NFC championship.

Combined with Fox Deportes and Fox Sports Go, the game produced 42,849,086 total viewers.

“With our 24th NFL season now in the rearview mirror, we finish with television’s No. 1 show, America’s Game of the Week, and with both of our NFL pregame shows, Fox NFL Kickoff and Fox NFL Sunday, No. 1 in their respective timeslots,” said Fox Sports president, coo and ep Eric Shanks said in a statement. “Looking ahead to our 25th season, Fox Sports continues to be a proud partner of the NFL.”

Feb. 4 on NBC, the Patriots will vie for back-to-back Super Bowl titles, and the franchise’s sixth in 10 appearances. The Eagles, on the other hand, haven’t won a NFL title since 1960, before the Super Bowl even existed.

The franchise’s most recent Super Bowl appearance was XXXIX in 2004. They lost to the Patriots.

Recommended articles