Ratings for conference championships drop, in comparison to last year

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Last year, the AFC and NFC Championship games featured exciting, close contests that went to overtime. One, the Rams win over the Saints, sparked a major controversy regarding uncalled defensive pass interference.

This, the games weren’t as compelling. And the TV ratings reflected that.

Via Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily, both games drew significantly smaller audiences.

The AFC Championship, played in the 3:05 p.m. ET window on CBS, drew 41.1 million average viewers. The early game in 2019, Rams-Saints on FOX, averaged just over 44 million.

The NFC title game attracted an average crowd of 42.7 million viewers for FOX in the 6:40 p.m. ET window. That’s a huge drop in comparison to last year’s 53.9-million audience that saw the Patriots beat the Chiefs in overtime on CBS in the late window.

With the Patriots not in the AFC Championship for the first time since 2011, the AFC title game attracted its smallest audience in 11 years, when the Ravens and Steelers generated 40.6 million in early 2009.

It’s not bad news as much as it’s expected news for the NFL. The games were far less competitive, causing folks who started watching to tune out and/or folks who didn’t initially watch the game to choose not to tune in.

76 responses to “Ratings for conference championships drop, in comparison to last year

  1. There were smaller market teams involved, no overtime games, the Patriots Empire wasn’t there, and the games were blowouts. That was the perfect recipe for lost viewership. Some fans like watching because the villain is still playing.

  2. The Patriots in the last two decades have given us some of the greatest games we have ever seen in this league. The AFC Championship last year was no exception.

    A treat to watch whether you want them to win or lose.

  3. No Patriots equals lower ratings.
    Well, the Pats probably figured out how to fudge the Nielsen Ratings.

  4. Not surprising as the second game was a snooze-fest — unless I guess if you’re a 49ers fan or Vikings/Bears/Lions troll.

  5. The Patriots are a huge ratings draw due to they’re polarizing persona. Fans, even casual ones, either love them or hate them. So they’re going to tune-in either cheer them to victory or hope to see them go down.

  6. That’s because the Green Bay Charity Case were in it, and the league robbed a deserving team of being in it by handing GB several wins during the season, which in turn gave them the division, which gave them a first round bye. We all saw what happens to them when they play a good team and the officials and the league aren’t determining the outcome, they get dismantled.

  7. Villain point made above is the key factor. The Yankees used to draw crowds to stadiums not because Yankees have tens of thousands of ticket goers in every town but because people wanted to root against them. The Pats (and their fans) are so hated, that people come out in droves to root against them.

  8. Not surprising at all really. A huge portion of TV viewers reside in the North East which had zero representation in the Championship games. 3 iconic franchises involved (SF, GB and KC) but all smaller markets with the exception of SF. Over 40 million in viewership is still pretty strong considering the drop everything else has taken on traditional TV.

  9. Not trying to take a shot at Tennessee but they’re the new kid on the block and they’re even less populated than KC. And Nashville barely supports them.

  10. I didnt watch. Everyone is in a rush to not have the Patriots be a part of the Superbowl but not enough to actually watch the games. The superbowl will be must miss TV not that compelling.

  11. There is a simple explanation to the ratings:

    Aside from a smattering of people like me outside of the KC market, no one cares about the Chiefs.

    Tennessee is not invested in the Titans – the shot of a Nashville street with a smattering of those who cared to watch the “home” team was illuminating.

    All 26 Cheese Head fans that weren’t already drunk and passed out were watching the game and likely drank themselves to sleep by half time.

    San Fransisco is more known for human feces on the sidewalks than people who could remember they have a hometown football team. Most of those who could remember there was a football team thought Joe Montana was still the QB.

    The Titans/Chief game was actually interesting because we once again had a team that had a lead over the Chiefs and we got to see Patrick Mahomes do incredible football things without cheating like the fools from New England.

    I cannot explain what happened to the Cheese Cheaters other than they weren’t all that good to begin with and they didn’t get any free plays to make up for their putrid offense that was handled easily by the same team that easily handled them earlier in the year. Ewwin Wawgers was fun to watch as he was babbling to himself saying, “don’t these fools know I’m the queen and I am promised another trip to the Ball?”

  12. Ratings drop because everybody knows what teams the NFL is pushing to the super bowl with all the flags these teams get their way every single week.

    people are realizing the NFL is as fake as WWE. whats the point of even watching anymore?

  13. Wisconsin77 says:
    January 20, 2020 at 6:42 pm
    That’s because nobody cares about the 49ers
    ——
    Meanwhile, everyone outside of Green Bay was celebrating the result of Green Bay losing.

    The Patriots are only a draw because they represent 6 states in the most populated region of the country.

  14. First game was great but the 2nd one just the opposite – except for the outcome. Lucky breaks finally caught up with the green and yellow.

  15. People lost their interest in championship games after bill vinovich decided that the Rams should lose to the Patriots in the super bowl.

  16. Not sure how ratings work but can a lousy game affect ratings? How would people know without watching? I could see a ratings drop in the 2nd half I suppose. I would think a bigger factor would be how much fun teams are to watch in the first place.

  17. It was quite obvious that shortly after the game started in Levi’s Stadium that there was going to be no contest, and people probably switched channels or went and did other things instead of watching the game until the end.

  18. Wisconsin77 says:
    January 20, 2020 at 6:42 pm
    That’s because nobody cares about the 49ers
    __________________________

    Or apparently the Titans, Chiefs or Packers!

  19. I hope the Packers win the next 3 super bowls. The heads exploding here would the best entertainment of all!

  20. You traded Boston/NE for Tennessee, and you traded LA and New Orleans for GB and SF

    Of course the rating dropped. You went from having 2 of the 5 biggest cities in the country, to having none of the top 15

  21. The NFL does not know how to schedule game times and which teams/games need to be in certain time slots. Look at Monday and Thursday night match ups, horrible. They do the same in the playoffs. Green Bay played both their games in the late window, the NFL scheduled that even after the Packers were blown out in the regular season. If the NFL wants tv ratings up, think about how to schedule games thru-out the season and the playoffs.

  22. Saints-49ers was the game of the season.
    The NFCC should have been the rematch.
    The Saints were yhe only team to defeat the SF defense.
    Instead, they give us the Vikings and Packers.
    How did that work for everyone?

  23. Teams like the Patriots, Seahawks, Steelers and Cowboys being out of the playoffs already you have big fanbases full of bandwagon and casual fans that only watch their team and then probably the super bowl.

    Go 49ers!

  24. Everyone tuned in to watch the greatest QB of all time (according to the talking heads), but he slept through the first half and was only a shell of what he once was in the second. Time for the Packers to start the annual QB search like everyone else.

  25. The NFL’s overt manipulation of outcomes through officiating this year came back to bite them.  Once it was obvious that KC didn’t actually have the record they needed to be the top seed, they started by handing KC the 12/8 game in Foxboro (fraudulently affecting seeding by forcing a NE loss and a KC win); then continued by letting a 9-7 team (Titans) knock out the Patriots and Ravens, the teams who had earned those top spots by WINNING throughput the season.  Two teams that t would have deprived the Chiefs of home field advantage and been a much higher level of competition for KC.  Texans and Titans as your path to the super bowl??  Come on, NFL!!  You had that little faith in KC to get there legitimately?  We’re not stupid, and watching KC waltz into the super bowl by beating the 4th and 6th seeds was really boring.  So let’s not act like we can’t figure out why the ratings dropped.

  26. Ratings drop because everybody knows what teams the NFL is pushing to the super bowl with all the flags these teams get their way every single week.

    people are realizing the NFL is as fake as WWE. whats the point of even watching anymore?
    _______________________

    If you believe that, you really should stop watching. I realized wrestling was fake when I was 10 years old and since that point, I never watched another match. You should get a new hobby and not waste your time with the fake NFL.

  27. You can’t allow the league’s MVP to get facemasked and not call it, then on their next possession… mpenalize the league’s MVP for tackling someone by their shoulder… and then expect us to tune in the following week.

    Fix your officiating. Or the ratings will continue to drop.

  28. steelcurtainn says:
    January 20, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    It should increase when the Steelers are back in it next year.

    _________________________________________________________________

    With Tomlin as coach, I doubt it. I cross the Smithfield street bridge ever Sunday and it has been empty most Sundays since 2011.

  29. ahzroc says:
    January 20, 2020 at 8:43 pm
    Saints-49ers was the game of the season.
    The NFCC should have been the rematch.
    The Saints were yhe only team to defeat the SF defense.
    Instead, they give us the Vikings and Packers.
    How did that work for everyone?

    ————————
    I enjoyed it immensely.

  30. ahzroc says:
    January 20, 2020 at 8:43 pm
    Saints-49ers was the game of the season.
    The NFCC should have been the rematch.
    The Saints were yhe only team to defeat the SF defense.
    Instead, they give us the Vikings and Packers.
    How did that work for everyone?

    The Saints couldn’t beat the Vikings. That’s on them.

  31. Without New England in a game, whose been there the last 5 years, you don’t have the additional “fans” watching to just see them lose.

  32. ahzroc says:
    January 20, 2020 at 8:43 pm
    Saints-49ers was the game of the season.
    The NFCC should have been the rematch.
    The Saints were yhe only team to defeat the SF defense.
    Instead, they give us the Vikings and Packers.
    How did that work for everyone

    @@@@@@@@@222

    The Saints should have beaten the Vikings in their own building then.

  33. streetyson says:
    January 20, 2020 at 5:57 pm
    Don’t worry it’ll all go back up next year for Brady’s 14th CG and 10th SB appearance.
    ————————————————–
    Chargers fans will love it!

    The bigger question is how many in NE will still root for Brady when he is in a Chargers uniform?

  34. Meanwhile, everyone outside of Green Bay was celebrating the result of Green Bay losing.

    The Patriots are only a draw because they represent 6 states in the most populated region of the country.
    *************************
    Have you ever been to this part of the country? Maine, NH, and Vermont have more trees than people. Its the Alaska of the east coast. You are literally always in the wilderness with French speaking lumberjacks

  35. jjackwagon says:
    January 21, 2020 at 8:12 am
    …..
    The bigger question is how many in NE will still root for Brady when he is in a Chargers uniform?
    ——————————

    How many New England Patriots fans will still root for Brady if he ends his career with a different team?

    Every single living New England Patriots fan will root for Tom Brady should he end his career with another team.

  36. Of course, the Pats not being there was an impact. I hate them and love seeing them lose. Hopefully, Tommy stays another year and I can see all the bad play and excuses for him. I thoroughly enjoyed this season. Let him stay BB!!

  37. nite2al says:
    January 21, 2020 at 9:11 am
    Of course, the Pats not being there was an impact. I hate them and love seeing them lose….
    ———————————————————-

    Assuming you are 30 years old or older, then the last 20 years have really sucked for you.

  38. The NFL’s overt manipulation of outcomes through officiating this year came back to bite them.  Once it was obvious that KC didn’t actually have the record they needed to be the top seed, they started by handing KC the 12/8 game in Foxboro (fraudulently affecting seeding by forcing a NE loss and a KC win); then continued by letting a 9-7 team (Titans) knock out the Patriots and Ravens, the teams who had earned those top spots by WINNING throughput the season.  Two teams that would have deprived the Chiefs of home field advantage and been a much higher level of competition for KC.  Texans and Titans as your path to the super bowl??  Come on, NFL!!  You had that little faith in KC to get there legitimately?  We’re not stupid, and watching KC waltz into the super bowl by beating the 4th and 6th seeds was really boring.  So let’s not act like we can’t figure out why the ratings dropped.

  39. The lack of viewers had nothing to do with the teams playing. It has much more to do with the abysmal/preferential officiating the league has done absolutely nothing to fix since it was exposed in last year’s NFC Championship.

    Who wants to invest their time in following their team week-to-week only to see their playoff hopes dashed by some incompetent zebra who or may not may be making good on bets he made online prior to the kickoff? It’s not like they make the officials accountable by employing them in anything close to a full-time capacity. Until they do, ratings will continue to slide.

  40. Wisconsin77 says:

    January 20, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    That’s because nobody cares about the 49ers

    ——————————————————————
    Did you have a tub of ice cream and cry yourself to sleep after that game?

  41. Congratulations, chirping Packer and Vikings fans:
    37-8
    27-10
    37-20
    ——-
    101-38
    The Saints scored 46 on the SF Defense, 8 more than the Packers and Vikings combined.
    Packers clearly did not deserve their bye, and the Vikings get away with a push off (should have called it, line ’em up again and go…if they actually legally score, they win, if they kick a FG, Saints get the ball)

  42. The after half-time Superbowl ratings should be abysmal, with two who cares teams. Roger pushed his most preferred, protected team into the Superbowl which very few people like, it is a false reality again of a non-deserving helped with wins team get an unearned pass to the Superbowl. Obvious by the help KC had from the refs throughout the games. Hopefully the press does their job and asks Andy’s why he is such a big supporter of women beaters like Frank and Tyreek. San Fran as city is simply hated by most and has almost no national following and is literally a real crap-hole to visit. Roger’s manipulation looks to make a bad Superbowl for ratings and should get him fired.

  43. streetyson says:
    January 20, 2020 at 5:57 pm
    Don’t worry it’ll all go back up next year for Brady’s 14th CG and 10th SB appearance.

    —-

    As a Las Vegas Raider….

  44. Have you ever been to this part of the country? Maine, NH, and Vermont have more trees than people. Its the Alaska of the east coast. You are literally always in the wilderness with French speaking lumberjacks
    ________
    I have, and yet there are Patriots fans all the way into Canada. When you add the population of all 6 of those states you have what would be the fifth most populated state.

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