New York, NY – In a back and forth NFC Championship game that lived up to the hype, the Seattle Seahawks punched their ticket to Super Bowl XLVIII with a victory over the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers, and delivered huge audience numbers for FOX Sports. Yesterday’s 23-17 Seahawks win scored a 28.5/44 national household rating/share according to Nielsen Media Research, with 55.9 million viewers tuning in, +18% in rating over last year’s match-up between San Francisco and Atlanta (24.2/45), while average audience is +33% (42.0 million). Additional highlights follow:
- Sunday’s game ranks as the FOX’s highest-rated non-overtime NFC Championship Game since 1997 (30.1/58, Carolina-Green Bay), and is the most-watched non-overtime NFC Championship Game since 1995 (Dallas – San Francisco, 56.8 million viewers).
- Punctuated by last night’s game, all four NFL on FOX playoff games this season posted year-to-year increases in rating and viewership.
- Sunday’s game opened with 47.4 million viewers tuning in and gradually swelled to 60.3 million as Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tipped a potential touchdown pass intended for 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree into what amounted to a game-ending interception.
- The complete 2014 NFL Playoffs on FOX averaged a 23.1/40, with 42.0 million viewers, +13% in rating and +18% in audience over last year (20.5/36, 35.7 million).
- Seattle led all markets with a huge 54.3/85, followed by San Francisco (47.5/78); Sacramento (46.7/72); Portland (39.5/63); and Milwaukee (38.9/57) to round out the top five.