NFL Conference Championship Games Draw Massive Audiences, Boosts Other Shows

by Clayton Edwards

In 2020, all televised sports saw a drop in ratings. However, the NFL Conference Championship games highlight a reversal of that trend. So many people tuned in to watch the AFC Championship that the next show to air saw a huge viewership spike in its first half-hour.

The championship game pulled in somewhere in the neighborhood of 34 million viewers, according to TVLine. Enough of those viewers stuck around after the game to bring the crime drama “FBI” over eight-and-a-half million viewers. This is the highest viewership the series has seen this season. It also netted them 2.1 demographic points.

Enough people were watching the NFL Conference Championship that the following show netted 2 percent of its target demographic. The spike represents an all-time high for “FBI.” It seems that after a year of low ratings, televised sports are finally making a comeback and the NFL is leading the charge.

NFL Conference Championship Illustrates the Current Ratings Trend

2020 brought the NFL some of its worst TV ratings in years. The same was true for just about every other sport as well. A myriad of factors went into the low viewership. The pandemic and social unrest drew several viewers away from watching sports in general. Many Americans opted to head to the outdoors to get away from it all. Those who were watching television were more likely to be tuned in to the twenty-four-hour news cycle. There just wasn’t time for football, or any other sport for that matter, for many Americans.

At the same time, the pandemic caused games to be broadcast at unfamiliar times. Games were broadcast on weekday afternoons and evenings. Many fans of the sport were working or generally had other things to do during those time slots.

People across the country are starting to settle into a new routine. Likewise, the NFL Conference Championship games were broadcast on Sunday evening. The feeling of “new normal” and the NFL broadcasting at its regular time slot had much to do with the success of the championship games.

Conference Championship games are always popular. Football fans who might miss most regular-season games are more likely to tune in for these big games. They want to see who is going to the Super Bowl and get a preview of how those teams will perform when the time comes.

With Super Bowl LV right around the corner, the NFL is sure to see even more ratings success in the coming weeks. Here’s hoping that the 2021-22 season is a little closer to normal than this one.