NFL Playoff Ratings Jump, With Brady-Mahomes Game Still to Come

The National Football League’s conference finals drew an average of 44.3 million viewers each on Sunday, a 3% increase from a year earlier that shows big sports matchups remain a huge draw.

An additional 1.5 million watched online, a 47% increase, the league said in a statement Tuesday. Fox Corp., which carried the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defeat of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game, said its broadcast was the most-watched of any kind since last year’s Super Bowl.

NFL Playoff Ratings Jump, With Brady-Mahomes Game Still to Come

The bump in viewers follows a difficult year that saw ratings tumble for nearly all live sports. Catch-up seasons for baseball, basketball and hockey crowded the fall TV schedule as teams played in mostly fanless stadiums due to the coronavirus.

The next Super Bowl, which airs on ViacomCBS Inc.’s flagship CBS network on Feb. 7, promises to be popular. The game pits all-time great Tom Brady, at 43 one of the oldest quarterbacks, against 25-year-old Patrick Mahomes. Brady will be seeking his seventh Super Bowl ring, this year leading the Buccaneers against Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who are vying for their second-straight title.

CBS plans its most extensive coverage ever of the event, including seven hours of pregame programming starting at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. This season was particularly important for broadcasters because many are now negotiating renewals of their media rights with the league.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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