Chiefs-Bills helps boost NFL Divisional round viewership by 21%

By Austin Karp

The NFL Divisional playoff round averaged around 37.6 million viewers for the four games over the weekend, fueled by the best Divisional game in five years. The four matchups (two on CBS, one on Fox and one on NBC) were up nearly 21% from last year’s round (two on Fox, one on CBS, one on NBC). It’s also the best Divisional round since 37.8 million in ’15. Leading the way was the Chiefs-Bills thriller in the late window Sunday, which averaged 42.7 million viewers. That is the best for any NFL Divisional round game since Fox averaged 48.5 million for Packers-Cowboys in the 4:45pm ET Sunday window in ’17. It’s also the best in the late Sunday divisional window since Broncos-Steelers averaged just under 43 million on CBS in ’16. Chiefs-Bills peaked at 51.7 million during the dramatic finish.

NFL Divisional round audience trend
2022 NBC, Fox, CBS (x2) 37,764
2021 NBC, CBS, Fox (x2) 31,000
2020 NBC, Fox, CBS (x2) 33,200
2019 NBC, CBS, Fox (x2) 32,414
2018 NBC, Fox, CBS (x2) 30,455
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Divisional trend

REST OF THE LINEUP: Meanwhile, CBS on Saturday afternoon averaged 30.8 million viewers, marking the best Divisional Saturday afternoon game since 31.5 million for Patriots-Chiefs in ’16. NBC on Sunday afternoon averaged 39.9 million viewers for Rams-Buccaneers, up 16% from the comparable Chiefs-Browns game on CBS in the comparable window last year (34.3 million). The game also marked NBC Sports’ most-watched NFL game (excluding Super Bowls) under the current media-rights setup that started prior to the ’06 season. Fox on Saturday night averaged 36.9 million viewers for 49ers-Packers, likely marking the best Saturday Divisional game on record. That is up 36% from 27.1 million on NBC for the comparable Bills-Ravens game last year. The previous record for a Saturday primetime Divisional game looks to be 35.6 million for 49ers-Saints in ’12.

'22 NFL Divisional round audience
Sat. Bengals-Titans CBS 4:33pm 30,752
Sat. 49ers-Packers Fox 8:16pm 36,923
Sun. Rams-Buccaneers NBC 3:03pm 39,880
Sun. Chiefs-Bills CBS 6:41pm 42,736
'21 NFL Divisional round audience
Sat. Packers-Rams Fox 4:36pm 26,499
Sat. Bills-Ravens NBC 8:16pm 27,100
Sun. Chiefs-Browns CBS 3:06pm 34,325
Sun. Buccaneers-Saints Fox 6:41pm 35,463
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Game by game

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