The National Football League (NFL) is clearly the dominant sport in the United States, yet a few new television viewership numbers from this weekend’s games show that the league is still growing.
The Divisional Round game on Saturday, Jan. 20 between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers is projected to garner 37.5 million average viewers, according to Fox (FOXA) – Get Free Report. That would be the most-watched telecast on a Saturday of any network since the 1994 Winter Olympics.
The game’s viewership peaked at 40.9 million buoyed by the close match-up between the two teams that ended in a 24-21 win by the 49ers.
Fox also reported that last year’s comparable match-up between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles had 28.6 million viewers, which means this year’s game is up 31% versus a year ago.
But that’s not the only viewership win for the NFL.
On Sunday, Jan. 21, the afternoon game between the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens averaged 31.8 million viewers on ESPN/ABC, making it the network’s most-watched NFL game in history, ESPN announced on Monday.
That game peaked at 36.2 million viewers.
ESPN also noted that its five most-watched games ever have come over the last 13 months, though it’s worth-noting that this year, ESPN significantly boosted the number of games it was airing on ABC — the more widely-distributed channel — than previous years due to the Hollywood writers strike.
Still, the record-breaking number is still a positive sign for the NFL and Disney’s (DIS) – Get Free Report ESPN/ABC given that the game was not on the primetime slot and didn’t showcase any of the historically most-watched teams like the Eagles, Packers, or Dallas Cowboys.
The ratings for the Sunday night primetime game — which featured the thrilling rivalry be Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills — have yet to be released.