NBC Sports scored the most-watched Wild Card Saturday doubleheader ever, the Jets-Colts primetime game was the most-watched Wild Card Saturday primetime game ever and most-watched Wild Card Saturday game in 16 years, and the Saints-Seahawks afternoon game was the most-watched Wild Card Saturday Game 1 ever, according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company. The night also set other ratings milestones:
Delivered the best primetime viewership for any network in nearly a year – since The Academy Awards, March 7, 2010 on ABC.
Attracted the biggest Saturday primetime viewership on any network in nearly 17 years since CBS’s tabloid-fueled Lillehammer Olympics coverage.
NBC’s biggest primetime Saturday audience on record (since the advent of Nielsen People Meters in 1987).
TWO-GAME WILD CARD SATURDAY AVERAGE IS BEST EVER: The two-game average viewership of 30.6 million is the best ever for an NFL Wild Card Saturday doubleheader, surpassing last year’s average of 28.6 million by seven percent (NFL Saturday Wild Card games began in January, 1991).
The average household rating of 17.7/31 is up seven percent from last year’s two-game average of 16.6/30 (Jets-Bengals and Eagles-Cowboys) and up 20 percent from the two-game average in Jan. 2009 (14.7/26 for Falcons-Cardinals and Colts-Chargers).
JETS-COLTS BEST PRIMETIME SATURDAY WILD CARD EVER: The Jets-Colts game (8:16-11:05 p.m. ET) drew 33.4 million viewers, the most-watched ever for a primetime Wild Card Saturday game and the most for any Wild Card Saturday game since the 1994 season (Chiefs-Dolphins, 33.6 million on Dec. 31, 1994).
The 33.4 million is four percent higher than last year’s Eagles-Cowboys game (32.1 million) and 20 percent higher than the Colts-Chargers game in January 2009 (27.8 million).
The household rating of 18.7/31 is up four percent from last year (18.0/30) and up 16 percent over the Jan. 2009 game (16.1/21).
The rating peaked at the end of the game from 11-11:05 at a 21.5/37 as Jets kicker Nick Folk hit a 32-yard FG to give the Jets a 17-16 win.
SAINTS-SEAHAWKS BEST EVER WILD CARD SATURDAY GAME 1: The Saints-Seahawks game (4:35-8 p.m. ET) drew 28.4 million viewers, the most ever for a Wild Card Saturday Game 1.
The 28.4 million is 14 percent higher than last year’s Jets-Bengals game (25.0 million) and 35 percent higher than the Falcons-Cardinals Wild Card game in January 2009 (21.0 million).
The household rating of 16.8/31 is up 11 percent from last year (15.2/29) and up 28 percent over the Jan. 2009 game (13.1/26).
The rating for the first game peaked at a 21.5/37 from 7:30-8 p.m. ET.
BEST SATURDAY ON RECORD FOR NBC: For the full primetime night (8-11 p.m.) NBC averaged 33.0 million viewers, NBC’s most-watched Saturday night on record (since advent of Nielsen People Meters in 1987) and the most-watched Saturday night on any network since the tabloid-fueled Lillehammer Olympics (Feb. 26, 1994 on CBS, 38.1 million).
The 33.0 million in primetime was the most on any network since ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards (March 7, 2010).
NBC’s previous high Saturday night in the history of Nielsen People Meters was on Feb. 6, 1988 when a combination of Facts of Life, 227, Golden Girls, Amen and Bloopers Special drew 32.5 million viewers.