For more than three hours and 20 minutes, the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers delivered intense theatrical performances on Saturday, January 22 before a global audience.
There were the Packers striking first, a critical turnover from the 49ers as they were within striking distance before halftime, with San Francisco’s defense doing everything possible to keep this game from slipping away. and finally, the final boot that sent the ‘Niners into the NFC Championship Game.
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Not only was San Francisco’s 13-10 road win over the NFC top seed thrilling, it became record-breaking.
The record the 49ers and Packers broke
Both teams surpassed a previous mark of nearly three decades for a Saturday night television schedule.
According to Fox Sports’ Michael Mulvihill, the 49ers-Packers became the most-watched Saturday night TV show in 28 years and broke a previous record held by the Winter Olympics.
“With 36.9 million viewers, Saturday Night’s Niners-Packers game on FOX is the most-watched Saturday TV show in 28 years, since the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway,” Mulvihill tweeted on the morning of Tuesday, January 25.
The game became one of three playoff games that ended in a final field goal to win the game – joining the Cincinnati Bengals against the Tennessee Titans and the Los Angeles Rams against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But were the 49ers vs. Packers the most-watched NFL playoff game of the Jan. 22 weekend?
Most-watched belong to another culminating competition
On a weekend most NFL fans will probably never forget, there was a game that had an exhilarating back-and-forth in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter and required extra time to finally decide the winner.
This edge-of-the-seat contest took place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and became the most-watched NFL game of the weekend.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ 42-36 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills drew more viewers according to Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp:
Meanwhile, the Bengals-Titans contest managed to attract 38.359 million viewers.
What is the early prediction for viewers on Championship Sunday?
In a conversation Tuesday with The Athletic, Sports Business reporter Daniel Kaplan mentioned how the weekend’s viewing figures have benefited small towns enormously.
“When you compare the NFL to other major sports leagues, you’re really talking about a completely different paradigm,” Kaplan began. “Green Bay, Kansas City, Nashville, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, all small markets, all delivering mega TV ratings. It’s hard at this point to envision a disappointing NFL playoff game with the TV audience: Football really is a national sport, not a local sport.
He offered that first prediction: 50 million viewers for the 49ers at the Rams and the Bengals at the Chiefs.
“The conference championships aren’t the matchups we expected, but that doesn’t matter in terms of TV ratings,” Kaplan said. “With a chance to go to the Super Bowl online and prime time on Sunday, I’d be hard pressed to see either game drop below a 45-50 million range. viewership There is a good chance that the audience will exceed 50 million per game.