NFC Championship: Giants/49ers Finishes Just Short of Vikes/Saints’ 30-Year Mark

Posted by | January 24, 2012 at 7:37 PM

One of the largest non-Super Bowl audiences in recent television history tuned into Sunday’s Giants/49ers NFC Championship Game.

The 2012 NFC Championship Game, an overtime victory for the Giants over the 49ers, earned a 30.6 final rating and 57.635 million viewers on FOX Sunday evening, up 8% in ratings and 5% in viewership from last year’s comparable game (NYJ/PIT: 28.3, 54.850M, CBS), and flat in ratings and down 1% in viewership compared to 2010 (MIN/NO: 30.6, 57.933M, FOX).

Giants/49ers is tied as the highest rated NFL Conference Championship Game since the 1995-96 season (GB/DAL: 33.3, FOX), and ranks as the second-most viewed since the 1981-82 season (DAL/SF: 68.7M, CBS).

Excluding the Super Bowl, Sunday’s game ranks as the second-most viewed television program of any kind dating back to the series finale of Seinfeld in 1998 (76.3M, NBC).

Remarkably, this marks the fifth time in the past five seasons (ten telecasts total) that an NFL Conference Championship game has earned at least 50 million viewers.

Ratings and viewership peaked at a 36.9 and 69.0 million from 10-10:30 PM ET, topping the peak for the 2010 Vikings/Saints game (9:30-10 PM: 34.4, 65.2M).

The game was the highest rated non-Super Bowl NFL telecast ever on FOX in both the New York (41.8) and Boston (35.1) markets. The Bay Area led all markets with a 47.4.

Ratings/Viewership For Late Conference Championship Game
Past decade

Year Date Conf. Game Net Rating Viewers (000)
2012 Sun., 1/22/12 NFC NYG 20, SF 17 FOX
30.6
57,635
2011 Sun., 1/23/11 AFC NYJ 19, PIT 24 CBS
28.3
54,850
2010
Sun., 1/24/10 NFC MIN 28, NO 31 FOX
30.6
57,933
2009 Sun., 1/18/09 AFC BAL 14, PIT 23 CBS
22.0
40,645
2008 Sun., 1/20/08 NFC NYG 23, GB 20 FOX
29.0
53,937
2007 Sun., 1/21/07 AFC NE 34, IND 38 CBS
26.4
46,695
2006 Sun., 1/22/06 NFC CAR 14, SEA 34 FOX
20.8
35,233
2005 Sun., 1/23/05 AFC NE 41, PIT 27 CBS
25.8
44,334
2004 Sun., 1/18/04 NFC CAR 14, PHI 3 FOX
23.2
40,444
2003 Sun., 1/19/03 AFC TEN 24, OAK 41 CBS
24.6
41,456
2002 Sun., 1/27/02 NFC PHI 24, STL 29 FOX
22.7
37,429

(This year’s numbers from Fox Sports Media Group press release via Fang’s Bites, with additional information from Media Life Magazine)