NFL Playoffs: Final Rating Huge, But Down, For Ravens/Broncos

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CBS attracted massive numbers for the NFL playoff thriller between the Ravens and Broncos, but could not match last year’s comparable game.

Saturday’s Ravens/Broncos AFC Divisional Round game drew a 20.1 final rating and 35.3 million viewers on CBS, according to Nielsen fast-natioals — down 2% in ratings and 1% in viewership from Saints/49ers on FOX last year (20.5, 35.6M), but up 4% in both measures compared to Ravens/Steelers on CBS in 2011 (19.4, 34.0M).

Though down from last year’s NFC game, Ravens/Broncos ranks as the second-highest rated Saturday Divisional Round game on any network since Packers/49ers on FOX in 1996 (22.2). The three highest rated Saturday Divisional Round games since 1996 have taken place in the past three seasons — Ravens/Steelers in 2011, Saints/49ers last year, and Ravens/Broncos on Saturday.

In addition, the game ranks as the highest rated AFC Divisional Round game on a Saturday since Raiders/Bills on NBC in 1994 (22.0), and the most-viewed since at least the 1987-88 season.

Saturday’s game, won by the Ravens in double-overtime, peaked from 8:00-8:30 PM ET with a 24.0 rating and 40.8 million viewers. The peak half-hour of last year’s Saints/49ers game (7:30-8 PM ET) earned a 23.6 and 42.5 million.

Locally, Denver topped all markets with a 48.4 rating for the game. Baltimore was close behind with a 47.2.

(Saturday’s numbers from CBS Press Express; local numbers from Sports Business Daily)

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