Lions vs. 49ers draws larger TV audience than Chiefs vs. Ravens

More than 56 million people tuned in to Sunday's NFC Championship game between Detroit and San Francisco.
San Francisco 49ers players celebrate after winning last Sunday's NFC title.
Posted at 7:33 AM, Jan 30, 2024

Sunday's NFC Championship between the Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers on Fox was watched by over 56 million Americans, marking the largest TV audience since last year's Super Bowl. 

The average viewership for the NFC Championship slightly outpaced the AFC Championship. That game, between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, which was played earlier in the day, had an average viewership of 55.4 million. It was the most-watched AFC Championship game of all time, CBS said.

CBS said the AFC Championship gave the network its largest non-Super Bowl audience since the 1994 Winter Olympics.

According to Fox, viewership for this year's NFC Championship was up 19% from a year ago. It was the NFC Championship's largest TV audience since a 2012 overtime thriller between the Giants and 49ers. 

Fox said viewership Sunday peaked between 9 and 9:15 p.m. ET as the 49ers completed the comeback victory over the Lions to clinch a berth into next month's Super Bowl. Over 58.9 million people were tuned in at the peak of the broadcast. 

For the Chiefs vs. Ravens game, viewership peaked at 64 million.

Taylor Swift greets Super Bowl-bound Travis Kelce with a kiss
Taylor Swift kisses Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Taylor Swift greets Super Bowl-bound Travis Kelce with a kiss

She and Kelce walked arm and arm around the field afterward, long after many of his teammates had gone to the locker room.


The NFC Championship was also well-watched within the Detroit and San Francisco markets. According to Fox, 79% of televisions turned on in the Detroit market were tuned in to the game. San Francisco, which hosted the game, had 78% of the region's active televisions tuned in. 

One week earlier, the NFL boasted its largest Divisional Round TV viewership ever as more than 50 million were tuned in to CBS to watch Kansas City defeat Buffalo. 

The large TV audience comes as no surprise. According to Variety, all 14 of the most-watched TV events of 2023 included the NFL.