US network ESPN's coverage of a playoff game from US American football’s NFL has become the network's most-viewed NFL match of all time with 31.8 million viewers.
The match between the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens surpasses the 2023 Super Wild Card Monday night game featuring the Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Last year ESPN had secured its highest domestic viewing figure for an NFL playoff game since 1999, with an average of 30.6 million seeing the Cowboys win 31-14 away at the Buccaneers.
The game was covered by Disney’s ESPN sports network (on ESPN itself, ESPN2, and ESPN+), as well as by the ABC national network.
ESPN and ABC currently broadcast NFL action through a deal struck in March 2021, with ESPN rights to a divisional wildcard playoff encounter added on in October of that year.
The figures mean that ESPN has achieved consecutive years where the final match of the season was its most-watched NFL game of all time.
Meanwhile, US network Fox Sports’ coverage of a playoff game from US American football’s NFL secured the largest Saturday TV audience on any network in 30 years according to Nielsen.
The match between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers averaged 37.5 million viewers, the biggest Saturday television audience since the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics on CBS, with the previous high being the 36.9 million viewership for the same matchup in the Divisional Round in 2022.
The 49ers’ 24-21 comeback win peaked at 40.9 million viewers, a 31% increase when compared to the match between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles in the same Saturday night window last year.
When including viewership figures for Sunday matches, the Packers 49ers game ranked third this season behind other NFL matches, beaten by the Green Bay Packers versus Dallas Cowboys’ 40.16 million viewers in the Wild Card round, and the Washington Commanders versus Dallas Cowboys bringing in 41.76 million Thanksgiving viewers.
Green Bay have played in three of the top four most-viewed matches so far this season, with their Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions ranked fourth with 33.70 million viewers.