NEW YORK (AP) — The epic football playoff game between Buffalo and Kansas City reached nearly 43 million television viewers on Sunday, the most for any event since last year's Super Bowl as the NFL struck gold with its rousing weekend.
The four games averaged 38.2 TV and digital viewers, up 20% over last year and the best ever for the league's divisional round of playoffs, the Nielsen company said on Tuesday.
Each game saw a tie broken on the last play, meaning the audience swelled toward the end as they reached a climax. When the Bills-Chiefs game headed into overtime, there were 51.7 million people watching, Nielsen said.
Similarly, the Los Angeles Rams-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game averaged 40 million viewers, but after Tom Brady helped the Bucs back from a 27-3 deficit to a tie, the audience jumped to 49.2 million people.
In the fourth quarter, the Bills-Chiefs game had a 90 audience share in Kansas City — meaning 90% of televisions on at the time were tuned in to the game, Nielsen said. That's an astonishing figure at a time of audience fragmentation. In Buffalo, the share was 86 at the same time.