ENGLEWOOD, Colo –Just like each of the 17 weeks of the regular season, NFL games were the most watched programs on television last week.
The Divisional Round games combined to average more than 34 million viewers and were the four most-watched shows on television. The fifth-most watched show was the BCS National Championship game between Florida State and Auburn, which drew 25.6 million viewers.
The Broncos-Chargers game on Sunday drew the largest audience of the four games as an average of 41.2 million viewers tuned in. Those numbers represent the second-most watch Sunday AFC Divisional Round game in 26 years.
The Panthers-49ers game drew the second-largest audience of the week with 33.3 million viewers.
Since the 2013 Academy Awards, just eight programs have averaged 30 million viewers, each of them NFL games. These numbers reflect a year-long trend that has seen ratings boost for NFL teams in their local markets. Last season, each team averaged a rating of 27.4, this year that number is up to 28.5.
The Broncos averaged a rating of 43.5 in their local market this season which was second-best in the league behind only New Orleans. Both the Saints and the Broncos tied for the league lead with a local market share of 73.
That Broncos' rating of 43.5 is a 17-percent increase from last season when the team averaged a 37.2 rating. Those numbers also represent a 37 percent increase from 2011 and an 83 percent increase from 2010. League-wide there was a four percent increase in ratings in the local markets.