42.7 million people watch Chiefs win over Bills


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Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) reaches for the game winning reception over Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) during the AFC Divisional Round playoff game on January 23rd, 2022 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

William Purnell | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen put on a show, and the National Football League benefited with its most-watched divisional playoff game in five years.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ 42-36 overtime win against the Buffalo Bills averaged 42.7 million viewers on Sunday, ViacomCBS reported. The network said the contest peaked with 51.6 million viewers. The Chiefs-Bills game produced one of the most memorable and drama-filled playoff endings in NFL history.

After trailing the Chiefs 33-29, with one minute remaining in the game, Allen led a six-play, 75-yard drive to give the Bills a 36-33 lead with 13 seconds to play. Mahomes responded with a three-play, 45-yard drive, and the Chiefs tied the game at 36 with a field goal. And in overtime, Mahomes led an eight-play, 75-yard drive and threw the game-winning touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce to advance the Chiefs to the AFC title game.

CBS Sports’ telecast was the most-watched divisional postseason game on any network since 2017. That year, the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys in January and averaged 48.5 million viewers.

Sunday’s contest was also up 18% compared to last year’s comparable game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. That game averaged 36.3 million viewers. The Chiefs-Bills game also surpassed CBS Sports’ peak from its wild card showing between the San Francisco 49ers and Cowboys on Jan. 16. That contest peaked at 50.2 million viewers.

Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills runs with the ball as Frank Clark #55 of the Kansas City Chiefs defends during the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jamie Squire | Getty Images

On Saturday, the network aired the Cincinnati Bengals playoff win over top-seeded Tennessee Titans. The game averaged 30.7 million viewers and peaked at 38.3 million.

Fox Sports’ NFL game playoff game featuring the 49ers’ 13-10 victory over the Packers averaged 36.9 million viewers Saturday. Fox added the game is up 40% over last year’s comparable contest featuring the Baltimore Ravens and Bills, which averaged 26.3 million viewers.

NBC Sports contest featured the Rams game-winning field goal over the Bucs on Sunday. The network said the game averaged 40 million total viewers across its platforms, including streaming. And of that figure, 38.1 million viewers on NBC-TV only.

On the advertising front, metrics firm EDO estimates companies spent a combined $178 million on ads aired during the NFL’s four playoff games last weekend.

EDO uses analytics that tracks brand and product searches and sales when ads air, helping companies and networks determine an ads’ value during sporting events.

EDO said the NFL games generated an additional 13 million online searches for advertisers.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.


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