The NFL’s conference championship games on Fox and CBS both increased in viewership from last year, as the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos emerged victorious and will face each other in the Super Bowl.
The 23-17 victory for the Seahawks over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC game drew an average of 55.9 million viewers for Fox, a 33% surge from last year’s match-up of San Francisco and the Atlanta Falcons.
The game brought in an audience of 47.4 million at the beginning and grew to 60.3 million in the final moments as Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman tipped a pass intended for Michael Crabtree, resulting in a game-clinching interception in the end zone.
This season’s playoff games on Fox are up 18% in average viewership compared with last season.
On CBS, the Broncos’ 26-16 win over the New England Patriots scored an average of 51.3 million viewers for an uptick of 8% from last year’s AFC championship between the Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens.
The quarterback rivalry between Peyton Manning of the Broncos and Tom Brady of the Patriots proved a powerful draw for football viewers, marking the second most-watched AFC title game since 1982, behind the 54.9 million on average who watched the New York Jets face the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011 on CBS.
Super Bowl XLVIII airs Feb. 2 on Fox.