CBS Sports scores as AFC Champ Game is highest-rated TV program of the year

CBS Sports’ coverage of the AFC Championship Game featuring the New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Jan. 21 (6:45-10:30 PM, ET), earned an average overnight household rating/share of 28.1/40, up +14% from a 24.6/44, in 2006 for (Pittsburgh-Denver; 3:15-6:15 PM, ET), and up +4% from 2005’s 27.0/38 (New England-Pittsburgh; 6:30-9:45 PM, ET).

The AFC Championship game scored the highest rating for a television program to date for the 2006-07 season, beating the two primetime debut telecasts of American Idol on FOX by +29% – 21.8/31 on Tuesday, 1/16/07 and 21.7/31 on 1/17/07.

The 2007 AFC Championship on CBS was the highest-rated program in the metered markets since Super Bowl programming on ABC on 2/5/06- 42.1/62 for the game between Pittsburgh and Seattle, the Super Bowl post-game (10-10:30pm- 36.0/52) and the Super Bowl kick-off show- 32.0/53 from 6-6:30pm .

Yesterday’s AFC Championship game on CBS beat last year’s Academy Awards on Sunday, 3/5/06 (the highest-rated entertainment program of the last year) by +2% (28.1/40 vs. 27.6/40).

“Going into Super Bowl XLI, we could not be happier to see a record-breaking audience for the AFC Championship combined with the strong audience for the NFC Championship and for NFL football across the regular season,” said Sean McManus, President CBS News & Sports. “It confirms the remarkable power of the NFL as a television property and the AFC as a Conference.”

The 28.1/40 represents the highest-rated AFC Championship Game in the metered markets since CBS re-acquired the NFL in 1998 and overall, the highest-rated AFC Championship game since Jacksonville-Indianapolis in 1997 (28.3/46). This was the third time in four years that the AFC game out-rated the NFC Championship game.

The AFC Championship Game rating peaked at a 33.2/46 from 10:00-10:30 PM.

THE NFL ON CBS’s AFC playoff average for the 2006-07 season earned a 21.5/36 overnight rating/share, up +3% from a 20.9/37 in 2005-06. This was the third-straight year that the AFC playoffs have beaten the NFC playoff average.

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