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Fox Sports grabs 40 million viewers for NFC Wild Card Playoff game

Fox Sports says its weekend match-up between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys grabbed 40 million overall viewers across broadcast, cable, satellite and streaming-like cable platforms.

The figure, based on Nielsen ratings, was released in a tweet by the Fox Sports public relations department, in which the network affirmed its National Football Conference (NFC) Wild Card Playoff game peaked between 6:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Time with 43.4 million viewers.

Fox Sports said the viewership figure was an increase of 20 percent compared to a similar game that aired in the same time slot one year ago.

The Green Bay Packers entered the game as the seventh seed in the NFC, upsetting fans of the second-seed Dallas Cowboys with a 42-18 win on Saturday.

To date, the game had the second-highest overall audience for a National Football League (NFL) game on any television network during the 2023-2024 season. Another Cowboys game — the Thanksgiving Day match-up with the Washington Commanders — remains the highest-rated NFL game of the season with 41.8 million viewers tuning in to CBS and Paramount Plus to watch that event.

The Fox Sports telecast was unique, in that it was not offered on a direct-to-consumer streaming service beyond a traditional pay television bundle. By comparison, an American Football Conference (AFC) match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins grabbed 27.6 million viewers on Comcast’s streaming service, Peacock, as well as NFL Plus and one local television station in each of the playing team’s broadcast market.

Peacock itself saw more than 16 million concurrent streams across supported devices during the game, suggesting that figure more-accurately represented the number of people who streamed the game on Peacock compared to those who watched through other means.

The game was the most-streamed live event in U.S. history, according to NBC Sports, though it wasn’t immediately clear how the organization substantiated that information.

Figures for NFC and AFC Wild Card playoff games aired on CBS Sports and the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN and ABC were not immediately available.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).