Vikings-Saints game gets high TV ratings

Published 9:35 am Friday, January 29, 2010

The Vikings’ season ended in the NFC Championship game with an overtime loss to New Orleans, but along the way they won back-to-back division championships for the first time in more than 30 years and 10 players got invitations to the Pro Bowl.

The addition of quarterback Brett Favre raised the national profile of the team and the NFC championship game on Fox was the most watched non-Super Bowl program since the series finale of “Seinfeld” 12 years ago.

The game averaged 57.9 million viewers and peaked at 65.2 million, the highest rated NFC title game since 1982.

The Jets-Colts game averaged 46.9 million and peaked at 54 million, the best ratings for the AFC title game in 24 years.

According to Neilsen ratings, 31.6 percent of homes were watching the NFC game on Sunday, proving that football defies the sagging ratings TV has experienced in the 21st century.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is urging city residents to wear their purple and gold to recognize the Minnesota Vikings season.

Rybak said he’s proclaimed today as “Vikings Appreciation Day.”

An ESPN blogger reported: “According to Neilsen Media Research, New Orleans had a 63.2/82 Sunday night, the highest local rating ever for a postseason ever for a postseason NFL game and beating the home market rating of every team that ever has played in a Super Bowl. The audience in New Orleans peaked at 67.4/86 at 10:15 p.m. as Garrett Hartley made the game-winning field goal.

“Minneapolis posted a 58.7/80, which is the third-best ever for a local rating, trailing only New Orleans for the same game and Milwaukee in the 1997 NFC Championship Game.

“Overall, Nielsen said the game reached 57.9 million national viewers, the largest audience for any conference championship game since the 1982 game between the Cowboys and 49ers, where Dwight Clark made ‘The Catch.’ Aside from Super Bowl broadcasts, Sunday’s NFC Championship Game was television’s most-watched program since the 1998 finale of ‘Seinfeld,’ that drew 76.3 million viewers.”