Saturday’s Wild Card playoff game between the Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers was ESPN’s third-highest rated NFL game in history.
As the first-ever NFL playoff game in ESPN’s 35-year history, the broadcast averaged a 12.5 household U.S. rating with 14,551,000 households and 21,678,000 viewers according to Nielson fast nationals. The broadcast ratings peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with a 13.9 rating.
The only two NFL games on ESPN to rate higher were Monday Night Football games between Minnesota and Green Bay (13.2 rating, Oct. 5, 2009), and New Orleans and New England (12.9 rating, Nov. 30, 2009).
In Phoenix, the game delivered a 21.6 rating on ESPN and a 7.3 on KASW-CW, for a combined 28.9 rating in the market. In Charlotte, the game delivered a 20.4 rating on ESPN and a 16.3 on WJZY-FOX, for a combined 36.6 rating in the market.
The broadcast was also the eighth most-watched telecast among viewers and ninth highest-rated telecast in cable TV history.