Brock Purdy 49ers NFC Championship Jan 28, 2024; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) celebrates with the George Halas Trophy after winning the NFC Championship football game against the Detroit Lions at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The final NFL on Fox broadcast of the 2023 season gave the network one more dynamite audience.

The San Francisco 49ers’ 34-31 win over the Detroit Lions averaged 56.691 million viewers, the network’s most-watched NFC Championship Game in 12 years.

In 2012, the New York Giants’ overtime win over the 49ers averaged 57.635 million viewers.

Fox’s release noted that this year’s NFC Championship was the network’s fourth-most-watched non-Super Bowl broadcast ever. It falls behind the aforementioned 2012 game, the Saints’ overtime NFC Championship win over the Vikings in 2010 (57.933 million), and an unknown third game.

Of note: Nielsen did not track out-of-home viewing before the 2020 season.

Last season, Fox averaged just 47.50 million viewers for the Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the 49ers in the early slot. Later in the day, CBS averaged 53.12 million viewers for the Chiefs’ win over the Bengals.

Viewership for this year’s game peaked at 58.967 million viewers for the 9:15 p.m. ET quarter-hour. That’s actually slightly lower than the peak for Chiefs-Bengals last year, 59.374 million viewers.

While the 2023 season was a banner year for the NFL, finishing as the league’s second-most-watched season ever, it was less successful for Fox. The network’s average viewership slipped by 2%, making it the only media partner to see a decline in 2023. Fox also lost its spot as the NFL’s most-watched weekly window, with America’s Game of the Week falling behind CBS for the first time since 2007.

But in the playoffs, Fox drew three substantial audiences. Packers-Cowboys was the network’s most-watched Wild Card game since 2015. 49ers-Packers delivered a 30-year high for any Saturday broadcast in the Divisional round. And then, the NFC title game hit a decade-plus high to end the season on a high note for the NFL on Fox.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.