NFL playoffs and conference championship games draw highest viewership average on record

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The television audiences for the NFL playoffs and last Sunday's conference championship games are the highest on record going back to 1988.

According to the league and Nielsen, the first three weekends of the postseason averaged 38.5 million viewers on television and digital platforms, a 9% increase over last year.

The Kansas City Chiefs' 17-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens averaged 55.47 million on CBS, making it the most-watched AFC championship game ever. The previous mark was 54.85 million when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the New York Jets to advance to the Super Bowl in the 2010 season.

The audience peaked at 64.02 million. It was also CBS' most-watched non-Super Bowl program since the 1994 Winter Olympics in primetime on Feb. 25, 1994.

The San Francisco 49ers' 34-31 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions on Fox averaged 56.69 million, the most-watched NFC championship game since 2012. It is also the fourth-watched non-Super Bowl telecast in network history.

It peaked at 58.97 million during the fourth quarter.

The 56.1 million average for the conference championships is an 11% jump over last year.

CBS, which has the Super Bowl on Feb. 11, is averaging 45.61 million for its postseason games. It is the network's highest average since the NFL returned to the network in 1998 and a 12% increase from last year.