NFL ratings rise for championship games

Jacob Tamme #84 celebrates his second quarter touchdown with Eric Decker #87 as Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks on during their AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 201
© Getty Images
This season's NFL championship games draw a substantially higher TV audience than last year's.

This season's NFL conference title matches drew a substantially bigger audience than last year's, it has been revealed.

The AFC championship game, which saw the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots 26-16, averaged 51.3 million viewers on Sunday afternoon, an increase of 22% on last year's early game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.

The late match between the Seattle Seahawks and the 49ers also attracted more fans than last season's meeting between the Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens, with an average of 55.9 million viewers representing a 17% increase.

Denver's match had the second highest rating for an AFC game in 17 years, while Seattle's 23-17 triumph over the 49ers drew the biggest rating for a non-overtime NFC match since 1997, according to CBS.

The Broncos and Seahawks will face each other in the Super Bowl on February 2.

Wes Welker #83 of the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium on October 6, 2013
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