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Dramatic Bengals-Chiefs AFC Title Game Draws 53 Million Viewers

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Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?

The proposal aims to create an exciting media product while reducing travel for non-football sports.
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September 21, 2023 | Podcast
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With a Super Bowl berth on the line, CBS Sports’ coverage of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game grabbed a huge TV audience.

The network’s telecast of the Kansas City Chiefs 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals averaged 53.124 million viewers. 

That was up 11% from last year’s AFC championship between the same two teams.

There were plenty of compelling storylines heading into Sunday’s showdown between quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs and Joe Burrow of the Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium. 

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The defending AFC Champion Bengals were talking trash all week, dubbing the Chiefs’ intimidating home stadium “Burrowhead.” 

The swaggering Burrow, meanwhile, was challenging Mahomes for the title of NFL’s best quarterback – and most compelling player.

All those storylines paid off big-time in the TV numbers for CBS:

  • CBS’ telecast peaked at 59.374 million viewers as the hard-fought game appeared to be heading for overtime. 
  • Chiefs-Bengals was the most-watched TV program on any network since Super Bowl 56. 
  • It was the most-watched NFL Conference Championship game in four years. 
  • The game generated the most-streamed live sporting event ever for the Paramount+ streaming platform.

This year, CBS scored its most-watched NFL regular season in seven years, averaging 18.487 million viewers.

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