Success of AFC Championship on Paramount+ bodes well for Super Bowl


Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

The numbers are in, and CBS Sports says that Sunday’s AFC Championship game (think of it as the NFL’s semifinals) is the “most-streamed live event ever” on Paramount+.

That’s obviously a good thing for everyone involved, but even more so given that Super Bowl 2024 will be available on Paramount+ on February 11. That’s in addition to the usual CBS broadcast feeds, which include streaming on YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV, or on cable, or even watching for free via an over-the-air antenna. The Paramount+ numbers saw double-digit growth over the 2023 matchup, according to a press release, including in the streaming minutes and average minute audience categories. (Actual numbers weren’t given, though.)

Paramount+ was just one part of the picture, however. CBS says that the game — which saw the Kansas City Chiefs dismantle the Baltimore Ravens — was the most-watched in the history of the AFC Championship, averaging 55.473 million viewers. The previous record was slightly lower, with the Jets and Steelers pulling in 54.850 million in 2011.

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In other useful numbers, the Chiefs-Ravens matchup saw a 17% increase in audience for the same early window (as in the afternoon time slot), which in 2023 featured the 49erstaking on the Eagles. This year’s game peaked at just over 64 million viewers.

And the game was the most watched non-Super Bowl program on CBS since the 1994 Winter Olympics on February 25, 1994 — which was headlined by Nancy Kerrigan going up against Tonya Harding — just a month or so after Kerrigan was assaulted during practice as part of a plot orchestrated by Harding’s ex-husband.

So the AFC Championship was big — but there’s a very likely chance that we’ll see even bigger numbers for the Super Bowl. It’s a bigger game, for starters. And then there’s the fact that folks are going to tune in just to watch the Super Bowl Halftime Show, which is an event unto itself. And then there’s Taylor Swift, presuming that she’s able to make it to the game after her own show in Japan the day before. Or, erm, after. Or however that international date line thing works.

Super Bowl LVIII kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on CBS, Paramount+, and Nickelodeon, among other places. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a big one.

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