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Ratings dip for NFL conference championship games

DAVID BAUDER
Kansas City Chiefs' Damien Williams runs for a touchdown during the second half of the NFL AFC Championship football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, MO. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

NEW YORK (AP) — It's no secret, sports fans. Better games produce better ratings.

That was the simple lesson for the NFL this week, after a dip in viewership for its conference championship games, compared to 2019. The Nielsen company said 42.8 million people watched the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers to punch their Super Bowl ticket, and 41.1 million people watched Kansas City beat Tennessee.

Both conference championship games went into overtime last year, and the audiences were 44.2 million and 53.9 million, Nielsen said. By contrast, this year's games were one-sided.

LSU's win over Clemson in the college football national championship game was seen by 25.6 million on ESPN, Nielsen said. That's a little over a million more than last year's game reached.

With the benefit of an NFL game in prime time, Fox led all the broadcast networks in ratings last week, averaging 9.9 million viewers. CBS had 4.9 million viewers in prime time, NBC had 4.2 million, ABC had 3.8 million, Univision had 1.6 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 890,000 and the CW had 790,000.

ESPN led the cable networks, averaging 4.28 million viewers in prime time. Fox News Channel averaged 2.75 million, MSNBC had 1.86 million, CNN had 1.46 million and TLC had 1.18 million.

ABC's “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race, averaging 9.3 million viewers last week. NBC's “Nightly News” had 8.1 million viewers and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.9 million viewers.

The top 20 programs as measured by Nielsen last week, their network and viewership:

1. NFC Championship: Green Bay at San Francisco, Fox, 42.79 million.

2. “NFL Post-Game” (9:44 to 9:49 p.m. Eastern), Fox, 31.29 million.

3. College Football Championship: Clemson vs. LSU, ESPN, 25.58 million.

4. “NFL Post-Game” (9:50 to 10:04 p.m. Eastern), Fox, 23.92 million.

5. “College Football Post-Game,” ESPN, 16.7 million.

6. “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time, Match 4,” ABC, 13.55 million.

7. “911: Lone Star,” Fox, 11.41 million.

8. “NCIS,” CBS, 10.13 million.

9. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 8.88 million.

10. “FBI,” CBS, 8.57 million

11. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 8.45 million.

12. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 8.17 million.

13. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.1 million.

14. “Democratic Debate,” CNN, 7.4 million.

15. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 6.78 million.

16. “This is Us,” NBC, 6.73 million.

17. “America's Got Talent Champions,” NBC, 6.53 million.

18. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 6.52 million.

19. “Mom,” CBS, 6.3 million.

20. “Democratic Debate Analysis,” CNN, 5.77 million.