The second-most viewed TV programs of the year -- the two NFL league championship games -- remained big earners for the NFL, the top sports TV franchise, to kick off the new year. They gained in Nielsen-measured ratings from 2020.
The NFC Championship game on CBS -- Tampa Bay vs. Green Bay -- grew 5% to 44.8 million viewers in Nielsen live program-plus-same day ratings versus the year before. In 2020, Green Bay-San Francisco scored 42.8 million viewers.
The AFC championship game on NBC -- Buffalo vs. Kansas City -- grew less, adding 2% to 41.8 million. The year before, Tennessee vs. Kansas City tallied 41.1 million.
In terms of advertising, an estimated $492 million was spent on both games on national TV ads. A year ago, ad spending was $444 million.
The biggest ad spenders on the day were Verizon, at $27.4 million; State Farm, $20.7 million; Turbo Tax, $19.4 million; Ford Motor, $17.1 million; Progressive Insurance, $14.7 million, and Pepsi, $14.7 million.
Total impressions on the day for all NFL programming were 7.8 billion.