CBS had the honor of holding arguably the most appealing time slot for this past weekend's NFL playoff games, broadcasting the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears matchup at 4:40 p.m. ET Sunday. The viewership numbers and ratings reflected that; the network sent out the final math today, and an average of 30 million people tuned in to watch Drew Brees beat Mitchell Trubisky, the highest number out of any of the other games played last weekend.
The next-closest game in terms of viewership was the Sunday night affair between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, which averaged 26 million viewers. That number would probably be a bit bigger if the Steelers didn't utterly collapse from literally the first snap and the Browns didn't go up four touchdowns in the first 15 minutes. Regardless, CBS beat the competition for the first weekend of playoff battles.
Their numbers were helped (slightly) by dualcasting the game on Nickelodeon, an experiment that has inspired several think pieces from media-centric websites such as the one you're on right now. The final tally on the average number of viewers was not immense, but any little bit helps in the eternal fight for the best football ratings; in an email, CBS announced that 2 million viewers watched Saints-Bears while goofy graphics and slime danced across their screens.
As Austin Karp notes above, the viewership is slightly down from the same window last January, but that can easily be attributed to a variety of factors. So the league probably isn't worried all too much about it.
CBS also made sure to note that the 2.06 million viewers watching Nickelodeon in that time slot was a 245 percent increase from the previous year's time slot, which is a little hilarious. We didn't need confirmation that an NFL game would blow six or seven SpongeBob SquarePants episodes out of the water, but now we know without a shadow of a doubt.
The NFL on Nick was an interesting experiment that was executed very well and may have opened a door for more tailored football broadcasts to specific audiences. Numbers like these will be taken heavily into account for future endeavors, we can count on that much.