The Saturday afternoon NFL Wild Card game on ESPN – a Carolina Panthers’ 27-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals – ranks as the network’s third highest-rated NFL game ever, ESPN said in a statement.
It was also the ninth highest-rated in cable television history.
The Cardinals-Panthers game – the first NFL Playoff game in ESPN’s 35-year history – averaged a 12.5 household US rating; 14,551,000 households; and 21,678,000 viewers, according to Nielsen.
The only NFL games on ESPN to rate higher were Monday Night Football contests – Minnesota-Green Bay (13.2 household rating, Oct. 5, 2009) and New Orleans-New England (12.9 rating, Nov. 30, 2009).
In Phoenix, the game delivered a 21.6 rating on ESPN and a 7.3 on KASW-CW, for a combined 28.9 rating in the market. In Charlotte, the game delivered a 20.4 rating on ESPN and a 16.3 on WJZY-FOX, for a combined 36.6 rating in the market.