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Saints, Vikings win big in tv ratings

1/25/2010

Sunday night’s NFC Championship Game was historic for New Orleans in more ways than one. Aside from being the first championship game in the city and the Saints clinching their first Super Bowl berth, it marked the most-watched postseason in local market.

According to Neilsen Media Research, New Orleans had a 63.2/82 last night, the highest local rating ever for a postseason NFL game and beating the home market rating of every team that ever has played in a Super Bowl. The audience in New Orleans peaked at 67.4/86 at 10:15 p.m. as Garrett Hartley made the game-winning field goal.

Minneapolis posted a 58.7/80, which is the third-best ever for a local rating, trailing only New Orleans for the same game and Milwaukee in the 1997 NFC Championship Game.

Overall, Nielsen said the game reached 57.9 million national viewers, the largest audience for any conference championship game since the 1982 game between the Cowboys and 49ers, where Dwight Clark made “The Catch." Aside from Super Bowl broadcasts, Sunday’s NFC Championship Game was television’s most-watched program since the 1998 finale of “Seinfeld," that drew 76.3 million viewers.