Peyton Manning is still a massive draw in Indianapolis.
The local market tuned into Sunday’s AFC championship game featuring Manning’s Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots in a big way.
Many of those viewers were no doubt fondly recalling when No. 18 called the signals for the Indianapolis Colts. There also may have been a considerable number of Patriots haters watching from Indy.
In any event, the Indianapolis market registered a 41.9 rating for the game on CBS, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. That’s more than 450,000 households.
Denver’s 20-18 AFC Championship Game victory over New England had a huge national ratings number for the 17th face-off between Manning and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Still, the national rating was much lower than what was recorded locally.
According to Nielsen, the Broncos-Patriots game scored a 31.8 overnight rating nationwide, a 9 percent increase from last year’s 29.1 overnight rating for the Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers NFC title game, which also was the early game and the most watched of the two conference championship games last year.
Sunday’s national rating is the highest for an AFC title game since the famous Broncos-Cleveland Browns game 29 years ago in which John Elway led “The Drive” on Jan. 11, 1987.
Naturally, the Boston and Denver markets led the way Sunday for the early game on CBS. But they weren't as far ahead of Indy as you might have thought. The game scored a 49.6 rating in Boston and a 52.1 in Denver, according to Nielsen.
Locally, the game scored a lower rating than last year’s AFC championship game, a contest many Hoosiers would just as soon forget.
Last year’s Colts-Patriots AFC Championships game—which New England won 45-7—tallied a 47.8 rating in Indy, according to Nielsen. It would have no doubt been in the mid to high 50s had it been as close and exciting as this year’s game, which came down to a last-second two-point conversion try.
Because of the Panthers blowout win over the Cardinals, the late game on Fox wasn’t as strong, drawing a 26.8 national overnight rating. Locally, it earned a 28.0 rating [301,000 households], according to Nielsen.