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A Close Look at the NFL AFC & NFC Games: Who Watched What, When and Where

Last Sunday four NFL teams battled it out to see who would be advancing to Super Bowl LII. Given the regional loyalties that are built into football, we decided to take a closer look at where the viewers of each game were to get an overall sense of how fandom factors into who watches which games. So we worked with Inscape, the TV measurement company with glass-level data from a panel of more than 7.7 smart TVs and device. We also found out what people were watching before tuning in to — or tuning out of — the match-ups.

First, a general side-by-side look at the ratings:

The AFC championship was a rollercoaster of a game, with the New England Patriots making a late comeback to triumph over the Jacksonville Jaguars. On the flip side, the NFC was a bit of a snoozefest with the Philadelphia Eagles blowing out the Minnesota Vikings 38-7. This is reflected in the trends above, with viewership increasing as the AFC game wore on and decreasing throughout the NFC match.

For those who tuned into the Jaguars-Patriots game late, here’s what they (and/or other members of their households using the same TVs or devices) were watching beforehand: Fox NFL Sunday, Fixer Upper, Snowboarding, The Big Bang Theory and Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story.

Here’s what people opted to watch after switching away from the NFC championship: 60 Minutes, CBS Weekend News, America’s Funniest Home Videos, the telecast of the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards and Little Big Shots.

Below is a map showing the percentage of viewers in each state that tuned into the AFC game (the darker the color, the more people were likely to be watching, with the baseline normalized by each state’s population). Predictably, the northeast led the way, but it’s worth noting the tune-in for Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

And here’s a look at the Eagles-Vikings NFC game: As you’d expect, Minnesota and the surrounding states led the way, followed by Pennsylvania (also to be expected), but also Colorado and a good portion of New England.

We suspect New Englanders were particularly likely to be watching to see who would end up going against the Pats in the Super Bowl.