NFL Games Rank as TV’s 14 Most-Watched Shows this Season
Viewership Doubles Broadcast Primetime
NBC’s SNF #1 Show in Primetime; ESPN’s MNF #1 Show on Cable
NFL Game Tops Viewership in Each of Season’s 9 Weeks
At the halfway point of the 2012 NFL season, more than 172 million fans have tuned in to NFL games for good reason…they have been captivated by the fantastic finishes. Nearly one quarter of NFL games (31 of 132) have had the winning score in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter or in overtime – the highest rate ever through Week 9 since at least 1970.
NFL games account for the 14 most-watched programs on television since the NFL season kicked off on Sept. 5 (chart below). Through Week 9, NBC’s Sunday Night Football is the most-watched show in primetime and ESPN’s Monday Night Football is the most-watched program on cable.
In addition, the average NFL game telecast (including broadcast and cable) has drawn 16.0 million viewers – more than double the average primetime viewership (7.7 million) for the big four broadcast networks in the new television season, according to information provided by The Nielsen Company.
Since the beginning of the 2012 NFL season, NFL games have topped the local ratings in NFL markets a record 91 percent of the time – up from 86 percent through nine weeks last season.
Following are some fast facts at midseason:
- An NFL game telecast has been television’s most-watched program in each of the season’s first nine weeks (up from seven of the first nine weeks in 2011).
- NFL games account for the 20 most-watched programs on television (since Sept. 5) among adults aged 18-49 – with each of the broadcast networks televising NFL games represented on that list.
- NBC’s Sunday Night Football is averaging 21.2 million viewers through Week 9 and ranks as the No. 1 show in primetime this television season. NBC’s SNF opener (Steelers-Broncos) posted the highest rating ever for a Sunday night game (16.5).
- ESPN Monday Night Football games rank as the five most-watched shows on cable this fall. MNF is the most watched show on cable this fall averaging 13.1 million viewers.
- Sunday late afternoon NFL games continue to draw more viewers than anything on TV. FOX is averaging 24.6 million viewers for its Sunday national telecasts and CBS is averaging 23.1 million viewers. The FOX and CBS national telecasts and NBC Sunday Night Football are the only programs on TV averaging more than 20 million viewers.
- NFL Network — with an expanded 13-game primetime schedule — is on record pace averaging more than 7.6 million viewers (including over-the-air telecasts) in its first year with Thursday Night Football games in the first half of the season. Last season, Thursday Night Football posted a record average 7.3 million viewers (including OTAs).
- NFL Network viewership is up 90 percent in primetime through Week 9.
- Visits to NFL Digital media properties are up 34 percent over last year at this time, with a 78 percent jump for NFL mobile platforms, including NFL Mobile Only From Verizon and other apps.
For the season, NFL games rank as the 14 most-watched TV shows since Labor Day. Following are the most-watched programs this fall:
|1. NBC Sunday Night Football (Steelers-Broncos), 9/9||27.6 million|
|2. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Cowboys), 10/28||26.9 million|
|3. FOX Sunday National (mostly 49ers-Packers), 9/9||26.4 million|
|4. CBS Sunday National (mostly Broncos-Patriots), 10/7||24.5 million|
|5. CBS Sunday National (mostly Steelers-Giants), 11/4||24.2 million|
|6. CBS Sunday National (mostly Texans-Broncos), 9/23||24.0 million|
|7. NBC Wed. Night Kickoff Game (Cowboys-Giants), 9/5||23.9 million|
|8. CBS Sunday National (mostly Jets-Patriots), 10/21||23.0 million|
|9. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-49ers), 10/14||22.8 million|
|10. NBC Sunday Night Football (Giants-Eagles), 9/30||22.8 million|
|11. FOX Sunday National (mostly Saints-Packers), 9/30||22.3 million|
|12. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Falcons), 11/4||21.8 million|
|13. NBC Sunday Night Football (Lions-49ers), 9/16||21.3 million|
|14. NBC Sunday Night Football (Patriots-Ravens), 9/23||21.3 million|
|15. CBS NCIS (Season Premiere), 9/25||20.5 million|
Source: NFL & The Nielsen Company
Last week (Oct. 29-Nov. 4), NFL football was the top-rated program in 27 of 29 NFL markets (New York was not rated due to Hurricane Sandy).