NFL Regular-Season Games Rise 7% To Average 16.3 Million Viewers

The NFL has regained its swagger in the just-completed regular season -- through 18 weeks -- boosting its Nielsen-measured average game viewership up 7% to 16.3 million versus last season.

All individual network franchises witnessed some improvement.

NBC Television Network’s “Sunday Night Football” grew 7% to 17.7 million Nielsen-measured viewers, while NBC posted 24.8 million for the “NFL Kickoff” game versus 20.5 million for the same game the year before.

Fox Television Network grew 9% to 17.6 million viewers for its national and regional Sunday afternoon games.

Fox/NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” also grew 9% to 14.9 million. Its best game of the year was the December 25 (Cleveland-Green Bay) game that posted 28.6 million viewers.



CBS Television Network's viewership was up 5% to 17.3 million Nielsen-measured viewers for its national and regional Sunday afternoon games.

When adding in its streaming platform, Paramount+, CBS Sports says its “NFL on CBS” games posted a strong 9% increase versus a year ago to 18.034 million viewers.

CBS touts that Paramount+ posted its most-streamed NFL regular season ever, although it did not disclose specific details.

CBS had the most watched regular-season game of the year -- a big Thanksgiving Day contest posting 40.8 million viewers featuring the Las Vegas Raiders vs. the Dallas Cowboys, the best regular-season game in 31 years.

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” improved by 14% to 13.3 million. ESPN had a number of simultaneous airings of games also airing on sister networks ABC and ESPN2.

NFL Network was up 36% to 8.1 million when looking at seven games that it aired exclusively on Thursday night and other days, including a big Saturday evening game that pulled in 12.6 million Indianapolis Colts/Arizona Cardinals.

A total of 134.7 billion impressions were produced from all nationally televised NFL TV games, according to A year ago, the total was 131.1 billion impressions for a 17-week season.

The top five NFL paid advertising brands this season were Verizon, with 4.0 billion impressions ($192.1 million in estimated ad spend); followed by Progressive Insurance, with 3.3 billion impressions ($210.8 million); Geico, at 2.9 billion impressions ($188.2 million); State Farm, with 2.6 billion impressions ($122.2 million); and T-Mobile, at 1.9 billion impressions ($138.8 million).

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