Extra, extra, read all about it! People love to watch NFL games. This is not news, of course, we all know this. But the extent to which America loves the NFL is even more staggering than you think. Here are some facts about the NFL’s television year-round dominance, not just at the Super Bowl.
1. The top 12 shows of the 2015 fall season have all been NFL games, led by the 29.4 million viewers who tuned in for the Seattle-Dallas game on Nov. 1. In all, 26 of the top 27 programs were professional football games, with only the first Republican primary debate interrupting the dominance with an appearance at No. 13.
2. This is nothing new. Usually, the fall season is completely dominated by the NFL (the No. 28 and No. 29 shows right now — the seasons premiers of The Big Bang Theory and NCIS, respectively, will be long gone by the time the season ends). Usually, only one other program — the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — cracks the top 30 of fall television. With the Donald Trump-led debate anomaly this year, there should be two non-NFL shows in the top 30 by New Year’s Eve, a veritable bonanza for non-NFL programming.
3. In 2015, the top 20 and 45 of the 50 most-watched shows of the fall season were NFL games. Sunday Night Football was the No. 1 show in all 17 weeks of primetime.
4. Everyone assumes primetime is king, but the biggest ratings are actually for the 4:25 p.m. ET games that alternate weekly between CBS and Fox. (You’d think baseball would see this and have a daytime, weekend World Series game for a change.)
Average viewers per telecast:
Fox (late afternoon) — 26.8 million
CBS (late afternoon) — 24.1 million
Sunday Night Football (NBC)– 23.7 million
Thursday Night Football (CBS/NFLN) — 17.6 million
1 p.m. games on Fox and CBS — 16.3 million
Monday Night Football (ESPN) — 13.0 million
(The CBS and Fox ratings are averaged from their respective doubleheader games through Week 10, via ratings from various sources, including sportsmediawatch.com.)
5. This year’s Week 1 had the most overall viewers for any opening week in NFL history.
6. In most weeks, the No. 1 television show in the NFL’s TV markets is that week’s NFL game. (It happened in Week 8, among many others.) When the NFL game isn’t at the top, it tends to be because a college game has leapfrogged it for a week.
7. Last week’s Browns-Bengals game was the first Thursday game to solely appear this season on NFL Network. Even that dog of a game did a good number, scoring 8.8 million viewers, the seventh most in the history of the network. But, as Sports Media Watch points out, that was the second-worst viewership of the season for any NFL game, with the 8.4 million who watched the early London game in Week 8 between the Lions and Chiefs. (That doesn’t include the Yahoo! game, which had numbers that were likely anemic when compared to broadcast games — don’t believe the spin.)
8. It’s been a steady climb for SNF. When it started in 2006, it ranked 9th, with American Idol at No. 1. SNF kept climbing until 2011, when it was the No. 1 show on all of television.
9. But then there are some oddities: Last week, for instance, the NFL’s primetime shows (Thursday/Sunday/Monday) were 17th, 1st and 8th in total viewers. (That doesn’t include the Fox or CBS game.)
10. This week’s Monday Night Football game — Bears-Chargers — had a season-low 11.4 million viewers, but that still would have ranked 13th for the week. However, that aforementioned Thursday game — the one with 8.8 million viewers — had the same amount of eyes on it as Survivor, a reality show that’s been around for 15 years and 31 seasons. (BTW, Survivor still rules. I know most people don’t realize it’s still on, but it’s a great show that’s more like sports than you’d ever imagine. I can’t recommend it more highly.)
To read 11-17 visit the USA Today which is where this article was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.
Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.
ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.
At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.
AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.
The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.
CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.
With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.
Michael Cole to Pat McAfee: I Didn’t Know If We’d See You In WWE Again
“If you noticed I haven’t said much to anyone publicly about when you were coming because no one knew.”
WWE over the weekend held its annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view show, and in typical Rumble fashion the event didn’t go off without its fair share of surprise returns.
Among those returns was that of Pat McAfee to commentary. McAfee had last been seen on WWE television back in the summer. He took a leave of absence from his SmackDown responsibilities on Friday nights to go be an analyst on College GameDay.
McAfee’s SmackDown broadcast partner Michael Cole appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Monday and said he honestly didn’t think Pat would go back to WWE.
“I legit did not know if you were ever gonna be back,” Cole said, alluding to the fact that McAfee is now a father-to-be as a couple of big changes in his life. “And if you noticed I haven’t said much to anyone publicly about when you were coming because no one knew.”
Cole said he had prepared to call the Royal Rumble alongside broadcast partner Corey Graves, and it wasn’t until McAfee’s name flashed on the screen in the Alamodome that Cole realized what was happening.
“Paul Levesque was in my ear and he said, ‘Are you gonna sell it?’ And I mouthed to him in the spy cam, ‘Sell what?'” Cole said. “Then I looked up and saw your video board and I’m like oh my God you’re ribbing me.”
“I didn’t even know what to say and then when I saw you were in your blazer I was legit like so excited,” he added.
Cole said even his wife, who doesn’t typically watch WWE programming, tuned in and was excited to watch Pat make his return.
“She thought I was texting her to tell her that you were coming back. I knew nothing about it,” Cole said. “She texted me and said, ‘PAT!’ right in the middle of your entrance. It was craziness dude.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.