202 MILLION FANS TUNED IN
NFL GAME VIEWERSHIP NEARLY TRIPLES BROADCAST PRIMETIME
45 of 50 MOST-WATCHED SHOWS THIS FALL
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL VIEWERSHIP UP 53%
THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR: NFL GAME TV’S MOST-WATCHED SHOW ALL 17 WEEKS
The 2014 NFL season had it all. Close games, come-from-behind victories and record-breaking performances had fans tuning into NFL games. According to The Nielsen Company, the 2014 regular season reached 202.3 million unique viewers, representing 80 percent of all television homes and 68% percent of potential viewers in the U.S.
The 2014 NFL Regular Season averaged 17.6 million viewers per game telecast, making it the second most-watched season ever behind the 2010 season (17.9 million).
NFL games accounted for the top 20, and 45 of the 50 most-watched TV shows among all programming last fall (chart below).
Five NFL game telecasts this season were watched by at least 29 million viewers, up from just one in the 2013 season.
For the third consecutive year, an NFL game was the week’s most-watched TV show in all 17 weeks of the season. In addition, at least two NFL games were the week’s most-watched TV shows in 16 weeks of the season (chart below).
NFL games on broadcast television nearly tripled broadcast primetime viewership. NFL games on CBS, FOX and NBC averaged 19.2 million viewers – 162% percent higher than the average primetime viewership among the four major over-the-air networks (7.4 million average on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC).
Over the past decade, average viewership of NFL games on broadcast television has increased 25% from 15.4 million in 2004 to 19.2 million in 2014.
More 2014 NFL TV highlights:
- NBC’s Sunday Night Football ranked as the most-watched primetime program for the fifth consecutive fall season averaging 21.3 million viewers. The Week 15 SNF game (Cowboys-Eagles) was the most-watched primetime game of the season with an average of 24.3 million viewers.
- In its first year simulcast on CBS and NFL Network, Thursday Night Football saw huge gains, with total viewership up 53% from last season and 69% since 2012.
- FOX’s Thanksgiving Day Game (Eagles-Cowboys) was the most-watched show of the fall season with 32.0 million viewers, and the 2014 Thanksgiving Day average of 28.4 million viewers was the highest Thanksgiving Day average since 1998 (29.7 million for Steelers-Lions and Vikings-Cowboys).
- The Week 8 Redskins-Cowboys game on ESPN averaged 18.8 million viewers, making it the most-watched Monday Night Football game since 2010 and the fourth most-watched Monday Night Football game on ESPN of all time.
- NFL games accounted for the top 38 and 48 of the 50 most-watched telecasts (since Sept. 4) among adults aged 18-49 – with CBS, FOX, ESPN and NBC each represented on that list.
NFL game telecasts topped weekly TV viewership charts in each of the season’s 17 weeks:
|# of NFL telecasts that were most-watched shows each week:||Number of weeks:|
|At least 5||2|
For the season, NFL games rank as the 20 most-watched and 45 of the top 50 TV shows since Labor Day. Following are the most-watched programs this fall:
|1. FOX Thanksgiving Day (Eagles-Cowboys), 11/27||32.0 million|
|2. CBS Sunday National (mostly Patriots-Packers), 11/30||30.9 million|
|3. FOX Sunday National (mostly Cowboys-Seahawks), 10/12||30.0 million|
|4. CBS Thanksgiving Day (Bears-Lions), 11/27||29.4 million|
|5. CBS Sunday National (mostly Broncos-Patriots), 11/2||29.1 million|
|6. FOX Sunday National (mostly Lions-Packers), 12/28||28.5 million|
|7. FOX Sunday National (mostly 49ers-Cowboys), 9/7||28.1 million|
|8. CBS Sunday National (mostly Broncos-Seahawks), 9/21||27.3 million|
|9. NBC Thursday Night Kickoff Game (Packers-Seahawks), 9/4||27.1 million|
|10. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Cowboys), 10/19||27.0 million|
|11. FOX Sunday National (mostly Eagles-Packers), 11/16||26.5 million|
|12. FOX Sunday National (mostly 49ers-Seahawks), 12/14||26.5 million|
|13. CBS Sunday National (mostly Dolphins at Broncos), 11/23||26.4 million|
|14. FOX Sunday National (mostly Eagles-Seahawks), 12/7||25.9 million|
|15. CBS Sunday National (mostly Colts-Cowboys), 12/21||25.9 million|
|16. FOX Sunday National (mostly Eagles-49ers), 9/28||25.9 million|
|17. CBS Sunday National (mostly Chiefs-Broncos), 9/14||25.0 million|
|18. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Eagles), 12/14||24.3 million|
|19. NBC Sunday Night Football (Colts-Broncos), 9/7||23.8 million|
|20. NBC Sunday Night Football (49ers-Broncos), 10/19||23.8 million|
|21. FOX MLB World Series Game 7||23.5 million|
|22. NBC Sunday Night Football (Saints-Cowboys), 9/28||23.1 million|
|23. NBC Thanksgiving Night (Seahawks-49ers), 11/27||22.9 million|
|24. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Seahawks), 11/9||22.7 million|
|25. NBC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 11/27||22.6 million|
|26. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Giants), 11/23||22.4 million|
|27. FOX Sunday Single (mostly Cardinals-Cowboys), 11/2||22.3 million|
|28. NBC Sunday Night Football (Bears-49ers), 9/14||22.3 million|
|29. NBC Sunday Night Football (Patriots-Chargers), 12/7||21.1 million|
|30. NBC Sunday Night Football (Broncos-Chiefs), 11/30||21.1 million|
|31. NBC Sunday Night Football (Patriots-Colts), 11/16||20.8 million|
|32. CBS & NFLN Thursday Night Football (Steelers-Ravens), 9/11||20.8 million|
|33. CBS Sunday National (Mostly Colts-Steelers), 10/26||20.8 million|
|34. NBC Sunday Night Football (Bengals-Steelers), 12/28||20.7 million|
|35. FOX Sunday Single (Mostly Lions-Patriots), 11/23||20.7 million|
|36. FOX Sunday Single (mostly Packers-Lions & 49ers-Cardinals), 9/21||20.6 million|
|37. CBS & NFLN Thursday Night Football (Chargers-Broncos), 10/23||20.2 million|
|38. NBC Sunday Night Football (Steelers- Panthers), 9/21||19.8 million|
|39. CBS Sunday National (mostly Chiefs-49ers), 10/5||19.7 million|
|40. NBC Sunday Night Football (Bengals-Patriots), 10/5||19.5 million|
|41. FOX Sunday Single (mostly Seahawks-Chargers & Cowboys-Titans), 9/14||19.4 million|
|42. FOX Sunday Single (mostly Cardinals-Broncos & Falcons-Giants), 10/5||19.4 million|
|43. NBC Sunday Night Football (Seahawks-Cardinals), 12/21||19.3 million|
|44. NCIS, 9/30||19.0 million|
|45. NBC Sunday Night Football (Saints-Packers), 10/26||18.8 million|
|46. ESPN Monday Night Football (Redskins-Cowboys), 10/27||18.8 million|
|47. CBS Sunday Single (mostly Dolphins-Patriots, Steelers-Falcons), 12/14||18.7 million|
|48. NBC Sunday Night Football (Ravens-Steelers), 11/2||18.6 million|
|49. 60 Minutes, 11/30||18.4 million|
|50. NCIS, 9/23||18.3 million|
Source: NFL & The Nielsen Company