NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the crowd with Eminem and the Detroit Lions' Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Aidan Hutchinson and Hall of Famers Calvin Johnson and Barry Sanders on the stage before Round 1 of the NFL draft on April 25, 2024 in Detroit.

NFL Draft ratings dip after strong first round

After drawing around 12 million viewers on ESPN, ABC and NFL Network for the first round on Thursday, the NFL draft saw its worst ratings for the second and third round on Friday since 2012.

Thursday’s viewership was up 6 percent from last year and was the highest it’s been since 12.5 million watched in 2021. ESPN led the way this year with 5.6 million, followed by ABC (4.5 million) and NFL Network (1.6 million).

When the 2020 draft was remote during the pandemic, a record 15.3 million viewers tuned in for the first round.

Only 5.1 million tuned in on Friday, down 8 percent from last year’s 5.5 million viewers.

Unlike NFL Network and ABC, which carried Day 2 of the draft in full, ESPN opted to carry Game 3 of the Milwaukee Bucks-Indiana Pacers first-round series on Friday, with ESPN2 broadcasting the draft.

–Field Level Media

Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) celebrates with girlfriend Taylor Swift after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl LVIII most-watched TV show in U.S. history

The Kansas City Chiefs’ overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday was the most-watched television program in U.S. history, according to preliminary data released by Nielsen and CBS on Monday.

According to CBS, which broadcast the game, the Super Bowl averaged 123.4 million viewers across all platforms, breaking the mark of 115.1 million set during last year’s Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.

CBS added that 202.4 million viewers watched at least part of the game, breaking the record of 184 million (also set last Super Bowl).

Though Nielsen’s final data will be released Tuesday, Monday’s figures made it clear the game was smash hit for CBS and the NFL. The 120 million viewers who watched the game on CBS was a single-network record. The Paramount+ audience made it the most-streamed Super Bowl, as well, CBS claimed.

The total of 123.4 million also includes viewers of simulcasts on Nickelodeon, Univision, Paramount+, NFL+ and other NFL digital properties.

While the game going to overtime played a role in audience retention, several storylines had much of the country buzzing long before kickoff.

The win was the Chiefs’ third in five seasons, placing quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid among rare NFL royalty. Mahomes joined Tom Brady and Joe Montana as the only players with at least three Super Bowl MVPs, and Reid became the fifth coach with at least three Super Bowl wins as a head coach.

Las Vegas hosted the Super Bowl for the first time, with Usher performing at halftime. And the game marked the season’s culmination of the Taylor Swift-NFL juggernaut, as the superstar was in attendance to watch her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, catch nine passes for 93 yards for his third Super Bowl win.

Up next is Super Bowl LIX, scheduled for Feb. 9, 2025, at the Superdome in New Orleans. Fox will broadcast that game.

–Field Level Media

Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) greets Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) following the 2024 AFC divisional round game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Divisional games average record 40 million viewers

The NFL’s divisional round drew an average of 40 million viewers, highlighted by the Kansas City Chiefs-Buffalo Bills matchup on CBS that was the most watched divisional or wild-card game on record at 50.4 million.

The average viewership for the divisional round was the highest since 1988 and increased by 7 percent over last year.

Among the 126.7 million total viewers last weekend, 37.5 million tuned in to see the Green Bay Packers play the San Francisco 49ers on Fox, making it the most-watched NFL playoff game ever on a Saturday.

The Chiefs travel to face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game on CBS, followed by the Detroit Lions visiting the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on Fox.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Thursday Night Football Amazon Prime play-by-play announcer Al Michaels during the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL ratings soar 24 percent for Amazon’s ‘TNF’ slate

In its second season as the exclusive streaming platform for the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts, Amazon saw a 24 percent gain in viewership in 2023 over its first season.

In 2022, Amazon drew an average of 9.58 million viewers for “TNF,” but that number elevated significantly to 11.86 million viewers this season.

In comparison, Fox and the NFL Network drew 16.2 million viewers for Thursday night games in 2021. CBS, NBC and Fox on Sundays, along with ESPN/ABC on Mondays, draw more than 20 million viewers weekly.

Though streaming is thought to be more popular with younger people, Amazon’s overall audience – a 14 percent increase from 2022 — grew at a higher rate than the 18-34 demographic for “TNF.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) runs on to the field at MetLife Stadium before the game against the Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jets-Bills sets “Monday Night Football” viewership mark

The “Monday Night Football” game between the visiting Buffalo Bills and New York Jets drew more than 22.6 million viewers, the most since ESPN began airing the NFL broadcast in 2006.

The game featured the much-anticipated Jets debut of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who exited after tearing his left Achilles tendon on his fourth snap.

Despite Rodgers’ early departure, the Jets beat the Bills 22-16 in overtime on Xavier Gipson’s 65-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Jets announced on Tuesday that Rodgers would miss the rest of the season.

The game, which aired on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes, broke the network’s record that was set in 2009, when the Green Bay Packers faced their former quarterback Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. That game drew 21.8 million viewers.

The viewership total for this year’s season opener of “Monday Night Football” was up 14 percent from last year’s opener (Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks) that drew a then-record 19.8 million viewers for a Week 1 Monday night contest.

The breakdown for the Monday viewership included 11.7 million watching on ABC, 9.4 million on ESPN and 1.52 million on ESPN2, which aired the “ManningCast” alternate feed featuring Peyton Manning and Eli Manning.

Sports Business Journal noted that the total MNF viewership this week topped the most recent totals for the College Football Playoff final, the men’s NCAA Tournament final, the Kentucky Derby, the Oscars and the Grammy Awards.

–Field Level Media

From left, Philadelphia Eagles fans Jennifer Sult, Wanda Paris and Stephanie Napier hug in celebration of a touchdown during a watch party for the Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LVII game at Grotto Pizza in Wilmington, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023.

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Super Bowl LVII was most-watched U.S. telecast ever

The Kansas City Chiefs’ victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII was the most-watched U.S.-based telecast of all time, according to revised Nielsen ratings released Tuesday.

The Chiefs’ 38-35 win on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., drew an average of 115.1 million viewers across all platforms — nearly 2 million more than Nielsen’s previous announcement in February.

The updated numbers surpass the previous record of 114.4 million viewers for the New England Patriots’ win over the Seattle Seahawks at Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015.

Tuesday’s change was “the result of a thorough review by Nielsen that revealed irregularities in the encoding that enables Nielsen’s measurement of TV viewing as well as in the measurement of out-of-home viewing,” Fox Sports said in a statement.

Nielsen’s numbers include viewers who either watched Super Bowl LVII on the Fox or Fox Deportes TV networks or streamed the game on Fox digital properties or NFL+.

The “irregularities” were initially identified by the NFL, which informed Nielsen that the league-owned NFL Network might be getting credit for viewers who actually watched the game on one of the Fox platforms.

–Field Level Media

Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) celebrates after a play during the fourth quarter of a NFC divisional round game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys-49ers draws near-record ratings for FOX

Sunday’s playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and visiting Dallas Cowboys on FOX drew 45.7 million viewers, the second-most watched NFL divisional playoff game on record.

The Cowboys also were involved in the No. 1 viewed divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers in January 2017. That game, a 34-31 win for the Packers, drew 48.5 million viewers.

The 49ers-Cowboys game was the most-watched telecast of any kind since last year’s Super Bowl, per FOX’s release.

By comparison, FOX’s telecast of the Philadelphia Eagles-New York Giants game on Saturday drew 28.6 million viewers.

–Field Level Media

Sep 15, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Amazon records big numbers in ‘TNF’ debut

The first-ever “Thursday Night Football” game on Amazon’s Prime Video averaged 13.03 million viewers — better that Amazon projected — according to Nielsen.

That figure also includes the local broadcasts in the home markets of the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers.

Amazon had guaranteed advertisers at least 12.5 million viewers for the Thursday night games. Variety said the viewership for the Sept. 15 game, won by the Chiefs, exceeded the 8.84 million people who watched last season’s Thursday night opener on NFL Network and through digital services.

Prime is a subscription-only service that costs $139 a year and includes a variety of benefits, including free shipping on purchases made on Amazon. CNBC reported that a record number of people who wanted to watch last Thursday’s game signed up for Prime — more than on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers meet Thursday night to kick off Week 3, with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call.

–Field Level Media

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) puts his helmet on between drills during organized team activities practice, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Bengals Football Practice June 14 0053

Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase: ‘Extra motivation’ after Madden rating

Cincinnati Bengals wideout Ja’Marr Chase elected to take the high road after receiving what could be construed as a relatively low rating in Madden NFL 23.

Chase was listed with an 87 rating, tying him for 18th overall alongside new Philadelphia Eagles wideout A.J. Brown and Houston Texans slot receiver Brandin Cooks.

“i’m going keep working. Extra motivation,” Chase posted on Twitter.

Chase, 22, received Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and a Pro Bowl selection after recording 81 receptions for 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns in 17 games last season. He was taken by the Bengals with the fifth overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Davante Adams of the Las Vegas Raiders was listed first with a 99 rating. Los Angeles Rams star Cooper Kupp (98), Miami Dolphins offseason acquisition Tyreek Hill (97), Arizona Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins (96) and Buffalo Bills star Stefon Diggs (95) rounded out the top five in the video game.

–Field Level Media

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford celebrates with the Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl LVI most-watched game in five years

Super Bowl LVI was the most watched television show in five years and averaged 112.3 million viewers across all platforms, the NFL announced Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in Sunday’s game.

In all, 101.1 million viewers watched the game on NBC and its Spanish-language sister, Telemundo. An additional 11.2 million people streamed the game, primarily on NBC’s Peacock.

The total was the most since a viewership of 113.7 million for Super Bowl LI in 2017, when the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28, the NFL said.

The 2021 Super Bowl between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs drew an average of 96.4 million viewers on television for CBS.

“The Super Bowl once again delivered a massive audience, which included NBC and the unmatched power of broadcast television as well as first-ever presentations on Peacock and Telemundo, and led into our most-watched Olympics coverage in four years,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming said in a news release.

The Super Bowl halftime show, starring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, averaged 103.4 million viewers.

Among local markets, Cincinnati led the way in viewership with a 46.1 rating/84 share. That means 46.1 percent of all households in the market had the game turned on, and 84 percent of the people who were watching television at the time were watching the game.

Los Angeles had a 36.7/77 market share.

No. 2 on the list was Detroit, where Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford spent 12 seasons before an offseason trade sent him west. Detroit had a 45.9/79 share.

Two other metro areas in Ohio were in the ratings top 10 — Columbus and Cleveland.

–Field Level Media