Americans Love Them Some NFL: League Dominates TV Again in 2012
The following information comes from the NFL:
Football fans tuned into the 2012 NFL season in big numbers. According to The Nielsen Company, the 2012 regular season reached 200 million unique viewers, representing 80 percent of all television homes and 69 percent of potential viewers in the U.S.
NFL games accounted for 31 of the 32 most-watched TV shows among all programming last fall (chart below).
For the first time ever, an NFL game was the week’s most-watched TV show in all 17 weeks of the season. NFL games ranked 1-2 in viewership in 15 of the 17 weeks.
NFL games continued to more than double broadcast primetime viewership. NFL games on CBS, FOX and NBC averaged 19.3 million viewers – 154 percent higher than the average primetime viewership among the four major over-the-air networks (7.6 million average on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC). That NFL advantage is nearly triple the 52 percent edge of a decade ago (chart below).
Locally, an NFL game was the highest-rated show in NFL markets a record 93 percent of the time – marking the third consecutive season topping 90 percent. In addition, NFL games were the highest rated show in all 30 markets for the week a record five times this season. Previously there were four “30 for 30” weeks in the full 2010 and 2011 seasons.
More 2012 NFL TV highlights:
NBC Sunday Night Football ranked as the most-watched primetime program for the third consecutive fall season averaging 21.4 million viewers. The Week 17 SNF game (Cowboys-Redskins) was the most-watched Sunday primetime game in NFL regular-season history with an average of 30.3 million viewers. Last year (2011-12), Sunday Night Football became the first sports series to rank as the most watched television show for the full fall-spring TV season.
Sunday late afternoon NFL games continue to draw more viewers than anything on TV. FOX averaged 24.8 million viewers for its Sunday national telecasts and CBS averaged 23.0 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 games accounted for the 45 most-watched programs on television (since Sept. 5) among adults aged 18-49 – with CBS, FOX, ESPN and NBC each represented on that list.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football was the most-watched series on cable for the seventh consecutive year with an average of 12.8 million viewers.
With an expanded 13-game package, NFL Network wrapped up its seventh season of Thursday Night Football with a record average of 7.3 million viewers (including the audience from over-the-air stations in local markets) and ranked as the most-watched Thursday program on cable last fall.
NFL Network’s average weekday primetime viewership jumped 45 percent from 2011.
Fans visited the NFL’s digital media platforms including NFL.com, NFL Mobile from Verizon and other NFL mobile products in record numbers with 1.4 billion visits via multiple access points – up 35 percent from last year.
NFL VS. PRIMETIME VIEWERSHIP ON BROADCAST TV
2002 Avg. Viewers
2003 Avg. Viewers
2004 Avg. Viewers
2005 Avg. Viewers
2006 Avg. Viewers
2007 Avg. Viewers
2008 Avg. Viewers
2009 Avg. Viewers
2010 Avg. Viewers
2011 Avg. Viewers
2012 Avg. Viewers
Source: NFL & The Nielsen Company. NFL regular season on Broadcast television
(CBS, FOX & NBC…ABC prior to 2006). Broadcast primetime on BIG 4 networks (ABC, CBS, NBC & FOX) all programs, NFL regular season dates used.
For the season, NFL games rank as 31 of the 32 most-watched TV shows since Labor Day. Following are the most-watched programs this fall:
1. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Redskins), 12/30
2. FOX Thanksgiving Game (Redskins-Cowboys), 11/22
3. NBC Sunday Night Football (Steelers-Broncos), 9/9
4. CBS Thanksgiving Game (Texans-Lions), 11/22
5. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Cowboys), 10/28
6. CBS Sunday National (mostly Steelers-Cowboys), 12/16
7. FOX Sunday National (mostly Packers-Vikings), 12/30
8.FOX Sunday National (mostly 49ers-Packers), 9/9
9. FOX Sunday National (mostly 49ers-Saints), 11/25
10. CBS Sunday National (mostly Broncos-Patriots), 10/7
11. FOX Sunday National (mostly Saints-Giants), 12/9
12. FOX Sunday National (mostly Cowboys-Eagles), 11/11
13. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Ravens),12/23
14. CBS Sunday National (mostly Steelers-Giants), 11/4
15. CBS Sunday National (mostly Texans-Broncos), 9/23
16. NBC Wed. Night Kickoff Game (Cowboys-Giants), 9/5
17. CBS Sunday National (Indy-NE & SD-Den), 11/18
18. NBC Sunday Night Football (49ers-Patriots), 12/16
19. CBS Sunday National (mostly Steelers-Ravens), 12/2
20. CBS Sunday National (mostly Jets-Patriots), 10/21
21. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-49ers), 10/14
22. NBC Sunday Night Football (Giants-Eagles), 9/30
23. NBC Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, 11/22
24. FOX Sunday National (mostly Saints-Packers), 9/30
25. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Falcons), 11/4
26. FOX Sunday Single (mostly NYG-ATL & GB-Chi), 12/16
27. NBC Sunday Night Football (Lions-Packers), 12/9
28. NBC Sunday Night Football (Lions-49ers), 9/16
29. NBC Sunday Night Football (Patriots-Ravens), 9/23
30. FOX Sunday Single (mostly Minn-GB & TB-Den), 12/2
31. NBC Sunday Night Football (Texans-Bears), 11/11
32. NBC Sunday Night Football (Packers-Giants), 11/25
Source: NFL & The Nielsen Company
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