Must See TV: NFL games dominated ratings in 2011

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 10, 2012

The following information comes from the NFL:

Football fans tuned into the 2011 NFL season in big numbers.  According to The Nielsen Company, the 2011 regular season reached more than 200 million unique viewers
NFL games were watched by an average of 17.5 million viewers –the NFL’s second highest viewership average since 1989 (17.9 million in 2010), before the explosion of viewer choice on television and online.
NFL games accounted for 23 of the 25 most-watched TV shows among all programming and the 16 most-watched shows on cable last fall. In addition, a record 37 NFL game telecasts averaged at least 20 million viewers – topping the previous mark set last year (35) and up from 16 in 2006.
NFL games continue to more than double broadcast primetime viewership. NFL games on CBS, FOX and NBC averaged 19.8 million viewers – 144 percent higher than the average primetime viewership among the four major over-the-air networks (8.1 million average on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC).  That NFL advantage is up from a 66 percent edge five years ago. 
FOX matched 2010 for its most-watched season ever while NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football posted its most-watched season ever. NBC Sunday Night Football was the most-watched show in primetime for the second consecutive fall TV season.  ESPN’s Monday Night Football continued as cable’s most-watched program for the sixth season in a row. CBS had its second most-watched season since acquiring the AFC package.
For the season, NFL games were the highest rated program locally 91 percent of the time – the second consecutive season topping 90 percent.

More 2011 NFL TV highlights (through the 2011 NFL regular season ending on 1/1/12):
NBC Sunday Night Football ranked as the most-watched primetime program for the second consecutive fall season averaging 21.5 million viewers. The Week 17 SNF game (Cowboys-Giants) was the most-watched Sunday primetime game in NFL regular-season history with an average of 27.6 million viewers.
FOX’s Sunday National telecast was the most-watched show among all programs with an average of 25.8 million viewers.
CBS’ Sunday National telecast was the second-most-watched program among all shows with an average of 24.3 million viewers.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football was the most-watched series on cable for the sixth straight year with an average of 13.3 million viewers. 
NFL Network wrapped up its sixth season of Thursday Night Football with a record average of 6.2 million cable viewers.
Thanksgiving weekend was the most-watched NFL regular-season weekend in 18 years and featured a pair of Thanksgiving afternoon games (CBS’ Miami at Dallas and FOX’s Green Bay at Detroit) topping 30 million average viewers -- the first time both broadcast networks topped the 30-million mark on Thanksgiving Day.  The Thanksgiving night Thursday Night Football game on NFL Network (San Francisco at Baltimore) was the most-watched cable program in Thanksgiving history and the most watched game in the eight-year history of NFLN with an average of 10.7 million viewers.
NFL Network’s average weekday primetime viewership jumped 18 percent over last year while Sunday shows – featuring the NFL GameDay lineup – were up 15 percent.
Fans visited the NFL’s digital media platforms including, NFL Mobile Only From Verizon and other NFL mobile products in record numbers in 2011. Many viewed the digital content via multiple access points resulting in a record total of 71 million fans per month – up 27 percent from last year. In addition, fans accessed 70 percent more video than in 2010 and accounted for a 67 percent jump in page views.

  NFL on Broadcast NFL
  Broadcast Primetime % Advantage
2002 Avg. Viewers 15.8 million 10.3 million 52%
2003 Avg. Viewers 15.5 million 9.9 million 56%
2004 Avg. Viewers 15.4 million 9.8 million 57%
2005 Avg. Viewers 15.6 million 9.7 million 61%
2006 Avg. Viewers 16.3 million 9.8 million 66%
2007 Avg. Viewers 16.6 million 8.7 million 91%
2008 Avg. Viewers 16.6 million 8.8 million 89%
2009 Avg. Viewers 18.4 million 8.5 million 116%
2010 Avg. Viewers 20.0 million 8.2 million 144%
2011 Avg. Viewers 19.8 million 8.1 million 144%
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.
The 25 most-watched shows of the fall TV season
Program (Game) Viewers
1. CBS Thanksgiving (Dolphins-Cowboys), 11/24 31.0 million
3. FOX Thanksgiving (Packers-Lions), 11/6 30.2 million
3. FOX Sunday National (mostly Packers-Giants), 12/4 29.8 million
3. CBS Sunday National (mostly Patriots-Broncos), 12/18 28.2 million
5. CBS’ Two and a Half Men (Season Premiere), 9/19      28.7 million
6. FOX Sunday National (mostly Cowboys-Patriots), 10/16 28.4 million
7. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Patriots), 11/6 28.2 million
8. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Giants), 1/1/12 27.6 million
9. NBC Thursday Night Kickoff Game (Saints-Packers), 9/8 27.1 million
10. CBS Sunday National (mostly Chiefs-Broncos), 1/1/12 27.0 million
11. CBS Sunday National (mostly Patriots-Eagles), 11/27 26.2 million
12. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-49ers), 11/13 25.9 million
13. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Redskins), 9/11 25.8 million
14. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Jets), 9/11 25.8 million
15. FOX World Series Game 7 (Rangers-Cardinals), 10/28 25.4 million
16. CBS Sunday National (mostly Patriots-Steelers), 10/30 24.6 million
17. NBC Sunday Night Football (Giants-Cowboys), 12/11 24.5 million
18. FOX Sunday National (mostly Packers-Vikings), 10/23 24.3 million
19. NBC Sunday Night Football (Bears-Packers), 12/25 24.0 million
20. FOX Sunday National (mostly Packers-Bears), 9/25 24.0 million
21. NBC Sunday Night Football (Eagles-Falcons), 9/18 23.4 million
21. FOX Sunday Single (mostly Redskins-Giants), 12/18 23.4 million
23. FOX Sunday Single (mostly Lions-Cowboys), 10/2 23.3 million
24. CBS Sunday National (mostly Packers-Broncos), 10/2 23.0 million
25. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Eagles), 10/30 23.0 million
The 15 most-watched basic cable shows of the fall TV season
Program, Date Viewers
1. ESPN Monday Night Football (Redskins-Cowboys), 9/26 17.1 million
2. ESPN Monday Night Football (Bears-Eagles), 11/7 16.8 million
3. ESPN Monday Night Football (Steelers-49ers), 12/19 16.7 million
4. ESPN Monday Night Football (Bears-Lions), 10/10 16.4 million
5. ESPN Monday Night Football (Falcons-Saints), 12/26 15.6 million
6. ESPN Monday Night Football (Patriots-Dolphins), 9/12 14.6 million
7. ESPN Monday Night Football (Giants-Saints), 11/28 14.4 million
8. ESPN Monday Night Football (Vikings-Packers), 11/14 14.2 million
9. ESPN Monday Night Football (Chiefs-Patriots), 11/21 12.3 million
10. ESPN Monday Night Football (Dolphins-Jets), 10/17 12.1 million
11. ESPN Monday Night Football (Chargers-Chiefs), 10/31 12.0 million
12. ESPN Monday Night Football (Rams-Giants), 9/19 11.9 million
13. ESPN Monday Night Football (Raiders-Broncos), 9/12 11.1 million
14. ESPN Monday Night Football (Colts-Bucs), 10/3 10.8 million
15. NFLN Thursday Night Football (49ers-Ravens), 11/24 10.7 million
Source: NFL & The Nielsen Company, 9/4/11 – 1/1/12

From our partners

Team Pages

Connect With Us
Sign up for our newsletter to recieve all the latest news and updates...

The Football Nation Network

© Copyright 2015 Football Nation LLC. Privacy Policy & Terms of Use   Logout
Some images property of Getty Images or Icon/SMI