NFL 2011 TV Recap: Record 37 Shows Earn More Than 20 Million Viewers

Categories: Network TV Press Releases,TV Sports Ratings & News

Written By

January 5th, 2012

via press release:

NFL 2011 TV RECAP

 

MORE THAN 200 MILLION FANS TUNE IN

 

23 OF 25 MOST-WATCHED SHOWS THIS FALL

 

RECORD 37 SHOWS EARN MORE THAN 20 MILLION VIEWERS

 

NFL GAME VIEWERSHIP MORE THAN DOUBLES BROADCAST PRIMETIME

 

RECORD SEASON FOR NFL NETWORK & NFL DIGITAL PROPERTIES

 

 

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.comNFL 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 VS. PRIMETIME VIEWERSHIP ON BROADCAST TV

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Following are 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

 

Source: NFL & The Nielsen Company, 9/4/11 – 1/1/12

 

 

Following are 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

 
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