NFL 2012 TV Recap: NFL Game TV's Most Watched Show All 17 Weeks

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

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January 3rd, 2013

via press release:

NFL 2012 TV RECAP

200 MILLION FANS TUNED IN

31 OF 32 MOST-WATCHED SHOWS THIS FALL

FIRST: NFL GAME TV’S MOST WATCHED SHOW ALL 17 WEEKS

NFL GAME VIEWERSHIP MORE THAN DOUBLES BROADCAST PRIMETIME

RECORD SEASON FOR NFL NETWORK & NFL DIGITAL PROPERTIES

 

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

 

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%

2012 Avg. Viewers

19.3 million

7.6 million

154%

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:

 

Program Viewers
1. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Redskins), 12/30 30.3 million
2. FOX Thanksgiving Game (Redskins-Cowboys), 11/22 28.7 million
3. NBC Sunday Night Football (Steelers-Broncos), 9/9 27.6 million
4. CBS Thanksgiving Game (Texans-Lions), 11/22 27.3 million
5. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Cowboys), 10/28 26.9 million
6. CBS Sunday National (mostly Steelers-Cowboys), 12/16 26.9 million
7. FOX Sunday National (mostly Packers-Vikings), 12/30 26.4 million
8.FOX Sunday National (mostly 49ers-Packers), 9/9 26.4 million
9. FOX Sunday National (mostly 49ers-Saints), 11/25 24.9 million
10. CBS Sunday National (mostly Broncos-Patriots), 10/7 24.5 million
11. FOX Sunday National (mostly Saints-Giants), 12/9 24.5 million
12. FOX Sunday National (mostly Cowboys-Eagles), 11/11 24.3 million
13. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-Ravens),12/23 24.2 million
14. CBS Sunday National (mostly Steelers-Giants), 11/4 24.2 million
15. CBS Sunday National (mostly Texans-Broncos), 9/23 24.0 million
16. NBC Wed. Night Kickoff Game (Cowboys-Giants), 9/5 23.9 million
17. CBS Sunday National (Indy-NE & SD-Den), 11/18 23.6 million
18. NBC Sunday Night Football (49ers-Patriots), 12/16 23.2 million
19. CBS Sunday National (mostly Steelers-Ravens), 12/2 23.0 million
20. CBS Sunday National (mostly Jets-Patriots), 10/21 23.0 million
21. FOX Sunday National (mostly Giants-49ers), 10/14 22.8 million
22. NBC Sunday Night Football (Giants-Eagles), 9/30 22.8 million
23. NBC Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, 11/22 22.4 million
24. FOX Sunday National (mostly Saints-Packers), 9/30 22.3 million
25. NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Falcons), 11/4 21.8 million
26. FOX Sunday Single (mostly NYG-ATL & GB-Chi), 12/16 21.4 million
27. NBC Sunday Night Football (Lions-Packers), 12/9 21.4 million
28. NBC Sunday Night Football (Lions-49ers), 9/16 21.3 million
29. NBC Sunday Night Football (Patriots-Ravens), 9/23 21.3 million
30. FOX Sunday Single (mostly Minn-GB & TB-Den), 12/2 20.9 million
31. NBC Sunday Night Football (Texans-Bears), 11/11 20.9 million
32. NBC Sunday Night Football (Packers-Giants), 11/25 20.9 million

Source: NFL & The Nielsen Company

 
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