After the national anthem controversy took a toll on NFL ratings last fall, pushing down TV ratings, the games’ performance recovered in 2018, with the main football franchises posting year-to-year gains.
The recently concluded 13th season of NBC’s drew an average of 19.3 million Live+same day viewers, up 7% from last year. SNF is projected to finish as primetime’s No. 1 TV show in all key metrics for the 2018-19 season for an eighth consecutive year, based on official L+SD data provided by Nielsen. (Compared with 2017, SNF was down by a fraction, -2%.)
ESPN’s (11.65 million viewers) was up 8% vs. 2017 and also up 2% vs. 2016. MNF finished the season as the most-watched series on cable for the second straight calendar year.
In its debut season on Fox, drew 14.3 million viewers (Fox+NFL Network). That was higher than the 2017 averages on both CBS (14.23 million on CBS+NFLN) and NBC (13.58 million on NBC+NFLN), which shared the franchise. (TNF too was below its 2016 benchmark.)
Among adults 18-49, Sunday Night Football averaged a 6.1 rating, ranking as primetime television’s No. 1 show for the 11th consecutive fall TV season. That appears to be a tad below last year (6.2) and also down from 2016 (6.7). Thursday Night Football‘s 2018 demo tally was 4.4, while Monday Night Football was at 3.8.