NFL Regular-Season Ratings Increase 10% Over Last Season | Sports News

By JOE REEDY, AP Sports Writer

An extra week of games, tight finishes and a year without an election have helped propel the NFL to its highest regular-season odds in six years.

The 272 regular-season games averaged 17.1 million viewers on TV and digital platforms, a 10% increase from 2020 and the league’s highest average since 2015.

Audiences were expected to increase after the 2020 season unfolded amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with empty stadiums exhibiting strange viewing dynamics and changes in viewing habits for many people. . The first half of this season also occurred in the midst of a presidential campaign, when many watched cable news channels.

It was also the first season the league played 17 regular season games. Despite the extra games, there weren’t many breakouts. According to the league, 64% of all games this season were within one score in the fourth quarter.

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NFL games ranked in the top 16 and 91 of the 100 best TV shows during the season, according to Nielsen. The Dallas Cowboys have been in five of the 10 most-watched games, including the Week 12 Thanksgiving game with the Las Vegas Raiders, which averaged 40.8 million viewers. It was the most-watched regular-season game on all networks in 31 years and one of only two since 1988 to average at least 40 million.

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” saw the biggest increase, with its 19-game schedule increasing 16% from a year ago to an average of 14.18 million. It is the network’s best regular-season audience since 2010 and the third since 2006, when the package moved primarily to ABC cable.

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