SBD/December 19, 2012/Media

NFL Network Sets Game-Audience Record For Fourth Consecutive Season

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NFL Network averaged a 4.0 U.S. rating and 6.4 million viewers for its expanded slate of 13 games this season (excluding over-the-air figures), marking the net’s best audience since it began airing regular-season games in '06. This year marks the fourth straight year NFL Net set a new audience record and the first in which it did not air a game on a Saturday night. Compared to last year’s numbers, NFL Net saw an 11% ratings jump and a 3% viewership jump. Including over-the-air numbers, NFL Net averaged a 4.6 rating and 7.3 million viewers. Each Thursday night game on the net earned the distinction of being that day’s most-viewed program on cable. Three of NFL Net’s 10 most-watched games aired this season. Bears-Packers on Sept. 13 led the way with a 5.3 rating and 8.6 million viewers, marking the net’s fourth best audience all-time.

THURSDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: The NFL’s decision to expand the number of Thursday night games has had a cascading affect on the rest of the TV sports landscape. College football used to rule Thursday nights through mid-November. Now, its numbers that night are down and don’t look to be coming back any time soon. But one result that may have been unexpected is its impact on the NFL’s other TV partners. Fox’ game viewership is down 5%, while CBS’ is down 3%. Primetime NFL games on ESPN and NBC essentially are flat. Several industry sources blame the NFL Net’s expanded schedule for the viewership drop. The Thursday night NFL games are also chipping away at the NBA’s hold on Thursday night viewing.

NFL NETWORK GAME AUDIENCE TREND (EXCLUDES OVER-THE-AIR)
YEAR
U.S. RATING
VIEWERS (000)
'12
4.0
6,352
'11
3.6
6,188
'10
3.2
5,705
'09
3.1
5,548
'08
2.3
3,738
'07
2.7
4,650
'06
n/a
3,100
TOP 10 MOST-VIEWED GAMES ON NFL NETWORK (ALL-TIME)
DATE
DAY
TEAMS
RATING
VIEWERS (000)
11/24/11
Thurs.
49ers-Ravens
5.3
10,681
12/19/09
Sat.
Cowboys-Saints
5.7
10,497
11/29/07
Thurs.
Packers-Cowboys
5.6
10,054
9/13/12
Thurs.
Bears-Packers
5.3
8,559
9/27/12
Thurs.
Browns-Ravens
5.2
8,053
12/25/10
Sat.
Cowboys-Cardinals
3.8
7,843
11/25/10
Thurs.
Bengals-Jets
3.4
7,106
11/29/12
Thurs.
Saints-Falcons
4.4
7,066

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