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Volume 25 No. 177
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NFL Heads Into Final Weeks Of Season With TV Viewership Up 5%

Coming off a strong Thanksgiving weekend where all TV partners saw gains, overall NFL game viewership is up 5% heading into the final five weeks of the season compared to the same point in ’17. The health of star players, particularly at the QB position, has helped the NFL this season, as the league is on a record pace for points scored, TDs scored and TD passes. After a narrative of blowouts in recent seasons, this season also has seen 51 games decided by three points or less, which is tied with ’99 for the NFL record through Week 12.

NFL GAME VIEWERSHIP THROUGH WEEK 12
NETWORK(S)
'18 (000)
'17 (000)
% +/-
NBC*
19,620
18,254
+7%
Fox^
17,614
17,616
0%
CBS
16,578
15,739
+5%
Fox/NFL Net**
13,375
13,907
-4%
ESPN
11,765
10,713
+10%
NFL Net^^
6,495
6,316
+3%
NOTES: * = Includes NFL Kickoff and Thanksgiving primetime game. ^ = Sunday telecasts only, including morning game from London. ** = Thursday night games (Fox+NFL Net). Amazon streaming not included. Last season, "TNF" was mix of CBS/NBC for broadcast partner. ^^ = Mix of Thursday and Sunday morning windows.
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NFL Audience Through Week 12

NIGHT LIGHTS: NBC and ESPN continue to see strong gains for their Sunday and Monday night packages, respectively, while “TNF” on Fox/NFL Network is the only package seeing a decline to date (-4%). NBC is averaging 19.6 million viewers, which is the net’s best average since ’15 (23.3 million). There also are some strong matchups coming for “SNF,” including games with the Steelers, Rams, Chiefs, Bears and a to-be-determined game in Week 17. Meanwhile, ESPN (11.8 million viewers) also is having its best mark through Week 12 since ’15 (12.8 million viewers). On Thursday nights, the new combo of Fox/NFL Net is averaging 13.4 million viewers. That includes a historically weak audience in Week 7 for Broncos-Cardinals, but does not include tonight’s Saints-Cowboys game and Chargers-Chiefs to finish up Fox’ slate in Week 15. All three primetime packages also continue to win their respective nights on a consistent basis.

PLEASANT VALLEY SUNDAYS: For afternoon telecasts, CBS is up 5% for its games to date, while Fox is flat. CBS is up for all three of its windows on Sunday afternoons (regional, singleheader, national). “The NFL Today” pregame show on CBS also is seeing a 7% gain in the 12:00-1:00pm ET window. On Fox, the net’s national windows, while still the strongest individual window on all of TV, is dragging down the net’s average. Fox’ six national windows to date are down 8%, while its regional windows are up 3% and singleheaders are flat. “Fox NFL Sunday” and “Fox NFL Kickoff” also are seeing slight declines.