The National Football League won the best television rating in six years for the 2021-2022 season, which has increased due to an extra week of games and many nail bites.
According to Nielsen, the league’s 272 regular-season games averaged 17.1 million spectators, up 10 percent from the 2020-2021 season, the best number since 2015.
The regular season, which has been extended from 16 games in previous years to 17 games, has been rich in close games and a few shots. According to the NFL, 64 percent of all games this season were within one point in the fourth quarter.
According to Nielsen, NFL games ranked in the top 16 and made 91 of the top 100 TV shows of the season. The Dallas Cowboys rose in the rankings as the team played in five of the 10 most watched games, including a Thanksgiving game against the Las Vegas Raiders, which averaged 40.8 million viewers.
It was the most watched regular season game in any industry in 31 years and was one of only two games with an average of no less than 40 million since 1988, the rating agency said.
After a year of sluggish advertising and low viewership, TV rights holders have gained much-needed power. NBC’s regular season set, which consists mainly of Sunday night games, averaged 19.3 million viewers on TV and digital platforms, up 11 percent from the previous season.
Fox’s NFL national and regional coverage averaged 18.6 million viewers on Sunday afternoon, up 2 percent from last season. National games on Fox averaged 23.1 million viewers, while ViacomCBS’s CBS averaged 18 million viewers, an increase of 9 percent.
Meanwhile, Disney’s ESPN channel, which has football rights on Monday night, averaged 14.2 million viewers, up 16 percent from last season. Thursday night’s games, hosted by Fox and the NFL Network and streamed through Amazon Prime, garnered an average of 16.4 million viewers, an increase of 16 percent.
Next season, Amazon will become the exclusive media outlet for most of Thursday’s games.
The recovery came a year after a coronavirus pandemic was announced, which led to the emptiness of stadiums and many games being held because players were infected with the virus. The previous year was the season of presidential elections, which created serious competition for cable news networks.
The pandemic has also spread this season as the highly contagious Omicron variant began to spread across the country. Many players missed games and some games were changed at the end of the season. Nevertheless, the NFL was able to limit COVID-19 interruptions.