Fox and CBS Score Best NFL Sunday Viewership Since 2016

All of the league’s broadcast partners have posted multi-year highs

Last Updated: December 31, 2019 @ 12:28 PM

The strong ratings season for the NFL continues. Both Fox and CBS notched their best viewership for Sunday afternoon coverage since 2016.

Fox averaged 19.2 million viewers on Sundays this year, an increase of 7% from last year, while CBS improved by 4% to draw 17.2 million viewers in 2019.

For Fox, “America’s Game of the Week”-branded matchups drew 24.4 million viewers, ranking as the top show on TV (for any daypart) for the 11th consecutive season and its highest-rated NFL franchise for the 19th straight year. “America’s Game of the Week” is Fox’s late-afternoon games that air to a mostly national audience. “America’s Game of the Week” was up 10%, while Fox’s other regional-based games averaged 14.2 million viewers, up 4% vs last year. CBS had the most-watched game of the year with the Thanksgiving Day matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys, which drew 32.64 million viewers.

With an average audience of just over 5 million, Fox’s pre-game show “Fox NFL Sunday” saw a viewership increase of 6% compared to last year, ranking as the No. 1 NFL pregame show in its time slot, and marking the show’s best performance in four years.

Across digital platforms, NFL on Fox had its best regular season ever, with the streaming audience growing +57% over last year, and the top-performing game (Cowboys-Patriots) drawing 564,000 viewers.

Following a few years of audience declines, the NFL has now put together two strong years of ratings growth. “Thursday Night Football” has grown its audience in each of its first two years on Fox, while “Monday Night Football” and “Sunday Night Football” both had their best seasons since 2015.

The NFL now shifts towards the playoffs, with wildcard weekend — featuring the New England Patriots for the first time since 2009 — kicking off this weekend. All four of the NFL’s broadcast partners will air one game.

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