As CBS has finished its part of the Thursday Night Football schedule, its seven games aired on broadcast television have to be considered a success. While TNF’s ratings and viewership did not reach Sunday Night Football levels, they were above Monday Night Football and were the second highest viewership of the primetime packages.
Through seven games, CBS and NFL Network averaged a 10.3 rating and 18 share. When NFL Network aired the games exclusively, that number was 5.3/9. Viewership on the CBS/NFL simulcast averaged 16.5 million and that’s almost double from the 8.5 million which watched through seven games on NFL Network last season.
The two most-watched games on CBS/NFLN were the season premiere between Pittsburgh at Baltimore which kicked off the season with a 12.7/22 and 20.8 million viewers, and the last TNF game for CBS which was San Diego-Denver at 12.3/21 and 20.19 million viewers.
Compared to NBC’s Sunday Night Football, the average for the NFL’s premier primetime package through Week 7 is a 13.0 rating and 22.1 million viewers.
For Monday Night Football, its average is an 8.3 rating and 13.35 million viewers.
CBS has to be pleased with its numbers. Compared to last year when it carried a lineup anchored by the Big Bang Theory, its viewership in primetime is up 81% and ratings up 77%. As the NFL has an option to pick up another season of the CBS/NFL Network marriage, one would have to expect the Tiffany Network to lobby the league to continue the relationship in the 2015 season. While five of the seven games carried by CBS were blowouts, the network continues to be bullish on the NFL and knows it won’t match TNF’s numbers when sitcoms and dramas return to the lineup this Thursday.
CBS does have one more game in this particular package, but it won’t be until Week 16 when it will air either San Diego at San Francisco or Philadelphia at Washington on Saturday, December 20. That’s right, we get a rare Saturday night game, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get closer to that date.