In a true bit of shocking news, Americans still love watching the NFL.
With the 2022 regular season wrapped, networks are announcing full season viewership totals, and the results are promising for CBS, Fox, and NBC.
We’ll start with CBS. Per their release, NFL coverage on CBS averaged 18.487 million viewers during the 2022 season. Not only was that up from 2021, it’s the most-watched season for CBS in seven years. The network also notes that its ten game of the week windows averaged 23.495 million viewers. While specific numbers weren’t mentioned, CBS touted double digit growth for streaming on Paramount+, noting that 2022 was its most-streamed regular season ever.
Pregame coverage on CBS as also up. The NFL Today averaged 3.345 million viewers, an 8% increase from last year and the show’s most-watched season in six years.
Next up is Fox and their bite-size tweet releases. Fox’s NFL package averaged 19.422 million viewers in 2022, representing its best year since 2016. The America’s Game of the Week package averaged 24.130 million viewers, its best mark since 2019.
In the pregame department, both of Fox’s shows were up. Fox NFL Kickoff averaged 1.304 million viewers, its best mark since 2019, and Fox NFL Sunday averaged 4.542 million viewers, also its best mark since 2019. Kickoff was up 9% from last year, and Sunday was up 2%.
NBC’s Sunday Night package also had a good year. The network announced an average of 19.9 million viewers using its Total Audience Delivery metric (which includes Peacock and other digital platforms), a 3% increase from last year and the package’s best mark since 2019. On Peacock and other digital platforms, the average minute audience over the course of the season was 1.17 million viewers, a 38% increase from last year and an all-time high.
Football Night in America also saw viewership rise. NBC’s pregame show averaged 7.24 million viewers, a 1% increase from a year ago.
ESPN has yet to issue a release regarding their viewership for Monday Night Football in 2022, but the Sports Business Journal reports that the package was down 5% on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2 this year to an average of 13.419 million viewers. These numbers are impacted by the Week 2 doubleheader which featured two games starting within an hour of each other and the cancellation of Week 17’s Bills-Bengals game midway through the first quarter, which averaged 23.794 million viewers during the brief time it was on the air.
SBJ also reports that NFL Network’s game viewership dropped in 2022 thanks to a prevalence of morning games from Europe. The league-owned network averaged 7.120 million viewers for its live games, down 16% from last year.
As discussed last week, Amazon’s debut season as an exclusive NFL broadcaster came with some growing pains. The streamer’s average audience for TNF on Prime Video and local networks in 2022 was 9.58 million (based on Nielsen’s calculations) or 11.3 million (based on Amazon’s metrics). Either way, the audience was down from TNF in 2021, which averaged 16.2 million viewers for Fox’s package, which also aired on NFL Network, Amazon, and local networks and included a Christmas Day game, or 13.335 million if you exclude the Saturday Christmas Day game and include the games that aired solely on NFL Network.