NFL Network has announced its live preseason schedule for 2017 and it’s hoping to improve on its viewership from last season when it averaged 1.1 million viewers for 17-game live schedule. NFL Network will air all 65 preseason games, but most will be on tape delay. Last year’s viewership was strong even though many games aired opposite the Rio Olympics. In addition, none of the games aired in the home markets so the numbers come off quite strongly.
Sports Business Journal notes that NFL Network’s 2016 preseason viewership is close to ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball 2016 average of 1.6 million viewers. And last year, eleven games drew more than 1 million viewers while ten of NFL Network’s 13 live games in 2015 had more than one million viewers.
This year’s preseason schedule is frontloaded with seven games in Week 1 and another six in Week 2 with three in Weeks 3 and 4. Included in the schedule is the first national appearance of the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1, two appearances each by Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and three by Seattle.
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Here’s the preseason schedule and as usual, all times are Eastern:
Wednesday, August 9 — Houston vs. Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 10 — Denver vs. Chicago, 8 p.m.
Friday, August 11 — Pittsburgh vs. New York Giants, 7 p.m.
Friday, August 11 — San Francisco vs. Kansas City, 10 p.m. (joined in progress)
Saturday, August 12 — Dallas vs. Los Angeles Rams, 9 p.m.
Sunday, August 13 — Detroit vs. Indianapolis, 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 13 — Seattle vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 8 p.m.
Friday, August 18 — Minnesota vs. Seattle, 10 p.m.
Saturday, August 19 — Carolina vs. Tennessee, 3 p.m.
Saturday, August 19 — Indianapolis vs. Dallas, 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 19 — Denver vs. San Francisco, 10 p.m.
Sunday, August 20 — Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh, 4 p.m.
Sunday, August 20 — New Orleans vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 8 p.m.
Thursday, August 24 — Miami vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Thursday, August 31 — Philadelphia vs. New York Jets, 7 p.m.
Thursday, August 31 — Seattle vs. Oakland, 10 p.m.
Without the Olympics this year, NFL Network can expect an even stronger viewership and with 13 games in the first half of the preseason, it will be the one-stop shopping destination for fans who are jonesing for football in August.