With election coverage dragging into Thursday (and still into Friday as I type this), Thursday Night Football didn’t get the viewership bump that the NFL and Fox may have expected. The game itself didn’t help matters, either.
The Green Bay Packers’ 34-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers drew 13.169 million viewers on Fox and NFL Network, per ShowBuzz Daily. That’s down roughly 6% from the 14 million that tuned in to 49ers-Cardinals a year ago.
Naturally, the continuing election coverage didn’t help TNF. 47 of the top 50 cable programs (including the top 24) on Thursday were news programs, while the other three were this game, its pregame show, and its post-game show on NFL Network. Additionally, ABC and CBS also aired new original (non-news!) programming in primetime, drawing at least some more eyeballs away.
And then there’s the game itself. The 49ers had a number of players out injured, including starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle, and the game wasn’t expected to be competitive. Sure enough, the Packers never trailed, were up 21-3 at halftime, and a whole bunch of TV probably starting clicking over to other options by then.
Week 9 continues along on Sunday with (for now) a full slate of games. The Bucs-Saints Sunday Night Football matchup looks like a winner for NBC, but the Patriots-Jets Monday Night Football game might be hard to watch.