Thursday’s Las Vegas Raiders-Dallas Cowboys game drew incredible numbers for CBS. As per a release they put out, Nielsen fast nationals and their own out-of-home tracking numbers project an average audience of 38.531 million viewers, which would be the highest for a NFL regular-season game since 1990. Here’s their tweet on that:
The @NFLonCBS Thanksgiving Day Game Scores Big With Viewers, Projects as Most-Watched NFL-Regular Season Game on Any Network Since 1990
— CBS Sports PR (@CBSSportsGang) November 26, 2021
The release has more information on the Paramount+ record:
Paramount+, featuring live NFL ON CBS local market games, scored an NFL regular-season viewership record for total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers while registering triple-digit year-over-year growth in streaming minutes and unique viewers from Thanksgiving Day 2020.
The previous high-water TV-only mark for the NFL this season was an average of 28.1 million viewers for Cowboys-Chiefs on Fox last week, while the previous overall mark was Bucs-Patriots on NBC in October (28.5 million, counting TV and Peacock streaming). Back in September, the Cowboys were involved in another one of these high-water marks, pulling in 26 million for the NFL Kickoff Game against Tampa Bay (the highest number for a kickoff game since 2015) on NBC and Peacock. Per-team viewership numbers have long had the Cowboys at the top of the pack, and the Thanksgiving games regularly do very well, so it’s not surprising that this was the best number so far this season.
It’s more surprising that Raiders-Cowboys looks to be the most-watched regular-season game since 1990. But a close, high-scoring game (the Raiders won 36-33 in overtime on the Daniel Carlson field goal seen at top) certainly helps with that, even if this one was full of penalties. And that wound up producing excellent results for CBS.