The Super Bowl LIV celebration. Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL remains supreme on the television front as they dominate the list of the most-watched TV broadcasts of 2020. According to Anthony Crupi of Sportico, the NFL has 69 of the top 100 most-watched broadcasts of the year with one week left.

Obviously, the Super Bowl (99.9 million viewers) retained its top spot as it does every year, but in between the Super Bowl and the two conference championship games were three debates from the 2020 presidential election. The first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden got 73.1 million while the second debate got 63.0 million. The lone VP debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris got 57.9 million viewers.

One thing you won’t see in the top 100 is non-football sports. No other sport made the top 100. In fact, Crupi extended the list past the top 100 and the first sporting event that wasn’t football was Game 6 of the World Series at No. 114, which did four spots better than the National Dog Show.

College football was represented in the top 100 but didn’t hold a candle to the NFL. Three broadcasts reached the top 100 including the College Football Playoff National Championship, which was ranked 18th (25.6 million) while the Rose Bowl was 66th (16.3 million) and the Citrus Bowl was 96th (14.0 million).

It’s important to note that the table only counts broadcasts up to December 25 so there’s a good chance that programs within the bottom 10 are in danger of dropping out of the top 100 in favor of more NFL broadcasts. So the NFL is likely to be more dominant once the final week of broadcasts is factored in. That means the lone scripted series on the list, the March 31 episode of NCIS (13.6 million viewers) is likely to be booted from its 96th spot.

The entire list is an interesting look at what people have watched over the past year. Multiple episodes of 60 Minutes appear along with the post-Super Bowl episode of The Masked Singer (22nd, 23.7 million). The major entertainment awards shows were represented along with presidential convention coverage, and three episodes of the Jeopardy: Greatest of All Time tournament.

As of December 25, this is the breakdown of programming included within the top 100 TV broadcasts:

Football (NFL/college) – 72
Presidential election/news programs – 18
Reality competition/game shows – 4
Award shows – 3
Parades/concerts – 2
Scripted series – 1


About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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