The 2020 NFL regular season has come to an end, and viewership data for the final Sunday of the season is (as has been custom for most of the year) a mixed bag.
With both CBS and Fox having two Sunday windows, and NBC having their standard primetime window, comparisons are pretty easy this time around.
In the early window, CBS drew 13.136 million viewers, with most of the country getting Steelers-Browns. That’s up 5% from last year’s early window on CBS (12.53 million). Fox drew 13.920 million viewers for their early window (Giants-Cowboys to a huge swath of the nation), down 4% from last year (Packers-Lions, among others). In the early window, 27.056 million people watched the NFL on either Fox or CBS. Last year, 26.96 million people watched the window on the two networks. The increase for this year is less than one percent.
In the late window, CBS drew 13.513 million for its window (mostly Cardinals-Rams). That’s down 9% from last year (14.90 million viewers). Fox picked up 23.011 million viewers for its late window, which was highlighted by Packers-Bears. That’s up 10% from last year’s window (Redskins-Cowboys), which drew 21 million viewers. Overall in the late afternoon window, 36.524 million people watched the NFL on either CBS or Fox. Last year, 35.9 million people watched on either network in the window, which means 2% more watched this year.
In primetime, Washington-Philly drew just 16.547 million viewers on NBC. That’s down 28% from last year, when 49ers-Seahawks drew 22.85 million viewers.
And now, we head into the playoffs. Viewership comps will be somewhat difficult because of the two extra games and timeslots being swapped (for instance, the ESPN/ABC game will take place at 1 PM ET Sunday, as opposed to 4:30 PM ET Saturday), but we’ll get it done.