Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season ahs come and gone, and the league is looking at another strong slate of Sunday afternoon windows, though the primetime windows struggled.
CBS had the singleheader in Week 8, and the window highlighted by Steelers-Ravens drew 18.65 million viewers. That’s up 7% from last year’s singleheader on Fox, which drew 17.41 million for Eagles-Bills and Panthers-49ers (among others).
The doubleheader was on Fox this Sunday. The early half, with more than half the country getting Vikings-Packers, drew 12.305 million viewers. That’s an increase of 2% from the early half of last year’s doubleheader, a window featuring Cardinals-Saints and Broncos-Colts on CBS, which drew 12.10 million viewers. The second half of the doubleheader, Saints-Bears to most of the country, drew 22.773 million viewers. That’s an increase of 8% from last year’s late doubleheader window, Browns-Patriots on CBS, which drew 21.03 million viewers.
Sunday Night Football on NBC was an expected disappointment. Cowboys-Eagles had far less luster than in previous years, and drew just 16.933 million viewers. That’s down 8% from Packers-Chiefs a year ago.
Closing with Monday Night Football on ESPN, Bucs-Giants drew 11.703 million viewers, up 17% from last year’s Dolphins-Steelers matchup (9.98 million viewers).
On Thursday, Panthers-Falcons drew 11.681 million viewers between Fox and NFL Network, down 13% from Redskins-Vikings last season (13.48 million viewers).
After sizeable decreases in the first quarter of this season, we’re starting to see those decreases shrink and/or turn into decreases. At least two of the three Sunday afternoon windows have seen increases over the last three weeks of the season, with all three windows going up this week for the first time all season.
However, Sunday Night Football has been down in all but one week this season (and back in Week 2, Patriots-Seahawks was up less than a percent), Thursday Night Football has been down in all but two weeks (Week 2 was up 1%, and Week 5 was up 2%), and Monday Night Football has also been up in three of its nine windows (the Week 2 Megacast was up 32%, Week 3 was also up 32%, and Week 8 was up 17%).
As we head into Week 9, I’m wondering if we’ll see the post-election bump that many are expecting. The matchups also seem better this week. Thursday Night Football pits the 49ers against the Packers, and will be compared to 49ers-Cardinals from a year ago. Sunday Night Football is a ridiculous looking Saints-Bucs game that should do quite well for NBC, and will be compared to Patriots-Ravens from last season. Monday Night Football looks like a dud with Patriots-Jets, comped with Cowboys-Giants a year ago. As for the Sunday afternoon windows, CBS has the doubleheader this week with Ravens-Colts (for now) in the early window and Steelers-Cowboys (which should draw bonkers viewership, Dallas struggles aside) in the late window. Fox has the singleheader, highlighted by Seahawks-Bills, Bears-Titans, and Panthers-Chiefs.