November 23, 2018

The NFL can give thanks to a ratings rebound on Turkey Day

The NFL has a lot to be thankful for this year as ratings for all three of Thursday's games experienced a boost in ratings compared to last Thanksgiving.

Overnight ratings for CBS's early afternoon game between the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions were up 11% from the early game on Fox last year; Fox's late afternoon game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins was up 14% from the afternoon game on CBS last year; and NBC's prime time game between the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons was up 18%.

Viewership for last Thanksgiving's match-ups fell by a combined average of roughly 19% from the year before.

2018 has been strong season for the NFL and its broadcast partners. The league's ratings, which experienced declines the past few seasons, is up about 4% overall from last year.

The ratings rebound this season can be credited to high scoring and close games. The correlation between big numbers and big ratings was apparent when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Kansas City Chiefs 54 to 51 on Monday night. Ratings for that game were up more than 57% from last year's week 11 match-up.

Thursday's numbers were even more impressive considering the games weren't exceptionally competitive. The Saints beat the Falcons 31 to 17 on Thursday night.

The NFL's viewership could continue to see solid gains over last year as the league wraps up the 2018 season and as the playoffs approach.

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