The weekend that marked the start of the NFL season ended with the second-highest ratings on television for Week 1 in the past five seasons.
The 16 matches averaged 17.4 million viewers on television and digital media. This represented an increase of 7% compared to last season (16.3 million) and almost the same figure as in 2019, when 17.6 million were averaged, the highest figure since 2017.
It seemed likely that the numbers would increase after the previous campaign, disputed during the pandemic. Empty stadiums gave the broadcasts an abnormal appearance and the habits of many viewers changed.
Also, the first half of the season was spent in the middle of the presidential campaign, when many people preferred to tune in to cable news channels.
NFL games were among the top six most viewed television broadcasts last week. Almost 23.2 million minutes viewed. It was week 1 with the most minutes since 2016.
The most watched game of the week was Thursday, a 31-29 victory for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Dallas Cowboys. It averaged 26.4 million on NBC and digital platforms, making it the most watched campaign opener since 2015.
NBC averaged $ 22.8 million for Thursday and Sunday matches, an 11% increase from last year.
ESPN and Nielsen reported that Monday’s game, played in overtime between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens, averaged 15.3 million on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. It’s the most-watched Monday night match of Week 1 since 2013, when Philadelphia and Washington averaged 16.5 million. This includes the 800,000 viewers of Mannings Megacast on ESPN2.
The league’s new broadcast agreement will start until 2023, but some of its signature elements began to be implemented, such as expanding the season from 17 to 18 games. This is the first year that both CBS and Fox have doubleheaded in Week 1.
CBS reported the highest viewership level for a Sunday game, with 19.54 million in the 4:25 pm (2025 GMT) game between the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs. It was also the second most watched match in the opening week since that network returned to broadcast matches in 1998.
The CBS doubleheader averaged 16.59 million, 21% more than last year. It was the first time CBS had a doubleheader in Week 1 since 2015. For many years, they couldn’t count on a doubleheader in the first week due to the US Open.
Fox, which broadcast the Green Bay and New Orleans game, averaged $ 16.25 million for the 4:25 pm window with $ 13.57 million for the doubleheader.
The NFL said Sunday’s late windows drew 6.3 million broadcast minutes, the highest record for Week 1 since these measurements began in 1988.