- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
The NFL racked up big audiences on Christmas Day, with an afternoon game on Fox and NFL Network drawing the league’s second biggest viewership of the season. A primetime contest exclusive to NFL Network scored the second largest audience in its history.
The big numbers for football helped push down the NBA’s Christmas showcase, but the three games on ABC had very consistent viewership.
The Fox/NFL Network broadcast of the Green Bay Packers’ win over the Cleveland Browns delivered 28.59 million viewers, trailing only Fox’s Thanksgiving game (37.84 million) this season and marking the most watched Christmas Day broadcast this century. Though it aired on a Saturday, the game was part of the Thursday Night Football banner — marking the last time TNF will be carried nationally on an over-the-air network. Amazon has rights to the Thursday franchise starting next season (games will also air on local stations in teams’ home markets).
In primetime, the NFL Network gathered 12.62 million viewers for the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals. That’s behind only a Christmas Day game in 2016 for the biggest viewership ever on the network.
The NBA got steady numbers for three games on ABC on Christmas. A primetime matchup between the L.A. Lakers and Brooklyn Nets averaged 5.75 million viewers (including an ESPN simulcast), down from 7 million a year ago (which didn’t have any NFL competition). The Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns drew 5.19 million viewers in the late afternoon, up from 4.28 million in the same window a year ago. At 2:30 p.m. ET, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics averaged 4.93 million, up slightly from 4.79 million last year.
ESPN also had two NBA games Saturday: Atlanta Hawks-New York Knicks at noon ET (2.92 million viewers) and Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz at 10:45 p.m. ET (1.52 million).
On Sunday, the NFL dominated again with CBS’ late afternoon broadcast averaging 24.16 million viewers and NBC’s Sunday Night Football bringing in 17.28 million. Yellowstone (7.48 million viewers, plus 835,000 more on CMT) continued its big fourth season on Paramount Network and delivered another strong lead-in for prequel 1883 (4.31 million on Paramount Net, 545,000 on CMT).
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day