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The Thanksgiving game between the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders drew the largest audience for a regular season NFL contest in almost 30 years. Fox also scored big with both football and soccer on Thursday, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was on par with last year for NBC.
The late afternoon game averaged some 37.84 million viewers for CBS, a 23 percent jump over the same broadcast window last year on Fox. That’s the biggest tune-in for any NFL regular season game since 38.4 million people watched the Cowboys and Miami Dolphins on Thanksgiving in 1993. (The final Nielsen viewer figure is a little bit below CBS’ early estimate of 38.5 million.)
Fox’s early NFL game (Detroit Lions-Chicago Bears) averaged 26.75 million viewers, a 14 percent improvement over the same broadcast window in 2020. Following that, a Major League Soccer playoff game averaged 1.85 million viewers for the networks, making it the most watched MLS match (excluding all-star games and MLS Cup finals) on English language TV since 2004 and the most watched ever on Fox. It drew about 6 times the league’s average (285,000) across all its broadcast partners this season.
At NBC, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade brought in 22.05 million viewers, in line with the 21.98 million who watched in 2020. An afternoon encore pushed the parade’s total audience above 25 million — making it the most watched entertainment program since last year’s parade. The National Dog Show drew 11.36 million viewers for NBC, down about 7 percent from 12.27 million last year.
In primetime, NBC’s NFL broadcast (Buffalo Bills-New Orleans Saints) came in at 19.38 million viewers, down 7 percent from its 2019 game (20.81 million). Last year’s primetime contest was postponed due to COVID protocols.
Bookmark THR.com/Ratings for more ratings news and numbers.
Nov. 30, 11:12 a.m. Due to a labeling error on ratings charts, an earlier version of this story misstated the audience for Fox’s MLS game.
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