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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Despite Lopsided Thanksgiving Games, NFL Continues Its TV Dominance

  • The Cowboys drew a huge audience on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The NFL had its first-ever game broadcast on Black Friday as well.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Food, family, and football. 

That’s the NFL’s motto for Thanksgiving, and it lived up to the hype for the 2023 edition of the holiday.

The Dallas Cowboys’ dominating 45-10 victory over the Washington Commanders on Thanksgiving Day certainly grabbed the attention of American football fans, drawing 41.4 million viewers on CBS. That makes Thursday’s matchup the third-most-watched regular-season game in NFL history. It’s the most-watched telecast of any kind since Super Bowl LVII in February.

The figure falls behind the 42 million viewers that tuned in last Thanksgiving for the Cowboys’ 28-20 win over the New York Giants and a Giants-San Francisco 49ers matchup that drew 41.6 million viewers in 1990.

On Thursday night, the 49ers’ 31-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks drew 26.9 million viewers across NBC, Peacock, Telemundo, Universo, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms. It was the second-most watched Thanksgiving primetime game ever, just behind the 27.8 million viewers for a Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers game in 2015.

The Cowboys’ 35-point win over the Commanders was the most-streamed NFL game ever for Paramount+, and 49ers-Seahawks was the most-streamed NFL Thanksgiving night game ever, on Peacock. Fox viewership for the Packers’ 29-22 upset of the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving has not been released.

The NFL Goes Shopping

The NFL action continued with the first-ever Black Friday game on Amazon Prime Video, in which the Miami Dolphins took down the New York Jets 34-13. Viewership has not been released, but “Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video has averaged 12.27 million viewers.

Amazon paid the NFL $100 million for the rights to the Black Friday game, which was a look into the future of shopping during sports broadcasts. QR codes were rampant on-screen during the game broadcast, and ad breaks as Amazon and other brands looked to capitalize on the biggest shopping day of the year.

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