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Sunday, June 16, 2024

NFL Dominates Christmas Viewership, Far Outpacing NBA

  • The NFL's three games on Christmas Day averaged 22.9M viewers as NBA's five-game slate averaged 4.27M.
  • Fox's Eagles-Cowboys game was most-watched Christmas Eve game in at least two decades.
Dallas Cowboys receivers celebrate while heading into tunnel
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles-Cowboys NFC East showdown lured in the most viewers for a Christmas Eve game in at least two decades, and Christmas Day wasn’t too shabby for the NFL, either. 

For the last 75 years, Christmas Day has been an NBA tradition. But the NFL scheduled a triple-header on the holiday and dominated the ratings on Sunday.

In total, the three NFL Christmas Day broadcasts averaged 22.9 million viewers, an increase of 14.5% from last year’s doubleheader. The NBA’s five-game Christmas Day broadcasts on ABC and ESPN averaged 4.27 million viewers, a 5% bump from last year. 

Fox’s Christmas Day broadcast of the Packers’ victory over the Dolphins averaged 25.9 million viewers, which makes it the second-most watched Dec. 25th game since at least 2000, according to Sports Media Watch. 

The NFL had two other games on Christmas Day:  

  • Broncos-Rams on CBS and Nickelodeon averaged 22.6 million viewers combined.
  • Buccaneers-Cardinals on NBC averaged 17.1 million viewers.

Holiday Feast

The NFL averaged 44.1 million viewers on Thanksgiving Day, which grew 31% from the initial numbers released as out-of-home viewing were revised after a Nielsen-NFL study. Nielsen began estimating out-of-home viewing in 2020. 

An estimated 27.8 million viewers watched the Cowboy’s win over the Giants on Fox, a 15% improvement over the same Christmas Eve window in 2021. NFL Network’s Raiders-Steelers primetime broadcast on Saturday averaged 10.94 million viewers.

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