Monday December 4, 2023

Fox Sets Record for Most-Watched Regular-Season NFL Game

  • Cowboys-Giants draws 42 million viewers on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Fox is televising NFL, World Cup, and college football this weekend.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott hugs running back Ezekiel Elliot during NFL game
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Fox Sports set a new TV record by drawing a monster 42 million viewers for its Thanksgiving Day broadcast of Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants.

Fox said the 42 million viewers for its late afternoon telecast of the Cowboys’ 28-20 win over the Giants in Dallas was the most-watched regular-season NFL game on any network on record.

Thursday’s game topped the long-time record-holder, a Monday Night Football clash between the Giants and San Francisco 49ers, on Dec. 3, 1990.

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The viewership was up 3% from last season’s comparable game window — and 49% from Fox’s game last year.

  • The Cowboys are the unquestioned No. 1 TV draw in the NFL: Their Thanksgiving Day game against the Las Vegas Raiders was the most-watched game of the 2021 regular season, averaging 38.5 million viewers, and they played in five of the 10-most-watched games in the 2021 season.
  • Meanwhile, New York is the nation’s largest TV market. The Giants have only posted two winning seasons over the last decade, but new coach Brian’s Daboll has a resurgent 7-4 team in the playoff hunt.

Fox wasn’t the only big winner on Thursday: CBS Sports said its telecast of the Buffalo Bills’ 28-25 win over the Detroit Lions was the most-watched early Thanksgiving Day broadcast of any network on record. 

The game averaged 31,627,000 million viewers, up 12% from last year’s comparable window, and peaked at 41,981,000 viewers.

Fox is poised to own the extended Thanksgiving TV weekend with Thursday’s Cowboys-Giants, Black Friday’s World Cup match between USA and England from Qatar, Saturday’s college football showdown between Ohio State and Michigan, then a full slate of NFL games on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the NFL said it was the most-watched Thanksgiving Day ever.

The league’s total unduplicated audience across three games — Cowboys-Giants, Bills-Lions and New England Patriots-Minnesota Vikings — was 138 million.

The average viewership across three games was 33.5 million for TV/Digital. That’s the highest on record — and up 6% from 2021.

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