NFL games have been the most-watched TV programs across major networks since the 2020 season began on Sept. 10 as millions of fans have tuned in.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints game on Sept. 13, which was Tom Brady’s debut with the Bucs, was Fox’s most-watched season opener in four years. The game has the highest viewership of the season thus far with 26.3 million viewers, which is up 7% from last season’s game in the same slot per Nielsen Media Research.
Subsequently, Fox said that its regional broadcasts had their best performing Week 1 since 2016 as well, garnering 13.53 million viewers, up 6% from last year.
At the same time, the second most-viewed NFL game across the first two weeks of the 2020 season also came from Week 1. The NFL Kickoff game between the Super Bowl LIV champion Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans on Sept. 10 drew the largest prime-time audience for NBC since the Oscars, even though viewership was down compared to last year.
The game drew 20.6 million viewers, down 7.2% compared to the 22.2 million viewers who watched the 2019 NFL Kickoff game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears — the most watched season opener since 2016.
The NFL has dominated TV viewership since its return, showing how eager fans were for the season, but also that the league can continue to draw large audiences in the era of increased streaming .
But at the same time with the rise of streaming platforms, a successful NFL season will help networks from losing customers that may otherwise stop paying for traditional cable packages.