FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018
THE HISTORY OF THE NFL ON NBC
1939 – NBC broadcasts the first-ever NFL game on network television to the approximately 1,000 sets in New York City, a contest between the Philadelphia Eagles and Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field.
1955 – NBC replaces DuMont as the network for the NFL title game, paying a rights fee of $100,000.
1961 – NBC awarded a two-year contract for radio and television rights to the NFL Championship Game for $615,000 annually.
A bill legalizing single-network television contracts by professional sports leagues is introduced in Congress by Rep. Emanuel Celler. It passes the House and Senate and is signed into law by President John F. Kennedy.
1963 – NBC awarded exclusive network broadcasting rights for the 1963 AFL Championship Game for $926,000.
1964 – The AFL signs a five-year, $36-million television contract with NBC to begin with the 1965 season.
1966 – The rights to the Super Bowl for four years are sold to CBS and NBC for $9.5 million.
1970 – Four-year television contracts, under which CBS would televise all NFC games and NBC all AFC games (except Monday night games) and the two would divide televising the Super Bowl and AFC-NFC Pro Bowl games, announced.
1977 – NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle negotiates contracts with the three television networks to televise all NFL regular-season and postseason games, plus selected preseason games, for four years beginning with the 1978 season. NBC received the rights to all AFC regular-season and postseason games (except those in the ABC Monday Night package) and to Super Bowls XIII and XV. Industry sources considered it the largest single television package ever negotiated.
1982 – The NFL signs a five-year contract with the three television networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) to televise all NFL regular-season and postseason games starting with the 1982 season.
1986 – Chicago defeats New England 46-10 in Super Bowl XX on Jan. 26. The NBC telecast replaces the final episode of M*A*S*H as the most-viewed television program in history, with an audience of 127 million viewers, according to Nielsen figures, in addition to drawing a 48.3 rating and a 70 share.
1987 – New three-year TV contracts with ABC, CBS, and NBC are announced for 1987-89 at the NFL annual meeting in Maui, Hawaii.
1990 – New four-year TV agreements are ratified for 1990-93 for ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, and TNT at the NFL annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. The contracts totaled $3.6 billion, the largest in TV history.
1998 – NBC ends a 33-year relationship with professional football declining to bid for the AFC package.
2005 – NBC is awarded the rights to the NFL’s Sunday Night primetime package, which includes the 2009 and 2012 Super Bowls. Flexible scheduling is offered for the first time. The NFL in primetime (ABC’s Monday Night Football concluded its 36th and final season in 2005) is the second longest-running network primetime show in history behind 60 Minutes.
2006 – NBC returns to the NFL, broadcasting its first NFL regular season game since 1997, the Thursday Night season opener between the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins. That Sunday night, “NBC Sunday Night Football” makes its debut, as Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts meet Eli’s New York Giants in the “Manning Bowl.”
2007 – “Sunday Night Football” leads NBC to primetime wins in 11 of 16 Sunday nights.
2008 – “Sunday Night Football” leads NBC to primetime wins in 13 of 16 Sunday nights, is the No. 1 program of the season among the coveted 18-49 demographic and is the No. 1 program during November sweeps. Additionally, Week 15 Giants-Cowboys game draws 23.1 million viewers, the most ever for a “Sunday Night Football” game.
2009 – “Sunday Night Football” leads NBC to primetime wins in 15 of 16 Sunday nights, is the No. 1 program of the primetime television season among the coveted 18-49 demographic and is the second most-watched show in primetime.
Super Bowl XLIII is seen by a then-record 98.7 million viewers.
NFL and NBC agree to extension through 2013 season.
2010 – “Sunday Night Football” averaged 21.8 million viewers, ending the fall television season and the most-watched show in primetime, the first time on record (since the advent of people meters in 1987) that a sports series has been the most-watched show from the start of the primetime TV season to the end of the NFL regular season, and defeated its nightly competition every week.
2011 – The NFL and NBC agree on a landmark nine-year media rights extension making NBC the home of “Sunday Night Football” through the 2022 season. The agreement also includes the addition of a Thanksgiving night game, three Super Bowls, a Wild Card and Divisional Round playoff game, enhanced flex scheduling, Spanish-language rights, increased digital rights and increased use of NFL and NFL Films footage.
“Sunday Night Football” averaged 21.5 million viewers and became the first sports series to rank as primetime’s No. 1 TV show in the full (Sept.-May) television season. In addition, 13 NBC primetime NFL games surpassed 20 million viewers, the most in the six-year “Sunday Night Football” history.
The critically acclaimed “Football Night in America,” the most-watched sports studio show on television, had its best season ever, averaging a record 8.9 million viewers.
NBC’s telecast of Super Bowl XLVI (Giants defeated Patriots) averaged 111.3 million viewers to rank as the most-watched program in U.S. television history.
2012 – “Sunday Night Football” averaged 21.4 million viewers and ranked as primetime TV’s No. 1 show for the second consecutive full (Sept.-May) television season.
The Week 17 Cowboys-Redskins “Sunday Night Football” game on NBC ranked as the most-watched and highest-rated NFL regular-season primetime game ever on NBC and the most-watched NFL regular-season primetime game on any network in 16 years.
2013 – Carrie Underwood’s performance of “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night” debuts on NBC’s Kickoff Weekend “Sunday Night Football” telecast. The “Sunday Night Football” bus is introduced.
“Sunday Night Football” averaged 21.7 million viewers to rank as primetime TV’s No. 1 show for the third consecutive full (Sept.-May) television season. “SNF” averaged more than 21 million viewers for the fourth consecutive year, marking the first such four-year stretch for the NFL primetime package since 1993-96.
Six NBC NFL telecasts averaged at least 25 million viewers – the most in a season since the “SNF” package debuted on NBC in 2006 and the first time since 2005 that any fall primetime show had six episodes topping 25 million viewers in the Sept. 1-Dec. 31 time period (“Desperate Housewives” and “CSI”).
NBC “Wild Card Saturday” was the most-watched Wild Card Saturday ever, averaging 30.8 million viewers.
2014 – Despite the most-lopsided games since NBC acquired the NFL primetime package in 2006 (average victory margin of 18.3 points), “Sunday Night Football” averaged 21.3 million viewers – ranking as primetime TV’s No. 1 show for the full (Sept.-May) television season for the fourth consecutive year.
NBC televised its first NFL Divisional Playoff Game in 17 years, averaging 34.0 million viewers for Ravens-Patriots which ranks as the third-most watched Saturday AFC Divisional game on record.
2015 – In its 10th season on NBC, “Sunday Night Football” averaged 22.5 million viewers, the best ever for SNF on NBC and the highest for the NFL’s premier primetime package in 19 years (22.7 million for ABC in 1996).
NBC’s telecast of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015 — the thrilling four-point New England Patriots victory over the Seattle Seahawks – averaged 114.4 million viewers to rank as the most-watched show in U.S. TV history. NBC earned the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Live Sports Special for its Super Bowl XLIX broadcast. NBC has earned the Sports Emmy for its past three Super Bowl productions (XLVI and XLII).
2016 – NBC becomes the first network to present multiple primetime NFL packages in the same season. NBC Sports Group’s “Thursday Night Football” package – for the 2016 and 2017 NFL Seasons — features five new Thursday night games on NBC.
The 2016 season of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was a historic one, as America’s favorite primetime show finished as primetime’s #1 TV show in all key metrics for a record sixth consecutive year – tying American Idol for the most consecutive years atop the charts (since 1950), based on live plus same day data provided by The Nielsen Company.
NBC/NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football,” featuring the SNF team of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in the booth, with Executive Producer Fred Gaudelli and director Drew Esocoff in the truck, ranked as primetime TV’s #2 show with an average of 17.0 million viewers, behind only NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”
The Dec. 11 “Sunday Night Football” broadcast of Cowboys-Giants posted a season-high “Total Audience Delivery” average of 26.7 million viewers. The Dec. 1 Dallas Cowboys-Minnesota Vikings game averaged 21.8 million TV-only viewers on NBC and NFL Network – the best-ever viewership for “Thursday Night Football.”
Seven-time Grammy Award-winner and multi-platinum recording artist Carrie Underwood recorded a new opening theme song for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” entitled “Oh, Sunday Night.”
2017 – NBC concluded its 12th season of “Sunday Night Football” with its most-dominant performance ever in average viewership and household rating vs. its competition, while pacing to finish as primetime’s #1 TV show in all key metrics for a record seventh consecutive year – which will break its tie with “American Idol” for the most consecutive years atop the charts (since 1950), based on live plus same day data provided by The Nielsen Company.
NBC’s “Football Night in America” is Sports #1 Weekly Studio Show for 12th Consecutive Year.
NBC “Sunday Night Football’s” 2017 season was its most dominant ever in average viewership (+29%) and household rating (+20%) as compared to primetime’s #2 show, and the most dominant since 2012 in the advertiser-coveted Adult 18-49 demo (+36%).
NBC “Sunday Night Football” introduced “dual” SkyCams during the Oct. 22, 2017 Super Bowl LI rematch between New England and Atlanta. Providing overhead views from multiple heights and positions, the traditional SkyCam shot came from a camera positioned 12 to 40 feet above the field, while the special second SkyCam hovered 40 to 80 feet above the action, offering a birds-eye, wide-angle view of the action. Fog rolled into Gillette Stadium late in the first half and SkyCam technology provided the best camera angles to offer consistent and clear views of the live action.
NBC uses SkyCam system as the new primary-viewing angle for its coverage of Thursday Night Football on Thursday, November 16 (Tennessee at Pittsburgh).
NBC Sports Digital set season SNF records as 6.9 million unique users (up 12% from 6.1 million in ’16) consumed 689 million live streaming minutes (up 13% from 612 million) across NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, and NFL Mobile from Verizon. The 689 million minutes total to date exceeds all prior full seasons of NFL games on NBC, which included playoff games and two Super Bowls. This year’s total is more impressive considering that there is no Week 17 SNF game this season.
NBCUniversal acquired rights from the National Football League to stream “Sunday Night Football” through NBC’s TV Everywhere offering on all mobile devices beginning with the 2018 season.