Wednesday, January 4th, 2017


Sunday Night Football’s TV-Only Average of 20.3 Million Viewers Tops All Other Primetime Shows in Live+Same Day AND Time-Shifted Viewing

SNF Wins Adult 18-49 Demo for 9th Consecutive Fall Season

NBC’s Football Night in America is Sports’ #1 Weekly Studio Show for 11th Consecutive Year

NBC’s SNF & NBC/NFLN TNF Are Only Primetime Shows Averaging 10.0+ US HH Rating & 5.0+ Rating among Adults 18-49

NBC/NFL Network Thursday Night Football Finishes Season as Primetime’s #2 Fall TV Show

NBC Sports Digital’s SNF Streaming Tops All Prior Full Seasons of NFL Games on NBC

STAMFORD, Conn. – Jan. 4, 2017 – The 2016 season of NBC’s Sunday Night Football was a historic one, as America’s favorite primetime show is pacing to finish 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.

 Most Consecutive Years, #1 Ranked Show in Primetime, Since 1950

         6 years in a row – Sunday Night Football (2011-12 through 2016-17; on pace)

         6 years in a rowAmerican Idol (2005-06 through 2010-11)

         5 years in a rowThe Cosby Show (1985-86 through 1989-90)…tied Cheers in ‘89-90

         5 years in a rowAll in the Family (1971-72 through 1975-76)

         4 years in a rowGunsmoke (1957-58 through 1960-61)


Sunday Night Football’s live+same day average of 20.3 million viewers per telecast exceeds the time-shifted (live+7) viewership of all other primetime shows – none of them topped the 20 million mark (chart below). So despite big DVR bumps for those other primetime shows, Sunday Night Football still comes out on top!

Sunday Night Football (Live+Same Day) vs. Primetime (Live+7)

Series Average Viewership Metric
NBC Sunday Night Football 20.3 million Live + Same Day*
Big Bang Theory 20.0 million Live + 7**
NCIS 18.7 million Live + 7**
NBC/NFLN Thursday Night Football 17.0 million Live + Same Day*
The Walking Dead 16.9 million Live + 7**

*Live + Same Day Viewing, 9/8/16-1/1/17

** Live + 7 Viewing, 9/8/16-12/18/16; Excludes Repeats (NOTE: These shows were in holiday repeat post-12/18/16, so #s will not change)

Source: The Nielsen Company; regularly-scheduled programs


NBC’s Sunday Night Football averaged 20.3 million viewers in 2016 – outpacing the top scripted series (NCIS) by 36% in the fall (chart below).

Top Fall 2016 Primetime Programs, Viewership

Program Avg. Viewers SNF Advantage
Sunday Night Football 20.3 million
NBC Thursday Night Football* 17.0 million 19%
NCIS 14.9 million 36%
CBS Thursday Night Football** 14.7 million 38%
Big Bang Theory 14.6 million 39%

(Source: The Nielsen Company, Live + Same Day Viewing, Sept.8, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017; regularly-scheduled programs)

*5 NBC/NFLN telecasts; **5 CBS/NFLN telecasts


SNF averaged an 11.4/20 – easily topping the highest-rated scripted series (NCIS), with a 25% margin (chart below).

Top Fall 2016 Primetime Programs, U.S. HH Rating

Program U.S. HH Rating SNF Advantage
Sunday Night Football 11.4
NBC Thursday Night Football* 10.2 12%
NCIS 9.1 25%
CBS Thursday Night Football** 8.9 28%
Big Bang Theory 8.8 30%

(Source: The Nielsen Company, Live + Same Day Viewing, Sept. 8, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017; regularly-scheduled programs)

*5 NBC/NFLN telecasts; **5 CBS/NFLN telecasts


SNF averaged a 7.0 rating in the Adult 18-49 demographic, ranking as primetime television’s #1 show in the advertiser-coveted demo for the ninth consecutive fall TV season.  The 7.0 in the demo is 25% above The Walking Dead, primetime TV’s #2 show among Adults 18-49 (chart below).

Top Fall 2016 Primetime Programs, Adult 18-49 Rating

Program Adult 18-49 Rating SNF Advantage
Sunday Night Football 7.0
The Walking Dead 5.6 25%
NBC Thursday Night Football* 5.2 35%
CBS Thursday Night Football** 4.9 43%
Monday Night Football 3.9 79%

(Source: The Nielsen Company, Live + Same Day Viewing, Sept. 8, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017; regularly-scheduled programs)

*5 NBC/NFLN telecasts; **5 CBS/NFLN telecasts

Additional highlights from the 2016 NBC Sunday Night Football season:

  • The Total Audience Delivery (TAD) for the 2016 Sunday Night Football season on NBC and NBC Sports Digital was 20.5 million viewers. NBC Sports Group’s Total Audience Delivery measures broader consumption by calculating average minute viewing across broadcast, cable, and digital.


  • Since the beginning of the 2011-12 TV season, only nine primetime shows have averaged 20+ million viewers, all on NBC – Sunday Night Football six times, the 2012 London Summer Games, the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, and the 2016 Rio Summer Games (minimum 10 telecasts).


  • NBC’s season-long Sunday night Football Night in America averaged 8.2 million viewers from 7:30-8:15 p.m. ET to continue its reign as sports’ most-watched weekly studio show for the 11th consecutive year – a streak which began in FNIA’s 2006 debut season. In addition, the 8-8:30 p.m. ET portion of Football Night in America (including pre-kick coverage), averaged 12.1 million viewers, and a 4.0 rating among Adults 18-49, which would rank No. 6 among regularly-scheduled primetime shows in the demographic.


  • Packers-Lions in Week 17 was NBC’s fourth consecutive SNF game drawing an average of 21 million viewers – marking the first time since 1995 that the last four games of the NFL’s primetime package each averaged 21 million viewers (ABC MNF).


  • Viewership for NBC’s Sunday Night Football increased 11% since the Presidential Election, averaging 21.5 million viewers for nine SNF games beginning Sunday, Nov. 13, compared to 19.3 million viewers for the season’s first 10 SNF games. In its record 2015 season, SNF averaged 22.5 million viewers with a 13.0/22 household rating.


  • In each of its 11 seasons (2006-16), Sunday Night Football has averaged at least a 10.0 U.S. household rating (11.4 this season) and a 5.0 rating in the key Adult 18-49 demographic (7.0 this season). Among other primetime shows, only American Idol and Grey’s Anatomy have posted a 10.0 HH rating and a 5.0 demo rating more than twice in that 11-year stretch, and neither has done so since 2011. Other than SNF, the NBC/NFL Network TNF series is the only other primetime show this fall reaching those numbers (10.2 HH rating/5.2 Adult 18-49). (Nielsen Live + Same Day Data, 9/8/16-1/1/17; Excludes Pre- and Post-Game Shows)


  • With an average of 23.8 million viewers for the NBC-only season-finale Sunday Night Football broadcast of Packers-Lions – NBC has 11 primetime NFL telecasts with at least 20 million viewers this fall, nearly tripling the primetime total of all other networks combined (4) (chart below; Nielsen Live + Same Day Data, 9/8/16-1/1/17; Excludes Pre- and Post-Game Shows).


  • 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 this fall with an average of 17.0 million viewers.


  • The Dec. 11 Sunday Night Football broadcast of Cowboys-Giants posted a season-high “Total Audience Delivery” average of 26.7 million viewers. The TV-only average of 26.5 million viewers marked the best viewership for a Week 14 primetime NFL game since 1989 (26.502 million for 49ers-Rams on ABC’s MNF). In addition, NBC Sports Digital reached 1.2 million unique users who streamed 42.2 million minutes of Cowboys-Giants – NBC’s best-ever totals for a Sunday NFL game, excluding Super Bowls.


  • 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. The Average Minute Audience (AMA) for the game’s live stream via Twitter, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital was 479,000 viewers – also a record for Thursday Night Football.


  • The Nov. 13 Sunday Night Football broadcast of Seahawks-Patriots averaged 22.51 million TV-only viewers — ranking as the most-watched Week 10 NFL primetime game in 18 years (22.54 million for Packers-Steelers on ABC’s MNF, 11/9/98).


  • The Carolina Panthers-Denver Broncos Super Bowl 50 rematch in the Sept. 8 “NFL Kickoff” game averaged a “Total Audience Delivery” of 25.4 million viewers across NBC and NBC Sports Digital platforms. The NBC-only broadcast of Panthers-Broncos averaged 25.2 million viewers – marking the fourth consecutive year that NBC Sports’ presentation of the “NFL Kickoff” game topped 25 million viewers.


  • From Nov. 13 through Dec. 25, NBC televised an unprecedented 13 primetime games in a 43-day span. NBC kicked off the stretch with the Week 10 Seattle-New England SNF game on Nov. 13, continued with the new five-game NBC Thursday Night Football package (TV’s #2 primetime show this fall), featured Steelers-Colts on Thanksgiving night, and six more Sunday night games.


Only 15 primetime telecasts between Sept. 8, 2016 and Jan. 1, 2017 averaged at least 20 million viewers – NBC’s Sunday Night Football & NBC/NFL Network Thursday Night Football accounted for 11 (charts below).

Following are the programs topping 20 million primetime viewers this fall:

Program Telecasts with 20 Million Viewers
NBC Sunday Night Football 10
World Series 3
NBC/NFLN Thursday Night Football 1
60 Minutes 1

Most-Watched Primetime Shows (Sept. 8, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017)

Show, Date Avg. Viewers
World Series on FOX (Cubs-Indians), 11/2 40.0 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Cowboys-Giants), 12/11 26.5 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Panthers-Broncos), 9/8 25.2 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Bucs-Cowboys), 12/18 24.1 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Packers-Lions), 1/1/17 23.8 million
World Series on Fox (Indians-Cubs), 10/30 23.6 million
World Series on Fox (Cubs-Indians), 11/1 23.4 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Patriots-Cardinals), 9/11 23.1 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Packers-Vikings), 9/18 22.8 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Seahawks-Patriots), 11/13 22.5 million
NBC/NFLN Thurs. Night Football (Cowboys-Vikings), 12/1 21.8 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Broncos-Chiefs), 12/25 21.4 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Steelers-Colts), 11/24 20.9 million
NBC Sunday Night Football (Bears-Cowboys), 9/25 20.6 million
60 Minutes on CBS, 11/13 20.2 million

Source: Nielsen Live + Same Day Data, 9/8/16-1/1/17; Excludes Pre- and Post-Shows


Fall TV Season                                   Full TV Season

2016 No. 1 Show 1st (through 1/1/17)
2015 No. 1 Show 1st
2014 No. 1 Show 1st
2013 No. 1 Show 1st
2012 No. 1 Show 1st
2011 No. 1 Show 1st
2010 No. 1 Show 3rd 
2009 No. 2 Show 4th
2008 No. 5 Show 8th
2007 No. 7 Show 8th
2006 No. 7 Show 9th

Source: The Nielsen Company, Live + Same Day Viewing

SNF SETS STREAMING RECORD: NBC Sports Digital set season SNF records as 8.9 million unique users consumed 629 million live streaming minutes across, the NBC Sports app, and NFL Mobile from Verizon. The 629 million minutes total to date exceeds all prior full seasons of NFL games on NBC, which included playoff games and two Super Bowls.


For the third consecutive season, Denver was the top-rated SNF market. New Orleans was the highest-rated market in 2013 as well as in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Milwaukee was the highest-rated SNF market in 2012. Denver also ranked No. 1 in 2006, the first year of SNF on NBC.

1. Denver 21.8/36
2. Milwaukee 19.5/29
3. Seattle 18.8/31
4. Albuquerque 18.6/29
T5. Dallas 17.1/28
T5. Richmond 17.1/27
7. Kansas City 16.9/26
8. Phoenix 16.4/27
9. Norfolk 16.3/26
10. Las Vegas 16.2/26
11. New Orleans 16.0/23
12. Portland 15.4/26
13. San Antonio 15.3/25
T14. Indianapolis 15.2/25
T14. Minneapolis 15.2/25
16. Sacramento 15.1/25
17. Austin 14.6/25
18. Houston 14.3/23
19. Memphis 14.0/20
20. Charlotte 13.8/23
21. Philadelphia 13.5/22
22. Greensboro 13.3/21
23. Nashville 13.1/19
T24. Pittsburgh 12.9/21
T24. West Palm Beach 12.9/21
26. San Diego 12.8/23
27. Buffalo 12.5/19
28. Dayton 12.4/20
29. Greenville 12.0/19
30. Baltimore 11.9/20

NBC televises this Saturday’s primetime NFC Wild Card Playoff as the Detroit Lions (9-7) visit the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks (10-5-1), who have won three division titles in four years. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Next Sunday, January 15, NBC presents the AFC Divisional Playoff featuring the second-seed Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. NBC’s Divisional Playoff coverage begins at Noon ET.