The NFL’s TV ratings comeback continued in the 12th week of the season.
So far, games are averaging 15.8 million viewers, up 5% from last year.
NFL games have accounted for 19 of the top 20 telecasts and 46 of the 50 most-watched programs on TV.
That means that football ratings are not only large, but they are growing at a time when most ratings are eroding.
NFL ratings declined the past two seasons, which has resulted in pressure on advertising revenues. According to research company Standard Media Index, network revenues for NFL games were down for the first two months of the season. Ad sales executives however, note that rising ratings mean they won’t have to provide advertisers with make goods and will be able to charge higher prices for remaining spots in the last part of the season and the playoffs.
The viewership is being helped because fewer star players have been injured compared to last year and teams are featuring high-powered offenses and scoring tons of points, which is good for both fans and fantasy sports players. Through week 12, teams scored a record 8,502 points and 980 touchdowns.
Games have been close, with 51 contests decided by three points or fewer, tying the most in NFL history. Ten games have gone into overtime.
The issue of players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest the use of force by police against African Americans has also receded.
During week 12 of the season, NFL games averaged 20.3 million viewers, up 15% from the same week a year ago. The games averaged 26.2 household ratings across local NFL markets, up 12% compared to a year ago.