TV Ratings: NFL Dominates Christmas Weekend

The NFL drew the second-largest audience of the season on Christmas Day, with an afternoon game on Fox and NFL Network earning the league’s second-largest audience of the season. 

Football’s large audience helped to drag down the NBA’s Christmas showcase, but the three games on ABC had extremely constant ratings.

The Fox/NFL Network broadcast of the Green Bay Packers’ victory over the Cleveland Browns drew 28.59 million viewers, following only Fox’s Thanksgiving game (37.84 million) this season and becoming the most viewed Christmas Day broadcast in history. 

The Indianapolis Colts versus Arizona Cardinals drew 12.62 million viewers during primetime on the NFL Network. This is second only to a Christmas Day game in 2016 in terms of network viewership.

On Christmas Day, the NBA received consistent ratings for three games on ABC. A primetime showdown between the L.A. The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets averaged 5.75 million viewers, down from 7 million the previous year. 

The Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns garnered 5.19 million viewers in the late afternoon, up from 4.28 million the previous year in the same time slot. It is 2:30 p.m. ET, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics averaged 4.93 million viewers, a modest increase from 4.79 million viewers last year.

On Saturday, ESPN aired two NBA games: Atlanta Hawks-New York Knicks at noon ET (2.92 million viewers) and Dallas Mavericks-Utah Jazz at 10:45 p.m. ET (2.92 million viewers).

The NFL triumphed once again on Sunday, with CBS’ late afternoon show averaging 24.16 million people and NBC’s Sunday Night Football averaging 17.28 million. Yellowstone (7.48 million viewers, plus 835,000 more on CMT) completed its successful fourth season on Paramount Network, providing another excellent lead-in for the prequel 1883. (4.31 million on Paramount Net, 545,000 on CMT).

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