Americans may not agree about much of anything these days, but there appears to be an exception: professional football rules.
Despite concerns about CTE, anthem kneeling and changes in the game, Americans are tuning in to watch the NFL in droves. An analysis of the 50 most-watched telecasts on U.S. airwaves during the first half of 2023 shows that 19 of the 20 highest-rated broadcasts thus far in 2023 have been NFL games.
The only telecast, coming in at No. 13 overall, inside the top 20 other than an NFL game was President Biden’s “State of the Union” address. Coming in at No. 21 was the Academy Awards. Overall, 25 of the 50 most-watched telecasts in America to begin 2023 have been of the pro-football variety — and not from any of those NFL “competitors.”
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That number, while perhaps not surprising, is noteworthy nonetheless because the bulk of the NFL season was played in 2022. Were the earlier portion of the NFL season included in the analysis, it’s highly likely that America’s preference for pro football over politics or Hollywood awards shows would have been even more apparent. In general, Americans just seem to prefer sports over any other television programming as sports accounted for 44 of the 50 most-watched telecasts on U.S. airwaves in the first half of 2023, per the Sports Business Journal.
Interestingly, none of those broadcasts were Major League Baseball or National Hockey League games. Also absent from the top 50 list was the World Cup, Major League Soccer or the WNBA. Women’s sports were represented however as the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship between LSU-Iowa came in at No. 46 with nearly 10 million viewers. It was the most-watched women’s college basketball game on record.
When the upcoming NFL season kicks off in September, with the Lions headed to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs, expect the ratings to be excellent as Americans will be hungry for their (high quality) professional football fix following the offseason.