The Thanksgiving game between the Raiders and the Cowboys delivered an enormous television audience.
CBS announced today that the game drew an estimated 38.531 million viewers. That makes it the most-watched regular-season game since 1990.
Nothing on American television, other than NFL postseason games, draws anything close to that number. This year’s most-watched World Series game drew 14 million viewers. This year’s most-watched NBA Finals game drew 12.5 million viewers. This year’s Academy Awards drew 9.9 million viewers.
The most-watched NBA game ever, Michael Jordan‘s last game with the Chicago Bulls in the 1998 NBA Finals, drew 35.9 million viewers.
The overtime game was suspenseful, although it was a penalty-fest that was far from the best football game the NFL could have put in front of that huge audience. But the league and CBS have to be extremely pleased with an audience total that dwarfs anything else on TV.