With an average audience of 17.1 million, NFL has highest regular-season ratings since 2015

NFL: DEC 20 Vikings at Bears
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The NFL continues to bring a live audience together like nothing else can.

The league has announced that the 2021 NFL regular season generated an average audience of 17.1 million. That’s a 10-percent bump over 2020 and the highest full-season average since 2015.

During the 2021 regular season, NFL games ranked as 48 of the top 50 shows on TV.

For the first time ever, the NFL regular season consisted of 272 games, spread over 18 weekends. Of those games, 175 were within one score in the fourth quarter.

Ten games generated audiences of 25 million or more, with the largest audience coming on Thanksgiving, when 40.8 million watched the Raiders beat the Cowboys. It was the largest audience for any regular-season game since 1990.

Speaking of the Cowboys, five of the 10 most-watched games in the 2021 regular season featured the Dallas franchise. That bodes well for Sunday afternoon, when the Cowboys host the 49ers in a wild-card game.

27 responses to “With an average audience of 17.1 million, NFL has highest regular-season ratings since 2015

  1. Part of this could be (a small part) …. is because they keep jacking up the prices to attend the event live at the venue. Even the crappy franchises increase tickets, concessions, parking, etc., by exhorbitant amounts each year.

  2. And that’s with tv ratings going down year to year as people continue to cut the chord yet there will be clueless fans clamoring(like everytime over the last year) that “the NFL is in decline and the ratings show it” because they dont understand ratings and that you cant compare a program/timeslot now to 1 in the 90’s

  3. College and pro sports for decades had a firewall when it came to gambling. It was like they were trying to ignore the fact that there were billions of dollars wagered with bookies. Oh, it came out a little with the Paul Hornung and Alex Karras suspensions….and then there was Pete Rose.

    But once other states other than Nevada and New Jersey made it legit….and the pro sports leagues took on huge windfalls from sponsorship of betting…it became wide open.

    Legal betting is driving people to watch even more and when you can bet on the results happening real time with in game action, we got where we are. Sports=gambling.

  4. NFL football is the best reality show on TV. It’s very addicting. Another reason so many people watch is that they are betting on the games.

  5. Crazy, seeing how roughly half of the commenters on this site keep saying that they will not watch the NFL anymore due to [insert random stuff to be triggered by]

  6. I guess all those folks who said they would “never watch the NFL again!” after the social protests, got over it.

  7. So much for “Never Watching The NFL Again”….Or the Kneeling Players ruining it.

  8. It’s easily the most compelling team sport and best reality tv show going so it’s going to bring the big tv numbers.

  9. TV ratings mean nothing in this day and age of streaming.
    Those numbers aren’t are so skewed. When you look at
    how they come up with them it’s truly comical.

  10. The playoffs will have an even greater lift. First you have several of the most national brands represented – Dallas, San Fran, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Brady, and New England.

    Did you like how I worked in Brady 🙂

    This weekend is going to be huge for the NFL

  11. What’s crazy is how many people are supposedly convinced the game is rigged and predetermined yet still watch every week

  12. I’ve been seeing alot of people that don’t tune in until right at kickoff (to avoid the bs) and mute tv or turn channel when the bs comes on then back to watching what we wanted… football. Lots are boycotting companies who support the bs too.

  13. ghjjf says:
    January 12, 2022 at 1:12 pm
    It’s not like the NFL has any real competition when it comes to entertainment….

    Now that Antonio Brown is out of the NFL they sorta do.

  14. So much for all those claiming to be done with football. Let’s be honest, we all knew they wouldn’t stick to their guns.

  15. When Dallas is competitive the league gets more views. Half of the top 10 watched games were Dallas games.

  16. No putting Dallas mostly at noon boosted that rating and people came back when they basically stopped all the social protesting !!! Sport is supposed to be the one place where we all get along

  17. I don’t like the 17 game season or the 14 team playoffs either, but…..dammit…..they know I’ll watch.

  18. I guess all those dummies who said they’d never watch the NFL again, were just saying that to sound enraged on message boards.

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