Football ratings are like pizza. When they’re good, they’re great. When they’re bad, they’re still pretty good.
Via SportsMediaWatch.com, Thursday night’s game between the Jaguars and Raiders generated an average rating of 3.1, along with 5.48 million viewers on NBC. The audience grew to 5.7 million, when including those who watched via Peacock.
It was the second smallest Hall of Fame game audience of the past decade, behind only Broncos-Falcons from 2019, at 5.33 million. (Then again, the 2016 game drew zero viewers, because the Colts-Packers contest was canceled.) Thursday’s audience also represents a significant drop from last year’s game between the Steelers and Cowboys, which drew more than seven million viewers.
That’s undoubtedly a product of the teams involved. The Steelers and the Cowboys are two of the most popular teams in the world. Although the Raiders have a strong national following, the Jaguars simply don’t.
Even with the drop, the fact that 5.7 million people simultaneously tuned in to an exhibition football game played largely by backups on a Thursday night in August further proves the power of pro football. Indeed, the rain delay generated 4.2 million average viewers, making it the second most-watched show of the night, behind the game.