NFL Posts Highest Ratings Since 2010 Amid Taylor Swift-Fueled Surge in Interest

The New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, and Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks were among the NFL stars injured during the regular season. Superfan Taylor Swift became an NFL standout.

Swift's participation at many Kansas City Chiefs games to support boyfriend and star tight end Travis Kelce caused a stir among her fans and the TV networks, who couldn't get enough of her cheering from a luxury box.

Nielsen reported 17.9 million NFL game viewers this season, up 7% from last year. The league stated it was the highest regular-season average since 2010. Those numbers include TV and streaming viewers.

NFL games dominate other programming, but this year they stood out even more due to actor and writer strikes that delayed the start of the new TV season for networks and streaming.

The NFL also overcame dismal seasons from major market clubs like the Jets, Giants, and Patriots. With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, the Jets were awarded numerous big national television time slots.

Rodgers suffered a season-ending injury early in his first regular-season game as a Jet, and the team struggled.

NFL relied more on digital platforms. Amazon Prime Video, the exclusive home of “Thursday Night Football,” now has a “Black Friday” game the day after Thanksgiving. The Peacock had an exclusive regular-season game and will air an exclusive playoff game this weekend.

ESPN's "Monday Night Football" averaged 17.4 million viewers, up 30% among individual rights holders. ESPN's sister network ABC, which has a larger audience, showed multiple “Monday Night Football” games, which contributed to the increase.

The average audience for NBC's "Sunday Night Football" rose 8% to 21.4 million. These figures include Peacock simulcasts.

Last month, Peacock's exclusive game averaged 7.2 million viewers. The streamer gets exclusive rights to Saturday's playoff matchup between the Dolphins and defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. 

Not all NFL networks increased this year. Fox's Sunday afternoon games averaged 19 million viewers, down 2%. Fox's national game average rose 2% to 24.6 million, but less appealing regional games in the 1 p.m. time slot caused the dip.

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