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Average of over 45 million viewers watched Thanksgiving football in 2023, according to custom survey


Fri, Dec 8th 2023 04:20 pm

Survey indicated 33% lift in audience size; examined viewership of 3 holiday games in both group and out-of-home setting

National Football League Press Release

The National Football League commissioned a custom survey from Nielsen, a leading media measurement and analytics company, to complement Nielsen's audience measurement data and provide further insights into how many people in the U.S. watched NFL football on Thanksgiving Day, particularly in group settings. ‚Äč

According to the custom study, the average audience across all three Thanksgiving Day games was 45.4 million – a 33% increase from the 34.1 million viewers reported to have watched the games, the largest Thanksgiving Day average audience on record. Additionally, the Green Bay Packers versus Detroit Lions and Washington Commanders versus Dallas Cowboys games each averaged approximately 50 million viewers.

Watching football has become a Thanksgiving holiday tradition for scores of NFL fans, many of whom gather to watch the games in group settings that are larger than normal, and often outside of their homes. The custom survey of 5,091 households, which was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago using the AmeriSpeak panel, sought to examine the size of these viewing groups.

“Thanksgiving Day has become synonymous with family and friends coming together and watching NFL games," said Paul Ballew, chief data and analytics officer of the NFL. “As we have done previously for Thanksgiving Day and the Super Bowl, studies such as this are crucial to understanding the full viewership for our games."

“With the gatherings of friends and families, plus a full slate of NFL games, Thanksgiving is one of the most unique days for television viewership every year," said Deirdre Thomas, chief product officer at Nielsen. “This custom survey provides another lens for estimating viewership during widespread events such as this, and we're glad to continue helping the NFL better understand the full scope of its vast audiences."

Today, Nielsen's National TV measurement service utilizes a panel of over 100,000 respondents in over 42,000 homes, and includes both out-of-home viewing and co-viewing in its audience estimates.

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