A trio of close games helped CBS to the NFL’s largest Week 2 audience in at least 22 years.
Sunday’s NFL national window, featuring Bengals-Cowboys and overtime of Cardinals-Raiders, averaged a 14.1 rating and 27.39 million viewers on CBS — marking the largest Week 2 NFL audience since at least 2000. The previous high was 27.18 million for coverage on FOX in 2015.
Keep in mind with any historical comparison that out-of-home viewing was not included in Nielsen’s final nationals prior to two years ago. It is highly likely that the 2015 window would have had more viewers if out-of-home was being tracked at that time.
In addition to the Week 2 high, the telecast ranks as the most-watched non-Thanksgiving regular season window on CBS since Week 14 of the 2019 season (mostly Chiefs-Patriots: 28.25M). It also averaged more viewers than any non-NFL television program this year, save for news events carried by multiple channels.
Ratings and viewership increased double-digits from Week 2 of last season (mostly Cowboys-Chargers: 12.6, ~24.3M).
Earlier Sunday, CBS drew a 7.4 and 14.08 million for its regional window (mostly Patriots-Steelers) — down slightly from last year (mostly Raiders-Steelers: 7.6, ~14.2M). CBS is now averaging 18.92 million for NFL coverage this season, its highest two-week average since 2010.
Elsewhere, NBC drew a 10.6 and 19.55 million for Bears-Packers on Sunday Night Football (20.8 million including additional streaming data not tracked by Nielsen) — down slightly from Chiefs-Ravens last year (10.8, ~19.8M).
FOX chipped in an 8.6 and 16.23 million for singleheader coverage featuring Buccaneers-Saints, down double-digits from last year (mostly Falcons-Buccaneers or 49ers-Eagles: 9.6, ~18.5M).
Figures for last Thursday’s Chargers-Chiefs Thursday Night Football game on Amazon Prime are not yet available. Figures for Monday’s Week 2 split-doubleheader on ESPN and ABC will be available later Tuesday.
(Nielsen estimates from ShowBuzz Daily 9.20, network PR)