2018-19 NFL ON CBS Regular-Season and Post-Season Ratings Highlights

2018 Regular-Season Games


  •  THE NFL ON CBS’ 2018 NFL Regular-Season NFL games averaged a 9.5/22 HH rating/share, a +6% increase over 2017. THE NFL ON CBS’ 2018 games averaged 16.542 million viewers, also a +6% increase from 2017.


  •  CBS had three-of-the-top-five most-watched NFL telecasts of the 2018 regular-season. The Thanksgiving game between Chicago and Detroit averaged 26.610 million viewers, ranking as the second most-watched NFL telecast. CBS’ National game on Dec. 16, 2018 (New England @ Pittsburgh) averaged 24.632 million viewers ranking fourth. The CBS National game on Dec. 23, 2018 (Pittsburgh @ New Orleans) garnered 23.976 million viewers, ranking fifth.


  •  For the 17 weeks of the 2018 Regular-Season (Sept. 6-Dec. 31, 2018), NFL ON CBS telecasts on Sunday afternoon (and Thanksgiving) were seen in all-or-part* by an estimated 142.902 million viewers.


  • Ahead of FOX’s Sunday Afternoon and Thanksgiving game (142.461 million viewers)


  • +9% more than NBC’s primetime games (131.284 million viewers)


  • +64% more than ESPN’s Monday Night Football games- (87.227 million viewers)


*watched at least six minutes of coverage


  • CBS’ 4:25 PM, ET National Games averaged a 12.2 HH rating in the 2018 regular-season and had an +11% rating advantage over the NFL primetime broadcast package on NBC (12.2 vs 11.0)


  • 2018 marked the 19th consecutive season (starting in 2001) that the CBS National game on Sunday afternoon has out-rated the NFL primetime broadcast package.


  •  CBS’ THE NFL TODAY pregame show averaged a 2.3/7 for all telecasts in 2018 (Sunday + Thanksgiving), a +10% increase over last year. THE NFL TODAY averaged 3.642 million viewers this season, a +9% gain in viewership from 2017.



2018-19 Season Playoff Games


  • CBS’ playoff games in the 2018-19 season averaged a 20.2/41 HH rating/share, +12% higher than the prior season’s 18.0/36. The 2018-19 post-season games averaged 36.749 million viewers, +15% higher than a year ago. 2018-19 was CBS’ highest-rated and most-watched post-season since 2015-16 (Peyton Manning’s final NFL season).


  • The 2018-19 season’s AFC Championship Game, with New England beating Kansas City 37-31 in overtime, averaged 27.5/46 and 54.157 million viewers. CBS’ AFC Championship Game was +12% higher in HH rating and +23% higher in viewership compared to FOX’s NFC Championship Game (24.5/38, 44.208 million viewers) with the Los Angeles Rams beating New Orleans 26-23 in overtime.


  • 2019 was the fourth consecutive year the AFC Championship Game averaged more viewers than the NFC Championship Game.


  • The 54.157 million viewer average for the New England-Kansas City game is the second most-watched AFC Championship game (early or late) in 42 years (CBS records go back to the 1977-78 NFL season).  The Patriots-Chiefs game trails only 54.850 million viewers for the NY Jets-Pittsburgh game on January 23, 2011 (6:42-9:54 PM, ET) on CBS.


  • The New England-Kansas City AFC Championship Game on CBS was the highest-rated (27.5/46 HH rtg/shr) and most- watched program (54.157 million viewers) of the 2018-19 television season, behind only Super Bowl programming on CBS on Feb. 3, 2019.

The AFC Championship’s 54.157 million viewer average in the 2018-19 season was:

  • +519% higher than the seventh and final game of the 2019 Stanley Cup (St. Louis def. Boston) – 8.747 million

  • +206% higher than the fifth and final game of the 2018 World Series (Boston def. Los Angeles Dodgers) - 17.695 million

  • +191% higher than the sixth and final game of the 2019 NBA Finals (Toronto def. Golden State) - 18.591 million

  • +23% higher than the NFC Championship game (Los Angeles Rams def. New Orleans) - 44.208 million.


CBS’ NFL Playoff games in 2019 averaged 36.749 million viewers and were:

  • +587% higher than the seven games of the 2019 Stanley Cup between St. Louis and Boston - 5.346 million

  • +160% higher than the five games of the 2018 World Series between Boston and the Los Angeles Dodgers - 14.160 million.

  • +143% higher than the six games of the 2019 NBA Finals between Toronto and Golden State - 15.139 million.

  • +1% higher than the four 2019 NFL Post-Season games on FOX (36.484 million)


For the 20 weeks of the 2018-19 NFL Regular and Post-Season (Sept. 6, 2018-Jan. 20, 2019) NFL ON CBS telecasts were seen in all or part* by an estimated 155.825 million viewers.


  • Ahead of FOX’s games (155.450 million viewers) - excludes games simulcast on Thursday night with the NFL Network.


  • +11% more than NBC’s games (140.360 million viewers)


*watched at least six minutes of coverage


Source: Nielsen, NPM, Live + Same Day