Written by:
Oliver Dickinson
Fact checked by:
Alex Windsor
Updated:
July 5, 2024

NFL Viewership Statistics 2023: Annual League Revenue Expected to Reach $25 Billion By 2027

As the most-watched US sports league, an average of 17.9 million viewers watched an NFL regular-season game in the 2023 season. This is a 7% increase from the previous season and a tie with the 2010 season as the second highest average in history.

From November 2022 to November 2023, viewers tuned in and watched a total of 974.7 billion minutes of American football action across the 284 NFL games that were televised. NBC’s Sunday Night Football viewers averaged 21.4 million, meaning it had the most-watched overall package and has set a new all-time high viewership record since 2015. Almost 42 million viewers tuned into the Thanksgiving weekend NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders, making it the most-watched game this season.

NFL Viewership Quick Facts

NFL Viewership Overview

The National Football League continues to dominate the US TV landscape with high viewership numbers consistently seen across multiple platforms. The wild 2023 regular season drew in an average of 17.9 million viewers per game.

While a high percentage of NFL-engaged fans are from the US (65%), its popularity continues to grow every year outside the country shores as it enjoys huge followerships across the globe. Mexico has the highest number of fans outside the geographic boundaries of the US followed by Brazil.

1. The 2023 Regular Season Generated an Average Viewership of 17.9 Million

Source: Statista

The average viewership figures for this regular-season were 17.9 million across NFL’s various broadcast partners. This includes streaming, and it’s a near-record viewership since the 2023 and 2010 season were dead even, tying as the second-most-watched regular season ever.

2. 56% of Viewers from the US Tune in To NFL Games Via Television

Source: Global Web Index

Since the age of most of the viewers ranges from 24 to 34, 56% of them prefer watching NFL games on television. Only 9% of viewers watch the games online, which is likely 16-to-24-year-olds based on statistics of other media behaviors.

3. NFL Generated a Revenue of More Than $18 Billion

Source: Statista, Yahoo Finance

The NFL has increased its revenue every year since 2004. During the last season, the NFL surpassed the major sports leagues by a landslide after generating a revenue of $18,027 billion. Of this figure, over $11 billion was from its broadcasting partners according to Yahoo finance. Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, set a goal for a $25 billion annual league revenue by 2027.

4. 38% of Adults Around the World Are NFL Fans

Source: Global Web Index

The NFL league has built a dedicated fan base in different parts of the world, with 38% of adults across the globe describing themselves as fans of the NFL. The league has managed to expand globally through a combination of engaging content and savvy marketing.

5. The 2023 NFL Recorded the Highest Number of Viewers Under 35

Source: Sports Business Journal

43% of NFL viewers across the world are between 25 and 34 years old. But the league recorded the highest viewership since 2019 among audiences in the 18-34 age group.

The Global Penetration of the NFL

While NFL’s dominance is well-established within the US, the influence of this league extends far beyond its borders, igniting the interests of audiences across continents. The US Has 115 Million NFL Fans

Source: Statista

Since the NFL is the most popular major sports league in the US, it’s no surprise that there are over 115 million NFL fans in the US. That means 65% of people in the US identify themselves as fans of the NFL.

23.3 Million NFL Fans Are Mexicans

Source: Statista

Mexico takes the cake as the country with the highest number of NFL fans outside the US. There are 23.3 million NFL fans in Mexico. This comes as a big surprise since the country is known for its love for soccer that it will become the first 3-time host of the FIFA World Cup in 2026; this will be the first World Cup to be organized jointly by three nations.

Brazil Boasts Around 20 Million NFL Fans

Source: Statista

While the love for soccer is woven into every Brazilian’s, NFL is booming in the country. The league counts over 19.7 million fans in this South American nation. That means it has the second-largest NFL fan base outside the US.

Over 7 Million Canadians Are Avid NFL Fans

Source: Statista

While Canada showcases its football league (CFL) is turning heads north of the border, 7.21 million Canadians follow the NFL.

Germany Has the Highest Number of Fans in Europe

Source: Statista

In Europe, where more than 131 million adults are  fans of soccer in the The Big Five, the National Football League has inroads. This was partly fueled by the demise of the NFL Europe League. Germany lead the pack with 6.66 million fervent fans, while the UK has around 5.73 million followers. Spain also embraces American football and has a fan base made up of 3.56 million.

NFL Is One of the Most Gender-Balanced Sports

The NFL is committed to be a model of inclusion and diversity. Over 42% of those working in the NFL office are women and the fan base is also nearly half female.

Men Make Up 53% of NFL Fans

Source: NFL Communications, CNBC

The number of women watching the NFL has increased. 47% of NFL fans are women according to the NFL, with over 50% of the league’s 32 teams having female fan clubs. Since the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told CNBC in an interview that the league has 187.3 million fans, over 88 million fans are women. So, this means men make up 53% of  the entire NFL fan base.

Female Viewership Saw a 9% Rise

Source: Yahoo

The total male viewership ballooned by 6% from last season. Female viewership went up by 9%, marking the highest figure the NFL has ever seen since 2,000. The surge in viewership was partly due to Taylor Swift attending the games.

NFL Dominating TV with Record-Setting Year

The long-term broadcast rights agreements NFL signed with multiple media partners valued at $110+ billion over 11 years that started this season was worth it. The combination of television networks and streaming services gave the NFL an audience boost, spiking the 2023 regular-season viewership by 7%.  

NFL Games Had 93% of 100-Most Watched TV Programs in 2023

Source: Forbes

NBC (SNF) Drew an Average Viewership of Over 21 Million

The NFL dominated American TV broadcast ratings in 2023, with more American tuning in to the NFL games on TV than any other program. Based on the Nielsen’s annual Top 100 Telecasts list that ranks the programs with the highest rated programs, 93 were NFL games, up from 82 in 2022.

Source: Sports Business Journal

NBC’s Sunday Night Football package averaged 21.4 million viewers, an increase of 8% from the previous year and its best viewership since 2015. This figure also means that the SNF was the most-watched package. Six games on this package had averaged at least 25 million viewers, tying the mark set during the 2013 season. The September 7 opener that saw the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Detroit Lions drew in 27.5 million viewers, making it the top game.

CBS Hit Record High After Averaging 19.3 Million Viewers

Source: Sports Business Journal, New York Times

As the primary home for AFC games played on Sunday afternoons, CBS reported that the NFL games on its network averaged 19,345,000 viewers for the 2023 season, which is a 5% spike from the 2022 season. This is its highest audience delivery since it won the right to telecast professional football again in 1998 after partnering with NFL. Due to the strength of the 4:25 p.m. Eastern Time slot, the NFL on CBS national game managed to average 24.64 million viewers for its ten Sunday afternoon windows. Since the 2022 regular season averaged 23.50 million, this indicates an increase of 4.7%.

NFL Network Averaged 7.5 Million Viewers

Source: USA Today

NFL Network’s Exclusive Game Series had the least number of viewership this season when compared to other networks, averaging around 7.5 million viewers. But this was still better than the 2022 season since it’s a 5% bump.

Prime Video’s TNF Package Averaged Around 11.9 Million Viewers

Source: NBC News

The NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package found a new home in 2022 after Amazon Prime Video won the rights to the program. The package saw a 24% increase from the previous year’s season since it averaged 11.86 million viewers.MNF Was Up Nearly 30% from the 2022 Season

Source: Statista

The Monday Night Football package on ESPN, ABC, and ESPN2 averaged 17.36 million viewers, which is the highest figure it has seen since the 2000 season. This is also a 29% increase from last season.

The Most-Watched NFL Regular Season Game Averaged 41.76 Viewers

Source: Statista

The Thanksgiving weekend game that saw the Washington Commander take on the Dallas Cowboys attracted the highest number of viewers recorded during the 2023 NFL regular season, averaging 41.76 million.

Fox Averaged 19.26, a 2% Dip From Last Season

Source: NBC News

Fox is the only NFL media partner that saw a drop in viewership this season, with its games averaging 19.01 million viewers in 2023. Since last season’s viewership averaged 19.42 million, this marks a 2% decrease.

Final Thoughts

The National Football League has experienced an astonishing surge in viewership since 2021. The 2023 regular season saw a boost of 7% in its average per-game viewership, averaging 17.9 million. The NFL wants $25 billion in revenue by 2027, and experts believe this is possible, especially after they signed a three-season deal with Netflix. This megadeal will see this subscription-based streaming service run live NFL games during Xmas, which will bump up its revenue. Check out more interesting NFL facts here.

FAQs

  • Which was the most-watched NFL game 2023?
    The Thanksgiving game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Commanders had the highest viewership in the 2023 season, with almost 42 million viewers tuning in to watch it.
  • How big is the NFL fanbase?
    The NFL boasts 187.3 million fans; of these, 53% are men while the remaining 47% are women.
  • Which network had the highest NFL regular-season viewership?
    NBC’s Sunday Night Football averaged 21.4 million viewers, making it the most watched package for the second year in a row.

Sources

1. Statista

2. Global Web Index

3. Statista

4. Global Web Index

5. NFL Communications

6. CNBC

7. Yahoo

8 Sports Business Journal

9. Statista

10. New York Times

11. USA Today

12. NBC News

AUTHOR
Oliver Dickinson

A football fan through and through, Oliver is a valued writer and contributor at Minimum Deposit Betting Sites. He boasts over 7 years of experience writing reviews, predictions, and picks for a variety of US and Europe-based websites.