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The NFL has had some light struggles with declining viewership over the past couple of years, but it looks as though people are tuning back into football. At least, that's the case with NBC's Sunday Night Football which has recovered from the viewership slump it saw in 2017. Now, more folks than ever seem to be waiting all day for Sunday night as the program's midseason has posted its highest viewership numbers since 2015.
Sunday Night Football's viewership average for the 2018-2019 NFL season thus far averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 19.7 million viewers. That's an 8% increase from 2017's average, and enough to put it on pace for the best season its had since the record-setting 2015 season. Sunday Night Football remains the number 1 show in primetime for its seventh consecutive year, which is a record.
Those numbers were undoubtedly helped by Sunday Night Football's recent matchup between the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. The prospect of quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in primetime was enough to compel 24.1 million viewers to tune in. The game set a record as the most-watched Week 9 game of Sunday Night Football's 13-year run on NBC and was a 66% increase in viewership from last year's Week 9 game.
It wasn't the first time Sunday Night Football has pulled in an audience of 20 million plus either. The program has achieved that with 4 games this season, which is impressive as it's the only primetime show on any network to pull in those kinds of numbers. Furthermore, every game this season has delivered a stronger viewership than its comparable game in the 2017 season, which appears to mean viewers are returning to Sunday Night Football.
Football Night In America, the companion series to Sunday Night Football, is also doing rather well in terms of viewership. Its average is a more modest 7.2 million viewers, which is still enough to keep it as the most-watched weekly studio show in sports. That's not quite as well as Sunday Night Football is doing, but completely understandable considering they're essentially the pre-game squad for those tuning into the game early at home.
There's no telling if Sunday Night Football will keep its pace as the season continues, although it appears it has a shot with the NFL flexing a key matchup to its time slot. The game on Sunday, November 18 will feature the NFC North's top two teams, the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, in a primetime showdown. It's one of a handful of other exciting games on the schedule, which could mean more 20 million-plus viewership nights for the program.