The NFL is in a really good place, filled to the brim with quality players that make tuning in every week a must, especially in a sport where there are only 17 games in a season, making the stakes even higher with every passing game week. An upset victory here and there, or even the most minor of slip-ups could prove to be the difference between making the postseason or not. Thus, it makes every game appointment viewing, and numbers don’t lie.
Per Ari Meirov, NFL reporter for PFF, the sport’s viewership is at its best since 2016, averaging a staggering 17.2 million viewers per game for the first three weeks. And to make things even better, the 19 most-viewed shows on television in the United States since the start of the NFL season on September 8 are all NFL games.
NFL games are averaging 17.2 million viewers per game through three weeks, the best start to a season since 2016.
The 19 most-viewed shows on TV since the start of the NFL season are all NFL games. Nothing else.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 28, 2022
The parity in the NFL has only made keeping up with the sport a must for any football fan. Underdogs could rise out of nowhere, similar to how the Cincinnati Bengals made the Super Bowl last season despite being unheralded all throughout the previous campaign. This is thanks in no small part to the immense broadcasting rights deal the NFL has signed through 2033, which pays a combined $113 billion.
NFL’s chief media and business officer, Brian Rolapp noted that the revenue sharing model that distributes the billions throughout small and big-market teams alike has put the league in a position like no other sport.
“It’s why you have the Bengals in the Super Bowl when you wouldn’t have thought that the year before,” Rolapp said, per The Athletic (subscription required).
Of course, it also helps when the league is led by marketable stars such as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen, who is the early favorite to claim the NFL MVP award after a hot start with the Buffalo Bills. Thus, it’s difficult to foresee any other sport dethroning the NFL in the US soon, especially when there’s a bit of oversaturation with the MLB (162 in a season), NBA and NHL (82 games).