The anticipation for Tom Brady’s return to New England this past Sunday night as the Buccaneers faced the Patriots from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., delivered Football Night in America – NBC Sports’ weekly NFL studio show – with its second-most watched show ever, averaging 12.0 million TV-only viewers from 7:29-8:11 p.m. ET. FNIA viewership for “The Return” trailed only Giants-Cowboys in Week 1 of the 2015 season (12.3 million viewers) as the most-watched show in FNIA history (since 2006).
In addition, NBC Sports’ “pre-kick” coverage from 8:11-8:23 p.m. ET – which airs just before the start of the game – averaged 20.3 million TV-only viewers, the most for that portion of the broadcast in eight years, since Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis in Week 7 of the 2013 season (Broncos-Colts).
FNIA averaged a 15 share (percentage of televisions in use tuned to the program) while pre-kick coverage averaged a 25 share, all-time records for both portions of the broadcast.
Through the first four weeks of this season, FNIA (7:30-8:13 p.m. ET) is averaging 8.3 million viewers, its best start in five years (8.6 million in 2016) and up 55% vs. last year (5.4 million). FNIA has been the most-watched regularly-scheduled studio show in sports since its inception in 2006.
When the final portion of FNIA is combined with “pre-kick” (8:00-8:23 p.m. ET), the coverage is averaging 13.8 million viewers through four weeks in 2021, which would rank as primetime television’s No. 3 show.
The Buccaneers’ down-to-the-wire 19-17 victory over the Patriots on NBC and is the most-watched NBC Sunday Night Football game since 2012 and the second-most watched all-time.
Buccaneers-Patriots averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 28.0 million viewers across NBC TV, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms – marking the largest NBC SNF audience since Week 17 of the 2012 season when Dallas faced Washington in a win-and-in game for the NFC East title (30.3 million viewers, 12/30/12). Bucs-Patriots also ranks as the second-most watched NBC SNF game since the package debuted in 2006. Viewership figures are based upon data from Nielsen and Adobe Analytics. For more, click here.
This Sunday on NBC SNF (8:20 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock & Universo), Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who have represented the AFC in the last two Super Bowls, host Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills in an AFC Championship Game rematch. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with Football Night in America.