For the first time in months, sports fans were treated to a weekend bonanza of live games across various leagues including NBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, golf and tennis. Even with myriad choices, it’s clear that viewers were sitting down for the NFL above all else.
According to Inscape, the TV data company with insights from a panel of more than 16 million active and opted-in smart TVs, from Sept. 10-14 (Week 1 of the NFL season), nearly half — 44.38% — of all smart TVs that watched any sports tuned into NFL games. And of all the minutes watched of all TV programming during that time frame, 11.01% of the time was spent on NFL games. NBA was in second place for overall watch-time (1.12% share duration).
NBC was the most popular network for live sports viewing from Sept. 10-14, capturing a 36.50% share of TVs that watched sports; Fox was No. 2 with 27.70%. Looking at network reach across all programming in that time period, ESPN took fifth place, reaching 27.68% of TVs and NFL RedZone reached 13.08% of TVs.
Kansas City was the local area market with the most households tuning into live sports Sept. 10-14, followed by Buffalo, St. Joseph, Pittsburgh and Topeka. It’s worth noting that these were also the top five markets for NFL games specifically, which shows just how much of a driving force football is.
Per iSpot, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, NFL games during Week 1 racked up 8.8 billion TV ad impressions (a -20.67% decrease from Week 1 in 2019), making it the No. 1 program by impressions for Sept. 10-14 by a long shot; college football came in second place with 1.7 billion impressions with NBA close behind (1.6 billion).
Here are the most-seen brands for NFL games, notably all but one (Chevrolet) were also in the top five for TV ad impressions in Week 1 of last season:
- Verizon (274.4 million TV ad impressions)
- McDonald’s (254.4 million)
- Geico (229.8 million)
- Chevrolet (190.7 million)
- State Farm (187.6 million)
The most-seen spots for NFL Week 1 games: