The game wasn’t exactly a nail-biter but the Denver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs meeting on “Sunday Night Football” led NBC to an easy victory on Christmas night. And on Christmas Eve, NBC’s traditional airing of “It’s A Wonderful Life” also had pull for the Peacock.
As usual, “Sunday Night Football” dominated the Sunday primetime frame. The live telecast averaged an 11.2 household rating and 23 share in Nielsen’s overnight metered markets, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households. (National estimates for the game will be released later this week.)
The Chiefs made short work of the Broncos with a 33-10 win. But the game nonetheless drew an eye-popping 42.8 rating/69 share in the Kansas City market, the second-best score on record for a Chiefs appearance on “SNF,” behind only the 51.5/72 delivered by the battle with the Broncos on Nov. 17, 2013.
Beyond Kansas City, the top markets for “SNF” on Christmas: Denver (32.0/63); Albuquerque (20.4/35); Richmond, Va. (16.0/29); Las Vegas (15.8/29); West Palm Beach, Fla. (15.3/28); New Orleans (15.1/25); Norfolk, Va. (14.4/28); Greensboro, S.C. (14.4/25); and San Antonio, Texas (13.8/25).
Earlier in the day, ABC generated some Christmas cheer with its afternoon telecast of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers 109-108 win over the Golden State Warriors — a game billed as a rematch of the teams that battled it out for the 2016 NBA championship title. The game peaked at 11.8 million viewers late in the fourth quarter, with a 10.1 million average for the game overall.
ESPN noted that streaming viewing of its slate of five Christmas Day NBA games delivered a Christmas Day high for the sports net. Driven by the Cavaliers-Warrior rematch, the games generated 44.3 million total streaming minutes (up 33% from Christmas 2015), 197,000 average unique viewers (up 9%) and an average minute audience of 54,000 (up 29%).
On Christmas Eve, NBC’s 42nd telecast of Frank Capra’s 1946 classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, saw a solid bounce over last year’s numbers. Total viewers in live + same day ratings jumped by nearly 1 million to 4.5 million, while the 18-49 demo rating inched up to 1.0, from 0.8 last year.
However, nightly bragging rights on Christmas Eve went to Fox’s UFC coverage, which brought in an average of 4.7 million viewers.
(Pictured: “It’s a Wonderful Life”)