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NFL’s Thanksgiving Day Games See Viewership Gains From 2017

The NFL feasted on a strong turnout for its Thanksgiving Day games, with all three match-ups posting gains from 2017’s comparable telecasts.

Fox garnered an average of 30.5 million viewers, or a 12.5 household rating, for Thursday’s Washington-Dallas game that started around 4:30 p.m. ET, according to preliminary estimates from Nielsen Media Research.

Fox Sports predicts the game that saw Dallas score a 31-23 victory will be the most-watched NFL regular season telecast on any network for the 2018 football season. It was up 16% in viewers from the game that aired in the comparable late-afternoon window last year (L.A. Chargers vs. Dallas on CBS) and up 23% from Fox’s turkey-day game in 2017 (Minnesota vs. Detroit), which aired in the early-afternoon window.

With streaming coverage and the simulcast on the Fox Deportes Spanish-language cabler factored in, Fox Sports estimates the game brought in an average of 30.8 million viewers.

NBC’s primetime telecast of the Falcons-Saints game brought in an 11.4 household rating/24 share from 8:30 p.m.-11:15 p.m. ET. That was up 18% from last year’s Washington-New York Giants primetime game on NBC and NBC’s best Thanksgiving night NFL performance since 2015.

The game that ended with a 17-31 Saints win delivered an eye-popping 52.3/75 share in the team’s hometown market of New Orleans. Rounding out the top five local markets: Norfolk, Va. (17.0/32), Atlanta (16.7/34), Buffalo (14.0/26) and Minneapolis (13.7/29).

CBS’ early game (12:45 p.m.-3:45 p.m. ET) featuring the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions delivered a 14.2 rating/34 share in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households. That was up 15% from the network’s NFL telecast on Thanksgiving Day last year, when CBS had 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET slot for the L.A. Chargers vs. Dallas.

The game that ended with a 23-16 Chicago win was also up 11% from the comparable game window last year (Minnesota-Detroit on Fox).

The top five metered markets for CBS’ game: Chicago (27.5/58), Detroit (27.1/57), New Orleans (20.0/38), Dayton, Ohio (19.5/41) and Norfolk, Va. (19.2/41).

(Pictured: Thursday’s Washington-Dallas game on Fox)

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