The intertwining of two of the biggest forces in American popular culture — the NFL and Taylor Swift — paid off handsomely for NBC on Sunday night.
The network’s Sunday Night Football telecast scored its biggest audience of the season, averaging 27 million viewers across all platforms, according to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics (as provided by NBC Sports). A spike in women viewers, possibly driven by Swift’s presence at the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets, helped drive the increases.
Per NBC, viewing among girls 12-17 grew 53 percent Sunday over the first three SNF broadcasts this season. Women 18-24 (up 24 percent) and women over 35 (up 34 percent) also tuned in at higher levels than earlier in the season.
Swift, who’s been linked to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, attended a Kansas City game for the second week in a row. NBC’s cameras repeatedly found Swift in a box at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey as she took in the contest with fellow stars Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds.
The NBC telecast averaged 25.15 million viewers, a 21 percent improvement compared with the same week last year. The TV-only audience was NBC’s best of the season, but the cross-platform viewership fell a little shy of the season opener’s 27.5 million viewers.
Streaming on Peacock, NBC Sports and NFL Digital platforms accounted for 1.85 million viewers, which NBC says is its largest streaming audience ever for a regular-season Sunday NFL game. The cross-platform total of 27 million viewers is up 22 percent from the all-in tally a year ago.
Both teams’ local markets recorded big ratings as well. In Kansas City, about 487,000 households were watching Nielsen-measured TV Sunday night, and a whopping 83 percent of those were tuned into the game. In the (much larger) New York market, about 1.14 million TV households watched SNF, good for a 38 share of all viewing.
Complete ratings for Sunday, including any adjustments to Sunday Night Football, will be available Tuesday morning.