NFL, Coach Prime Draw Huge Live Sports Viewership: The Week in Sports Ratings

Brandon Powell #4 of the Minnesota Vikings fumbles the ball as he is tackled by Justin Evans #30 of the Philadelphia Eagles on a punt return during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 14, 2023
Prime Video’s Sept. 14 Minnesota Vikings-Philadelphia Eagles game was the No. 5 most-watched show (Image credit: Getty Images)

 Week two of the National Football League season continued to tackle the top slots on the live sports ratings chart, but Deion Sanders’s Colorado Buffaloes made a strong bid to break pro football’s viewership stranglehold. 

CBS’s September 17 late afternoon block of NFL games — which included the Dallas Cowboys-New York Jets game — was the most-watched live sports event for the week of September 11-17, averaging 25.78 million viewers, according to Nielsen numbers published by SportsMedia Watch. NBC’s Miami-New England Sunday Night Football telecast pulled into second place with 17.86 million viewers, followed by Fox and CBS’s Sunday afternoon early window NFL game telecasts, which averaged 16.59 million and 16.51 million viewers, respectively. 

Pulling into fifth place was Prime Video’s Minnesota Vikings-Philadelphia Eagles Thursday Night Football telecast, which drew 15.05 million viewers, making it the most watched NFL game on the streaming service, according to company officials. 

Placing among the top 10 most-watched events for the week was ESPN’s September 16 college football game featuring Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes against the Colorado State Rams, which drew 9.3 million viewers to finish as ESPN’s most watched late primetime game on record and its fifth most-watched college football game ever, according to the network. 

Fox’s September 14 regional baseball coverage was the most-watched non-football telecast of the week, averaging 1.68 million viewers. 

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Top-Rated Live Sports Events, Sept. 11-17
September 17 CBS NFL National CBS 25.78 million
September 17 NBC Sunday Night Football NBC 17.86 million
September 17 Fox NFL Sunday Fox 16.59 million
September 17 CBS NFL Sunday CBS 16.51 million
September 14 Thursday Night Football Prime Video15.05 million
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Top-Rated Live Sports Events (Non-Football) Sept. 4-10
September 14 Fox Thursday Night Baseball Fox 1.68 million
September 17 Camping World NHRA Series Fox 1.50 million
September 16 Liga–America-Guadarlajara Univision 1.30 million
September 12 Seleccion Mexicana Univision 1.28 million
September 17 Formula 1 Grand Prix ESPN1.18 million
R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.