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NFL Viewership Dips Slightly in 2011

The NFL's regular season ratings were off slightly in 2011, with overall audience delivery slipping 2.1% from the 2010 season to  an average of 17.5 million total viewers for all networks, according to live plus same day Nielsen ratings from Horizon media.

NBC's 18-game primetime package had the most viewers in 2011 averaging 21.5 million though that audience was down 1.4% from the previous season. Fox's NFC game package averaged 20.1 million total viewers, essential flat with last year's audience delivery. CBS saw an average 18.4 million for its telecasts of the AFC games, a drop of 1.5% over 2010.

On cable, ESPN saw the sharpest decline in its NFL viewership, dropping 9.6% to an average 13.3 million total viewers. Meanwhile the smaller NFL Network saw the biggest growth in 2011, averaging 6.2 million viewers, and increase of 10.8% over last season.