There’s always been a common saying that live sports are recession-proof. No matter the number of people who are cord-cutting, you can’t replace the drama and excitement of watching a live sports broadcast.
While there has been a drop in ratings across the board for nearly all of television, sports hasn’t felt the impact of other network and broadcast programming.
NFL ratings took a dip in the 2017 season and 2018 playoffs, but football is still king in the United States, and the NFL accounted for the top seven most-watched sports broadcasts. In all, 38 NFL games made the top 50 most-watched sporting events on U.S. television while the Winter Olympics accounted for nine broadcasts. College football took up the other three spots, meaning the NBA, MLB and World Cup were all left out.
Additionally, no games from March Madness, the Masters or Kentucky Derby cracked the list. However, 2018 being an Olympic year skewed the results. Without the nine Olympic nights, many of those aforementioned events would have made it.
In 2017, which was a non-Olympic year, 40 of the 50 top sports audiences were NFL games. In the last Olympic year of 2016, just 33 of the top 50 most-watched sports broadcasts on U.S. television were NFL games, so the league appears to be on the rise once again.
How many of these sporting events did you watch? Scroll through to find out.
Note: All figures are courtesy of SportsMediaWatch.com. The figures for all of the Olympics broadcasts include the prime-time viewership on both NBC and NBCSN.