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Sports on U.S. TV - Statistics & Facts

People are turning away from traditional TV. Subscription numbers are at an all-time low as people are turning off their sets and logging on to other devices. However, sports appear to be traditional TV’s saving grace, as the genre is still amongst the leading genres on primetime TV programming. The most-watched TV show in the United States in the 2019-2020 season was NFL Sunday Night Football on NBC and, during the same year, the NBA finals were watched by an average of 7.5 million viewers in the United States.

The highlight of the sporting calendar on television is the NFL’s showpiece event, The Super Bowl. Super Bowl 52 was the leading single telecast TV program in 2019 and it continues to be the most popular and expensive sporting event of the year. The spectacle has become about more than just a game of football, with the half-time show and advertising deals often dominating the headlines more than the game itself, as well as generating millions of U.S. dollars for TV networks and advertisers alike.

Watching sport on TV has many advantages. Recent advances in sports broadcasting such as PlayerCam and Hawk-Eye mean that people are now able to see and hear more of their favorite sports from the comfort of their own homes. This appeal has not been lost on the viewers and, in 2020, around 27 percent of respondents from the United States claimed that they were watching live sport on television at least once a week.

Moreover, networks are demonstrating their confidence in sports TV as they continue to heavily invest in sports league contracts. Broadcasting rights revenue for the National Football League amounted to over 4.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, the vast majority of which was generated domestically. It is a similar picture for all of the major sports leagues in the United States and further afield, with soccer broadcasting deals in Europe also proving to be particularly lucrative. It therefore seems that, in an age of digital video and streaming, live sports is keeping the concept of traditional live television viewership alive.

Interesting statistics

In the following 9 chapters, you will quickly find the 55 most important statistics relating to "Sports on TV".


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