While Thanksgiving is best known for turkey and the trimmings, the Dallas Cowboys take center state each Thanksgiving Day to deliver quite a show. This year they took on the New York Giants and set a new NFL regular season viewership record. According to Dallas News, Fox Sports drew in 42 million viewers for the game, becoming the most-watched regular season game on any television network. The previous record was 41.47 million viewers when the Giants faced off against the San Francisco 49ers during the 1990 season. The Dallas Cowboys ended up defeating the Giants 28-20. The viewership is a three percent increase from 2021's Thanksgiving game.
This news for Fox is big and no doubt they're all celebrating at Fox Sports headquarters in Los Angeles, but Fox knew they had a top-tier matchup this year, with the Dallas Cowboys and a New York Giants team that has been a serious competitor this year. Dallas News reports that Nielson, the group responsible for recording viewership, before 2020, had not been measuring out-of-home viewership. This included fans at sports bars, restaurants, and view parties. Now, these new numbers open the door for networks to charge higher ad rates for Thanksgiving Day 2023 games.
Dallas News reports that Thanksgiving Day is an outlier in terms of NFL viewership. That doesn't mean these are not impressive numbers the networks received, but the late-regular season viewership depends on some variables including the competitiveness of the matchups and whether the big viewership teams can stay competitive.