NFL TV ratings: Chiefs vs Raiders Week 16 matchup was the most-watched Christmas Day game in 34 years

The Kansas City Chiefs had the chance to clinch the AFC West for an eighth straight year with a Christmas Day win over the Las Vegas Raiders, which could break their tie with the 1973-’79 Los Angeles Rams for the most consecutive division titles. However, the defending champion failed to live up to expectations and digested a disappointing 14-20 loss against the Raiders, prompting Jack Jones to pull legs of the losing team.

Despite the loss, the Chiefs are still sitting atop the AFC West with a 9-6 record. The Chiefs vs Raiders clash was indeed one of the most anticipated things to watch on Christmas Day, as plenty of viewers witnessed the Super Bowl champion stumble in Week 16.

Chiefs vs Raiders Christmas Day game was the most watched since 1989

Football fever hit an all-time high in the Chiefs vs Raiders Christmas game as it became the most-watched NFL game since 1989. CBS Sports declared that the game, which aired on both CBS and Nickelodeon, amassed an average of 29.171 million viewers.

This huge viewership marked a historic moment, both as the most-watched Christmas Day programming in CBS history and as the highest-rated NFL game on Christmas Day in over three decades. The Chiefs have undeniably been a magnet for viewership during the Patrick Mahomes era, and couple that with tight end Travis Kelce’s association with pop sensation Taylor Swift. It’s no surprise that ratings have soared high lately as the “swift effect” on NFL viewership has been contributing to the heightened interest in the Chiefs’ games.

Numerous other factors also played into the colossal viewership figures. The Chiefs’ consistent success over recent seasons and their solid performance heading into this particular contest added to that, and the Raiders, with an unexpected upset, brought their A-game to the field. The nail-bitingly close game, coupled with the alternate Nickelodeon broadcast, provided an additional draw for audiences, especially for those affected by the DirecTV/Tegna dispute impacting CBS availability.

The Christmas Day football fervor didn’t stop with this thrilling Chiefs-Raiders showdown. ESPN’s Monday Night Football featured a gripping match between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, which captivated over 27.2 million viewers across ABC, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes.

The NFL has progressively expanded its presence on Christmas Day since 1989. Starting with a single game per Christmas Day from 1989 to 2011, the NFL shifted gears in 2016 by introducing two games and, recently, the first-ever Christmas Day triple-header last year.

In 2022, the three Christmas Day games—Green Bay Packers vs. Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Rams, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Arizoana Cardinals—gained average audiences of 25.92 million, 22.57 million, and 17.15 million viewers, respectively.

Travis Kelce has appeared in more ads than any other celebrity

Travis Kelce might have been failing to make waves on the gridiron, but he has been dominating television screens during NFL games with an impressive presence in commercials. According to ad-measurement firm iSpot’s data, he has emerged as the standout celebrity in this arena by appearing in a whopping 375 commercials during NFL game airings through Dec. 11 and surpassing all other athletes, actors, and household names, via WSJ.

Even before his high-profile romance with Swift, the Alpine F1 owner was a sought-after figure for companies due to his status as one of the NFL’s premier TEs, compounded by his off-field persona. However, the revelation of his relationship with the pop sensation triggered some sponsors to recalibrate their media strategies, resulting in a more pronounced showcasing of the veteran in their ads.

Travis Kelce
Sports Illustrated

The diversification of the 34-year-old star’s portfolio beyond the NFL might also be linked to his sentiments about his salary. Despite his exceptional performance, he has been vocal about feeling undervalued with an annual income of $14.3 million. His off-field ventures could be a response to expanding his revenue streams.

Kelce outpaced his buddy Mahomes by 34 airings to secure the top spot. Meanwhile, Kevin Miles, known as ‘Jake from State Farm,’ followed in third place with 247 ad appearances, and the San Francisco 49ers’ coveted MVP contender Christian McCaffrey claimed fourth with 194.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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