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TV Network Live Sports Viewership Rankings in 2021

Videos by OutKick

Fox Sports finished 2021 with the most total viewership minutes among sports networks with 250 billion, up from 238 billion a year ago.

FOX Sports executive vice president Michael Mulvihill broke down the list:

Fox comes off a big fall season. In addition to its NFC football package, Fox has experienced viewership gains since moving its top college football matchups from primetime to noon. Fox’s Big Noon package competed neck-and-neck with ABC’s primetime college football broadcasts in 2021. Here’s more data on that race.

Fox Sports has solidified itself as the top sports network for live events. Fox has led the pack in total viewership minutes for three straight years and for four of the past five:

Here’s how each sports network’s data compares to 2020.

As Mulvihill says, “Leadership in live events in 2022 will be a horse race” between NBC and Fox. NBC appears to be the only threat to Fox’s reign in 2022. NBC, which finished third in 2021, should surpass CBS since NBC could gain and CBS could lose around 25 billion minutes year-over-year on the Super Bowl alone.

NBC will air both the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, while Amazon takes Fox’s Thursday Night Football package in 2022. Fox will, however, broadcast the Men’s World Cup.

In terms of parent companies, Disney — which owns ABC and ESPN — remains No. 1 with 352.8 billion minutes. However, Disney’s lead is quickly diminishing. Ten years ago, Disney led the group by 146 billion minutes. In 2021, Disney led Comcast by only 23 billion:

So the race is tightening, and live sports remain the most valuable asset on linear television. Stay tuned.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

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