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Silver Minings: Raiders Thanksgiving game most-watched since 1990

38.5 million people witnessed Las Vegas’ much-needed victory

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
Daniel Carlson and Derek Carr
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

One of the benefits - or drawbacks depending on the outcome of the game - of playing the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving is there’s more attention on the game than just about any other regular-season contest throughout the year. That was never more true than this Thursday when the Las Vegas Raiders beat the Cowboys 36-33 in overtime.

Per a press release from CBS Sports, Las Vegas-Dallas averaged an estimated 38.5 million viewers, the most for a regular-season game since 1990:

CBS Sports’ Thanksgiving Day presentation of Las Vegas’ thrilling overtime win over Dallas on Thursday, Nov. 25 (4:35-8:32 PM, ET), projects to be the most-watched NFL regular-season game on any network since 1990 (NY Giants-San Francisco 49ers, 41.474 million, ABC, 12/3/90). The game delivered an estimated average viewership of 38.531 million, up +26% from last year’s comparable game window (30.680 million on FOX from 4:38-7:47 pm), based on preliminary data.

The Raiders-Cowboys game also is the most-watched television program on any network since Super Bowl LV programming on CBS on Feb. 7, 2021.

Paramount+, featuring live NFL ON CBS local market games, scored an NFL regular-season viewership record for total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers while registering triple-digit year-over-year growth in streaming minutes and unique viewers from Thanksgiving Day 2020.

Viewership numbers are based upon preliminary data from Nielsen Fast Nationals and CBS’ estimated out-of-home-audience, based on historical trends. Final data will be available on Tuesday.

While the Cowboys are of course a big factor in this equation and have a large fan base of tier own, unprecedented numbers like these speak to how large and loyal Raider Nation is. As I’m sure you know, Dallas hosts a game on Thanksgiving every year and the game always pulls in ratings, but never like this year’s, obviously.

So, that means there were plenty of Raider fans tuning in from outside of just Las Vegas and that’s coming off an outing against the Bengals where the outlook for the rest of the season looked bleak.

It’s also interesting to note that the game smashed streaming records as well. As the rest of the world starts to cut the cord, so does Raider Nation.

The overall point here is, no matter what the day is, how the season is going or how the game is broadcasted, the Nation will bluster in from sea, with a rollicking song, sweeping along and swaggering boisterously.

In other Raiders links:

  • Raiders get more love from The 33rd Team: “Hobbs has been perhaps the best surprises to come out of the draft, and played well on Sunday once again. The lightning-quick nickel corner had 4 tackles and allowed just 2 catches for 11 yards, good for a grade of 75.1,” via their Week 11 rookie report.
  • Strained IT band for Waller: the Raiders got a bit of a scare on Thursday when their superstar tight end went down and didn’t return to the game, but they got some good news on Friday as it’s not a serious knee injury.
  • Cowboys DT takes a swing at Simpson: Trysten Hill went up to Las Vegas’ guard after the game and punched John Simpson’s helmet off to start a small skirmish.
  • Get your copy of the Allegiant Stadium blueprint: Ballpark Blueprints is offering Silver and Black Pride readers 10 percent off by using promo code: SILVERANDBLACK for their copy of the layout for the Raiders’ new home.