Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Welcomes Back Crowd – and Grows in TV Viewership to 21 Million

2021 edition is up 1 million from last year’s spectator-free version

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The 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade welcomed back fans and an extra million viewers compared to last year’s spectator-free edition. Thursday’s annual Holiday season kickoff drew 21.7 million viewers on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon, in addition to a 5.5 rating among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen fast nationals.

Last year’s parade drew 20.7 million total viewers, the annual event’s smallest TV audience since 1996, the last time theManhattan march was last below 20 million total TV viewers.

When adding an encore telecast for West Coast viewers who did not want to get up at 6 a.m., NBC drew 25.4 million viewers and a 6.4 demo rating.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a consistent and reliable ratings hit for NBC. See how the previous dozen Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades have fared here. In 2013, the parade topped 25 million viewers, the largest sum of this grouping.

The 2021 National Dog Show followed Santa Claus’ parade arrival, and fetched 11.2 million total viewers to go along with its 2.8 demo rating from noon to 2 p.m. That was down some from last year (11.3 million viewers, 3.4 demo rating).

Viewership info for NBC’s primetime NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints will be out later on Friday. The game was one-sided affair that the Bills dominated 31-6. Maybe the Saints had too much turkey beforehand. It was still better than last year, when there was no primetime game due to a COVID outbreak among the Baltimore Ravens, which postponed their games (twice) against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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