Fewer viewers for NFL Kickoff rout
fewer viewers for nfl kickoff rout

Fewer viewers for NFL Kickoff rout

The NFL season got off to a slower start in the ratings with a lopsided Kickoff Game.

Thursday’s Bills-Rams NFL Kickoff Game averaged 19.94 million viewers on NBC, marking the smallest linear TV audience for the NFL season opener in four years (2018: Falcons-Eagles: 18.98M). Including additional streaming viewership not tracked by Nielsen, the game averaged 21.7 million — down 19% from Cowboys-Buccaneers last year (26.9M) but up slightly from Texans-Chiefs opposite the NBA and NHL playoffs two years ago (21.6M). Ratings were not immediately available.

Even with streaming included, Thursday’s audience was the third-lowest for the Kickoff Game since 2009 (Titans-Steelers: 20.9M) — ahead of only the aforementioned Texans-Chiefs and Falcons-Eagles games. On NBC alone, it was the second-smallest Kickoff Game audience since 2008 (Washington-New York: 13.5M).

The Bills’ easy win — the most lopsided Kickoff Game since 2013 — still delivered television’s largest audience since the night of the Super Bowl. The previous high was 17.66 million (18.5 million including additional streaming viewership) for North Carolina-Duke in the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four.

Other than the one night of the Olympics that followed the Super Bowl, no non-football sporting event has had as large an audience since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series.

Beyond the lopsided nature of the game, NBC also had to contend Thursday with breaking news coverage — though it should be noted that the three cable news networks combined to average fewer viewers in primetime (4.72M) than on the night of the Kickoff Game last year (5.25M).

(Nielsen estimates from NBC Sports, additional info from TV Newser 9.9, 9.10.2021)

The post Fewer viewers for NFL Kickoff rout appeared first on Sports Media Watch.

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