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Ratings Roundup: Week 1 of NFL Action Receives Mixed Bag With Loaded Sports Schedule

16/09/2020

Ratings Roundup: Week 1 of NFL Action Receives Mixed Bag With Loaded Sports Schedule By Kristian Hernandez, Associate Editor

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 10:07 am

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Ratings roundup is a rundown of rating news from the past week and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week's edition, numbers from Week 1 of the NFL roll in, Notre Dame returns to NBC, and more.

NFL Week 1

The first game of ESPN's signature NFL Week 1 Monday Night Football doubleheader - Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7 p.m. ET) - delivered cable's third-highest audience for a sporting event in 2020 and cable's best in the category since January, as the game averaged 10,760,000 viewers. Compared to last year, the game was down 21%.

Inclusive of all cable programs in 2020 - sports and beyond - the audience for Steelers-Giants ranks as the fourth best overall, trailing ESPN's presentation of the CFP National Championship on January 13 and the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day, in addition to the State of the Union Address on February 4 (Fox News).

The audience for the Steelers' victory surpassed ESPN's audience for the 2018 MNF doubleheader opening game between the New York Jets and Detroit Lions (10.4 million viewers), but trailed last year's corresponding game, a thrilling come-from-behind victory for the New Orleans Saints over Houston.

Additional Steelers-Giants Highlights:

ESPN's audience peaked at 13,101,000 viewers (9-9:15 p.m.)

Inclusive of ESPN's Deportes, the viewership was 10,810,000 fans

Local markets: Pittsburgh was the top market, drawing a 36.1 local rating across both WTAE (25.9) and ESPN (10.2). New York, the No. 3 market, finished with a 10.5 rating across WPIX (4.1) and ESPN (6.4)

Other markets include:

Philadelphia (11.1)

Baltimore (10.1)

Washington, DC & Denver (10.0)

Norfolk & West Palm Beach (9.9)

Cleveland & Columbus (9.8)

ESPN's second game of the Monday Night Football doubleheader featuring the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos (10:15 p.m.) delivered an audience of 7,697,000 which ranks among the top six most-viewed sporting events on cable in 2020. Compared to last year, the game was down 38%. ESPN has now aired seven sporting events with more than seven million viewers in 2020, a feat no other cable network has accomplished once.

The annual MNF doubleheader lead ESPN to Win the Night, as the network was the most-watched across broadcast and cable in primetime among households, viewers, and key demos (M18-34, M18-49, M25-54, P18-34, P18-49, P25-54).

More on Tennessee-Denver:

Inclusive of ESPN Deportes, the viewership jumps to 7,730,000 people

Denver was the No. 1 local market, drawing a 26.2 local rating combined across KTVD (14.1) and ESPN (12.1). Nashville was the second-rated market with a 17.7 rating across WZTV (9.1) and ESPN (8.6).

Other markers include:

Seattle-Tacoma (8.5)

San Diego (8.2)

Kansas City (7.9)

San Francisco (7.8)

Las Vegas (7.2)

Phoenix (7.1)

Sacramento & Memphis (6.8)

Fox Sports ushered in its 27th season of NFL coverage Sunday with an average of more than 25 million viewers for America's Game of the Week (AGOTW), combining with Fox's best Week 1 regional performance in four years to score the network's most-watched opening week since 2016.

According to Nielsen Media Research, AGOTW, the No. 1 show on TV for 11 consecutive years, scored the most-watched telecast since Super Bowl LIV on Fox in February. The game, pitting Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in Brady's debut as a Buc, drew an average audience of 25,848,000, up 7% over last year's Week 1 performance of 24,216,000 viewers.

Fox's regional games posted their best Week 1 performance since 2016, scoring an average viewership of 13,530,000, up 6% over last year's 12,723,000 viewers between the Giants and the Cowboys.

On the streaming side, Week 1 accounted for Fox's most-streamed NFL regular-season Sunday ever an 84% increase over last year's opening Sunday with an average minute audience (AMA) of 592,144 across regional and national windows. AGOTW drew an AMA of 647,000 and 3.5 million unique streamers, leading to the network's most-streamed NFL regular-season window ever. Fox also set a record for its regional windows, with an AMA of 537,000 and 3.8 million unique streamers.

Key highlights are below:

AGOTW drew an average audience of 25,848,000 million, up 7% over last year's Week 1 performance of 24,216,000 viewers

Most-watched telecast of any kind since Super Bowl LIV on Fox

Fox's most-watched Week 1 national game since 2016

Key demographic ratings increases over 2019 include:

A18-34 8% 6.09 vs. 5.66 rating

A18-49 3% 7.88 vs. 7.62 rating

A25-54 4% 9.41 vs. 9.08 rating

Fox Regional Games

Average viewership of 13,530,000, up 6% over last year's 12,723,000 viewers

Fox's best Week 1 regional performance since 2016

Despite the largest fourth-quarter deficit (24 points) in an NFL Kickoff Game in seven years, the Kansas City Chiefs' 34-20 victory over the Houston Texans in the opening game of the NFL season averaged a preliminary Total Audience Delivery of 20.3 million viewers across NBC TV, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms - making it the most-watched sporting event since Super Bowl LIV in February, according to Fast National data released today by Nielsen, and digital data from Adobe Analytics.

NBC's TV coverage peaked at 22.0 million viewers between 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET, and topped 20 million viewers in every quarter-hour from 8:45 p.m. ET through 9:45 p.m. ET. The broadcast averaged 19.3 million viewers on NBC.

With 20.3 million viewers, the NFL Kickoff Game is only the second show si
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2020/09/16/ratings-roundup-week-1-of-nfl-a...
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