NBC notches 22.7m viewers for NFL opener

Comcast-owned network also claims streaming record for Packers win over Bears.

by Steven Impey

NBC notches 22.7m viewers for NFL opener

US broadcaster NBC Sports’ drew an average 22.7 million viewers across all of its channels for the National Football League (NFL) opener between the Green Bay Packer and the Chicago Bears.

The kick-off match of the 2019/20 season on 5th September’s was the most-watched sporting event in the US since the Super Bowl in February, NBC's telecast scored a preliminary 15.3 household rating in overnight metered markets. That rating is 14 per cent up from the 2018 opener, which scored a 13.4 in the overnights, and also bests the 14.6 for the first game of the 2017 season.

The network’s broadcast of the Packers’ 10-3 victory over Bears also marks the network’s most-streamed regular-season fixture ever, climbing ten per cent from last season, according to data released by industry analyst Nielsen.

A breakdown of the numbers shows that NBC’s TV coverage peaked at 23.9 million viewers and averaged 22 million viewers for the duration of the production, while distribution via NBC Sports’ digital platforms also drew 627,000 viewers – the highest ever for a game on the network’s primetime NFL slate.

Overall, the Comcast-owned broadcaster notched its highest ratings for an opening day fixture in two years, and a 16 per cent increase on last year’s kick-off game between Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, which drew 19.6 million viewers.

The 2019 opener retains continues the trend from last season, where the NFL enjoyed a rebound in viewership. The NFL's regular-season TV ratings across all its domestic broadcast outlets improved by five per cent in 2018 after two years of declines.

This is definitely good news for the broadcasters and they are seeing the results. According to the Ad Age, the NFL’s advertising sale prices are also up between five and ten per cent following a slump last season, with the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots clash set to be one of the ‘most expensive buys’ this season.