NFL ratings: Fox Sports up, 'Sunday Night Football' down in initial ratings


This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Initial ratings are in for the NFL’s Sunday slate of games, and the ratings decline evident from Thursday’s kickoff continued through to the league’s marquee telecast, “Sunday Night Football.” However, Fox Sports recorded its best ratings since 2016 for its Game of the Week.

Sunday afternoon’s marquee game pitted two of the NFL’s most notable players, Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady vs. New Orleans’ Drew Brees. They played in an almost exclusive window as only two other games were airing at the time. The result was a major payoff for Fox.

Saints-Bucs drew a 16.2/35 overnight rating, which was Fox’s highest such rating for a Week 1 game since 2016. Fox Sports PR projects that the game is on pace to become the most-watched event of any kind since the Super Bowl, eclipsing Thursday night’s Chiefs-Texans game and February’s Academy Awards.

The telecast ratings are up 2 percent over last year, and that’s without yet counting the full New Orleans rating.

In a tight matchup that featured one of the NFL’s top draws, “Sunday Night Football” saw sharp declines in initial ratings from 2019, according to initial results reported by Deadline. Sunday night’s Rams-Cowboys game notched a 4.7 in early ratings among the most prized demographic, adults 18-49, with 14.81 million viewers. Those numbers will rise as West Coast viewership is factored in, but at the moment, it’s a steep decline from 2019 numbers.

Last year’s New England Patriots-Pittsburgh Steelers game had a total audience of 22.2 million television viewers and a total of 22.7 million with digital viewers added in, a total roughly equal to 2018’s game.

Once again: early ratings are always lower than final totals, which include the West Coast — notable given that the Rams were one of last night’s teams — late respondents and out-of-home viewership. Even so, it’s u... (Read more)

Submitted 13 days ago

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