Back to Back Football at NBC delivers most watched in 14 years


Most Watched First Weekend (Sun/Mon) Primetime Game in 14 Years; 25.3 Million For Game Up 20% Over Last Year’s Opening SNF Game. BACK TO FOOTBALL: Two-Game Average of 26.3 Million Best Since Inception of Thursday/Sunday Format in 2002. Thursday & Sunday Night Games Top Two Primetime Show of the Week.
The “Sunday Night Football” opener featuring the Cowboys vs. Redskins on NBC Sports was the most-watched Week 1 (Sunday or Monday*) primetime game in 14 years and is the most-watched “Sunday Night Football” game ever according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company.
Additionally, the Thursday NFL Kickoff and the SNF game are the No. 1 and No. 2 primetime programs of the week among viewers, households and all key demographics.
The Redskins 13-7 victory over the Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football” was seen by an average of 25.3 million viewers (8:31-11:40 p.m. ET), the most for any Week 1 (Sunday or Monday) primetime game since Sept. 2, 1996 (Cowboys-Bears, 27.7M on ABC) and the most ever for “Sunday Night Football” since the NFL’s premier primetime package returned to NBC in 2006, surpassing such games as the original “Manning Bowl” in 2006 (22.6 million) and last year’s opening of the new Cowboys Stadium (24.8 million). The viewership was up 20 percent over last year’s opening SNF game (21.1 million for Bears-Packers). See full list of top SNF viewership below. 
*The only primetime NFL broadcast to draw more viewers than last night’s game dating back to 1997 was Thursday’s NFL Kickoff game between the Vikings and Saints, which drew 27.5 million viewers.
BACK TO FOOTBALL: NBC’s two-game viewership of 26.3 million is the best since the NFL created the Thursday/Sunday primetime weekend in 2002 and is up 25 percent over last year’s 15.9 million for the opening weekend on NBC.
Thursday’s Vikings-Saints (27.5M) and Sunday’s Cowboys-Redskins (25.3M) rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 most-watched NBC regular-season primetime NFL broadcasts ever.
The Thursday NFL Kickoff on NBC, which featured reports from CBS’s Phil Simms, Fox’s Troy Aikman and ESPN’s Jon Gruden about their respective weekend NFL coverage, kicked off the NFL’s first weekend in which all of the NFL’s broadcasters enjoyed ratings increases.
*Sundays Only
1. 9/12/10, Cowboys-Redskins, 25.3 million (Sunday Night’s Game)
2. 9/20/09, Giants-Cowboys, 24.8 million (Dallas Cowboys stadium debut)
3. 12/14/08, Giants-Cowboys, 23.1 million
4. 9/10/06, Colts-Giants, 22.6 million (“Manning Bowl I”)
5. 11/15/09, Patriots-Colts, 22.4 million
6. 9/21/08, Cowboys-Packers, 22.2 million
T7. 11/8/09, Cowboys-Eagles, 21.9 million
T7. 11/5/06, Colts-Patriots, 21.9 million
9. 11/25/07, Eagles-Patriots, 21.8 million
10. 9/13/09, Bears-Packers, 21.1 million
*9/9/10, Vikings-Saints, 27.5 million (Thursday Night Opener)
1. 9/12/10, Cowboys-Redskins, 25.3 million  
2. 9/10/06, Colts-Giants, 22.6 million (“Manning Bowl I”)
3. 9/13/09, Bears-Packers, 21.1 million  
4. 9/9/07, Giants-Cowboys, 18.2 million  
5. 9/7/08, Bears-Colts, 18.4 million   
The 15.0/25 rating for the Cowboys-Redskins is up 19 percent over last year’s SNF season opener (Bears-Packers, 12.6/21) and is the second highest-rated SNF game only trailing the Giants-Cowboys game last year that opened the Cowboys Stadium (15.1/25).  The two-game average rating of 15.7/26 is 24 percent higher than last year (12.7/21) and is the highest first two-game rating since the inception of the Thursday/Sunday primetime weekend in 2002.
The rating peaked at a 16.5/32 from 11:30-11:45 p.m. ET.
DOMINATED PRIMETIME: Thursday’s Vikings-Saints game (27.5 million) and Sunday Night’s Cowboys-Redskins game (25.3 million) rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 primetime programs of the week among viewers, households and in all key demographics.
NBC won Sunday night by all key ratings measures.  Among viewers NBC’s margin of victory was 63 percent, or more than 8.0 million persons in total viewers over the second place network (20.9 million vs. 12.8 million for Fox, which was boosted by an NFL overrun).   In adults 18-49, NBC’s margin of victory over the No. 2 network was 50 percent (7.8 vs. 5.2 for Fox).
For the night (from 7:30-11 p.m. ET), NBC averaged 20.9 million viewers and a 7.8/20 in Adults 18-49, up 17 percent in total viewers and eight percent in Adults 18-49 rating versus the same night last year. 
This was the highest rated Sunday primetime performance for any network in both viewers and Adults 18-49 since ABC’s coverage of the Academy Awards on March 7.
SNF 1 FOR 1: With 25.3 million viewers, “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched show on Sunday night.  Last season, SNF was the most- watched Sunday night primetime broadcast in a record 15 of 16 (94 percent) weeks.  In 2008, SNF won 13 of 16 (81 percent) Sunday nights after winning 11 of 16 in 2007 (69 percent) and nine of 16 in 2006 (56 percent). 
1. Dallas  39.6/58
2. Washington, D.C. 37.2/57
3. San Antonio 32.9/44
4. Richmond  32.1/46
5. Norfolk  30.5/43
6. Austin  26.3/39
7. New Orleans 25.3/34
8. Baltimore  22.6/34
9. Charlotte  21.6/33
10. Albuquerque 21.1/31
Interestingly, it is rare that markets not in the Top 10 score overnight ratings of more than a 20, but that was the case last night for Oklahoma City (20.1/29) and Nashville (20.0/29).  Additionally, Philadelphia with a 19.7/29, ranked 14th.
(source: NBC)