NBC's 'NFL Kickoff' most-watched ever; Vikings-Saints over 27 Million+


Most-Watched “NFL Kickoff” Ever: 27.5 Million Watch Vikings-Saints. Most-Watched NFL Opening Weekend Game in 14 Years. Dominated Primetime Competition By 17.5 Million Over Second Place Network.
Last night’s, Thursday,  ‘NFL Kickoff’ was the most-watched NFL regular season primetime game on any one network in 14 years. The Vikings-Saints NFL season opener on NBC Sports was also the most-watched ‘NFL Kickoff’ ever and the most-watched regular season primetime game ever on NBC, according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company.
“This record viewership speaks to the power of the NFL and our country’s extraordinary appetite for football,” said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. “This time of year is very special for so many football fans. We were fortunate to be able to cover the story of Brett Favre and the Vikings return to New Orleans. And we fully embraced the opportunity to provide a showcase for the city of New Orleans and the proud people of the Gulf region to celebrate such a unique and meaningful moment.
“On the business side, this shows what can happen when we apply a strategic, multi-platform marketing approach to put a broad promotional blitz behind a project. We take tremendous pride in our ability to build a big, broad audience for our partners.”
The rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game won by the Saints 14-9 in the Louisiana Superdome, was seen by 27.5 million viewers (8:42-11:25 p.m. ET) and reached several viewership milestones:
The most-watched regular season primetime NFL rating on any one network in 14 years (since 31.5 million for Green Bay-Dallas on Nov. 18, 1996 on ABC).
The most-watched NFL Opening Weekend game in 14 years (since 27.7 million for Dallas-Chicago on Sept. 2, 1996 on ABC).
The most watched regular season primetime game on NBC ever, 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). Full list below.
The viewership for last night’s game far surpasses the previous best Thursday night “NFL Kickoff” game by 5.6 million viewers and 27 percent (Titans-Steelers OT, 20.9 million viewers last year). Full list below.
‘BIG EASY’ BIGGER THAN SUPER BOWL: Surprisingly, the local market rating in New Orleans surpassed the rating the city scored for the Saints’ Super Bowl victory in February, which nationally was the most watched Super Bowl in history. Last night’s NFL Kickoff earned a 60 rating, a seven percent increase over the 56.3 rating the Crescent City scored for the Super Bowl.
DOMINATED PRIMETIME: NBC dominated primetime (8-11 p.m.) with 24.3 million viewers overall, 17.5 million more than and 257 percent higher than CBS’s second-place 6.8 million.  NBC topped the combined audiences of CBS, ABC (4.9 million), Fox (3.5 million) and CW (3.5 million).
1. 2010: NBC 27.5 million (New Orleans 14 – Minnesota 9)
2. 2009: NBC 20.9 million (Pittsburgh 13 – Tennessee 10)
3. 2006: NBC 19.2 million (Pittsburgh 28 – Miami 17)
4. 2003: ABC 19.1 million (Washington 16 – NY Jets 13)
5. 2005: ABC 18.0 million (New England 30 – Oakland 20)
6. 2007: NBC 17.8 million (Indianapolis 41 – New Orleans 10)
7. 2004: ABC 16.9 million (New England 27 – Indianapolis 24)
8. *2008: NBC 13.5 million (NY Giants 16 – Washington 7)
9. 2002: ESPN 10.8 million (San Francisco 16 – NY Giants 13)
* Early start due to Republican National Convention
1.  27.5 million, Vikings-Saints, 9/9/10 (last night’s game)
2.  24.8 million, Giants-Cowboys, 9/20/09 (Dallas Cowboys Stadium Opener)
3.  23.1 million, Giants-Cowboys, 12/14/08
4.  22.6 million, Colts-Giants, 9/10/06 (“Manning Bowl”)
5.  22.4 million, Patriots-Colts, 11/15/09
6.  22.2 million, Cowboys-Packers, 9/21/08
T7.  21.9 million, Cowboys-Eagles, 11/8/09
T7.  21.9 million, Colts-Patriots, 11/5/06
9.  21.8 million, Eagles-Patriots, 11/25/07
10.  21.1 million, Bears-Packers, 9/13/09
BEST RATING IN 12 YEARS: Last night’s game had a household rating of 16.5/28, the highest-rated regular season NFL primetime game on any network since 16.8/27 rating for Minnesota-Green Bay on Oct. 5, 1998, and the highest-rated regular season primetime game ever on NBC. The rating is up 29 percent from last year’s NFL Kickoff (Titans-Steelers, 12.8/22), and up 28 percent over the prior NFL Kickoff game record set in 2003 by the NY Jets at Washington (12.9/22 on ABC).
1. New Orleans, 60.0/78
2. Minneapolis, 43.8/64
3. Milwaukee, 33.3/52
4. Las Vegas, 23.5/36
5. Nashville, 23.3/33
6. Norfolk, 22.7/34
7. Washington, D.C., 22.6/36
8. Indianapolis, 22.5/35
9. Baltimore, 22.1/34
10. Charlotte, 22.0/36

(source: NBC)