UPDATE, 12:25 PM: The game ended over 12 hours ago and now the final numbers are in from last night’s NFL season opener.
The primetime match-up between the easily victorious Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans snared 19.3 million viewers.
That’s a fumble of 12.3% from the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears opening game of the 2019-2020 season on September 5. With racial justice center stage at the beginning of the game, the contest between the mid-market reigning Super Bowl champions and the Lone Star state team is up just a touch over the 9-year low of the weather delayed 2018 season opener low in total sets of eyeballs.
Additionally, there were both NBA and NHL playoffs on last night, most noticeably, with the LA Lakers besting the Houston Rockets 110-100 to lead their match-up three games to one.
When data from NBC Sports Digital and NFL Digital platforms are added to Thursday’s NFL battle, the 8:28 – 11:05 PM ET game had a Total Audience Delivery of 20.3 million. That’s an 11% drop from last year’s TAD, even with the digital numbers up 55% over 2019 to a non-Super Bowl high. Last night’s game peaked at 22 million viewers early in the 9:15 – 9:30 PM ET period.
An easy win for NBC on Thursday night, the kickoff game is the most watched sporting event since KC beat the 49ers on February 2 in Super Bowl LIV. Then again, its not like there’s been a lot of live sports since March and the coronavirus pandemic pulled the plug on games across the sporting world.
However, while not a touchdown start, this first NFL game of what is already an extraordinary season in the time of COVID-19 may prove to be opening night jitters, so to speak – depending on what happens this weekend.
There’s the so-called Battle of the GOATS that occurs Sunday on Fox when now Tampa Bay Buccaneer Tom Brady meets up with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the Louisiana town. And of course, there’s the LA Rams vs the Dallas Cowboys that very evening on Sunday Night Football too in an audience-less stadium in the smoggy City of Angels. Big drama, and big teams, especially the Cowboys, usually equal big numbers for the NFL and the networks.
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