23.9 Million Watch “NFL Kickoff” on NBC; 3rd Most-Watched “NFL Kickoff” Game in 11-Year History

NBC Sports Group

NEW YORK – September 6, 2012 – Last night’s ‘NFL Kickoff’ was the third-most watched “NFL Kickoff” game in the 11-year history of the event, according to fast national data released today by The Nielsen Company. While facing strong competition from the Democratic National Convention, which aired on multiple broadcast and cable networks, the game dominated the night in primetime more than doubling the combined delivery of ABC and CBS.


The NFL East rivalry, won by the Cowboys 24-17 over the Giants in the first NFL game played on a Wednesday since 1948, was seen by 23.9 million viewers (8:41-11:30 p.m. ET), the third-most watched “NFL Kickoff” game, only surpassed by last year’s Saints-Packers thriller, a match-up of the two previous Super Bowl winners (27.1 million), and the 2010 opener (Vikings-Saints, 27.5 million) which featured an NFC Championship Game rematch between the Minnesota Vikings, led by quarterback Brett Favre, and the then-defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.


Last night’s game had a national household rating of 14.7/23, the third-highest rated NFL Kickoff game behind only the last two years (16.5/28 in 2010 and 16.0/26 in 2011).


NBC DOMINATES PRIMETIME: The NFL game on NBC faced strong competition from the Democratic National Convention on CBS and ABC, as well as on multiple cable news networks. The 14.7 rating and 23.9 million for the game more than doubles the night’s primetime averages of ABC and CBS combined, according to preliminary fast-affiliate averages for those networks (3.3/5 in households and 5.1 million viewers overall for CBS from 8-11 p.m. ET, and 2.5/4 and 3.6 million for ABC).




(All Games on Thursday Night Except for Last Night’s)



2012 NBC 23.9 million (Dallas 24 – NY Giants 17)**
2011 NBC 27.1 million (Green Bay 42 – New Orleans 34)
2010 NBC 27.5 million (New Orleans 14 – Minnesota 9)
2009 NBC 20.9 million (Pittsburgh 13 – Tennessee 10)
2008 NBC 13.5 million (NY Giants 16 – Washington 7)*
2007 NBC 17.8 million (Indianapolis 41 – New Orleans 10)
2006 NBC 19.2 million (Pittsburgh 28 – Miami 17)
2005 ABC 18.0 million (New England 30 – Oakland 20)
2004 ABC 16.9 million (New England 27 – Indianapolis 24)
2003 ABC 19.1 million (Washington 16 – NY Jets 13)
2002 ESPN 10.8 million (San Francisco 16 – NY Giants 13)



** Wednesday Night Game (First Wednesday NFL game since 1948)


* Early start due to Republican National Convention





1. Dallas 34.0/50
2. Norfolk 26.8/37
3. Richmond 24.6/35
4. San Antonio 24.5/35
5. Austin 22.5/37
6. Milwaukee 21.6/31
7. Albuquerque 20.0/30
8. New York 20.0/29
9. Indianapolis 19.7/30
10. Washington, D.C. 19.5/31



NOTE: New Orleans market, the No. 1 SNF market in 2011 is excluded from metered market averages due to Hurricane Isaac.


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23.9 Million Watch “NFL Kickoff” on NBC; 3rd Most-Watched “NFL Kickoff” Game in 11-Year History