'Sunday Night Football': Best Average Viewership in 16 Years

Categories: Network TV Press Releases,TV Sports Ratings & News

Written By

September 21st, 2010

via press release:

Sunday Night Football”: BEST AVERAGE VIEWERSHIP IN 16 YEARS

“Manning Bowl II” Blowout Drew 23.1 Million Viewers & Ties 3rd Best Ever for SNF

Sunday Night Football” Most-Watched Primetime Show for Second Straight Week

SNF 2 For 2 in Sunday Night Wins

NEW YORK – Sept. 21, 2010 – Through the first two weeks of the NFL season (three broadcasts), NBC is averaging 25.3 million viewers, the most for the first two primetime weeks in 16 years (25.5 million in 1994 on ABC: two broadcasts), according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company.

  • NBC Sports’ three NFL broadcasts this season rank as three of the top four (tied) most-watched NFL regular-season primetime broadcasts ever.
    • Last Thursday's NFL Kickoff: Vikings-Saints (27.5 million)
    • Week 1 SNF: Cowboys-Redskins (25.3 million)
    • Week 2 SNF: Giants-Colts blowout (23.1 million)
  • NBC’s three-game viewership of 25.3 million is up 13 percent over last year’s 22.3 million for the opening two weeks of the NFL season and up 52 percent over the first two weeks in 2008 (16.6 million).

“MANNING BOWL II” BLOWOUT TOPS ORIGINAL “MANNING BOWL”: Despite Sunday night’s Colts 38-14 blowout over the Giants in “Manning Bowl II,” the viewership for “Sunday Night Football” surpassed the much-hyped original “Manning Bowl,” which opened the Colts and Giants 2006 season and was the debut game for NBC's “Sunday Night Football.” Sunday night's Colts rout ties for the third-best audience in SNF history.

The game, in which the Colts led 24-0 at halftime, was seen by an average of 23.1 million people, a gain of two percent over “Manning Bowl I” (22.6 million in Week 1, 2006 - Colts won 26-21) and is tied for the third most-watched SNF game ever.  See chart below. Also:

SNF NO. 1 SHOW OF THE WEEK: For the second straight week “Sunday Night Football” was the No. 1 primetime broadcast of the week among viewers, households and all the key demos.

DOMINATED SUNDAY NIGHT: “Sunday Night Football” once again powered NBC to win the night in primetime.  NBC led the night (7:30-11 p.m. ET) with an average of 20.0 million viewers nearly seven million more and a 50-percent increase over second place CBS (7-11 p.m. ET), which was boosted by a 44-minute NFL overrun. NBC generated more than four times the viewership of both Fox (4.4 million) and ABC (4.2 million) for the night.

  • In the advertiser coveted Adults 18-49 demo, NBC averaged a 7.9 in primetime (7:30-11 p.m. ET) beating the combined results of CBS (4.0 from 7-11 p.m. ET), Fox (2.0/5 from 7-10 p.m. ET) and ABC (1.1 from 7-11 p.m. ET).

SNF NOW 2 FOR 2: With 23.1 million viewers, “Sunday Night Football” was the most-watched show on Sunday night for the second straight week this season.  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). 

MOST WATCHED “SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” GAMES:

*Sundays Only

1. 9/12/10, Cowboys-Redskins, 25.3 million (SNF: Week 1)

2. 9/20/09, Giants-Cowboys, 24.8 million (Dallas Cowboys stadium debut)

T3. 09/19/10, Giants-Colts, 23.1 million (Sunday Night – “Manning Bowl II”)

T3. 12/14/08, Giants-Cowboys, 23.1 million

5. 9/10/06, Colts-Giants, 22.6 million (Original “Manning Bowl”)

6. 11/15/09, Patriots-Colts, 22.4 million

7. 9/21/08, Cowboys-Packers, 22.2 million

T8. 11/8/09, Cowboys-Eagles, 21.9 million

T8. 11/5/06, Colts-Patriots, 21.9 million

10. 11/25/07, Eagles-Patriots, 21.8 million

*The NFL Kickoff Opener on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 between the Vikings and Saints generated an average viewership of 27.5 million people.

The 23.1 million viewers and the 13.8/23 national rating for Sunday night’s game are only eight and nine percent, respectively, below the Week 2 game last season, the much-hyped opening of the new $1.3 billion Cowboys Stadium that the Giants won 33-31 and, at the time, was the most-watched and highest-rated game in “Sunday Night Football” history (24.8 million, 15.1/25).

The three-game average household rating of 15.1/25 is the best through the first two weeks of the NFL season in 11 years (15.7/26 in 1999 on ABC).  The 15.1/25 is 12 percent higher than last year’s first two weekends (13.5/23) and 48 percent ahead of the first two weeks in 2008 (10.2/17).

TOP METERED MARKETS FOR GIANTS-COLTS:

1. Indianapolis, 44.9/61

2. New Orleans, 30.6/41

3. Las Vegas, 23.2/34

4. Nashville, 23.1/32

T5. Norfolk, 19.5/29

T5. Knoxville, 19.5/28

7. Richmond, 18.8/29

8. Dayton, 18.0/27

T9. Charlotte, 17.8/27

T9. Milwaukee, 17.8/27

11. New York, 17.7/27

SNF AND “FOOTBALL NIGHT” VIDEO AVAILABLE: Video from “Sunday Night Football” and “Football Night in America” is available on NBCSports.com to be embedded on media websites. Click here to watch or embed Al and Cris wrapping up “Manning Bowl II,” ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio’s NFL Week 2 recap, Andrea’s post-game interview with Dwight Freeney and more: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/39264088#39264088

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