UPDATE, 12:25 PM: The final score is in, so to speak and Sunday was a very good night for NBC and the NFL. The official season debut of Sunday Night Football hit 26.8 million viewers with two of the biggest teams in the league going helmet-to -helmet. Not only is that up 13% from the 2014 SNF opener but also it is a very close second to the best a SNF debut has ever done viewershipwise. Only the 2012 Broncos vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game, that saw Peyton Manning’s debut in a Denver uniform, performed better with its audience of 27.6 million.
In the key demo of adults 18-49, Sunday’s game, which saw the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants 27-26 at AT&T Stadium, drew a 10.1 rating. That’s up 12% over the comparable game of 2014 and 1% over 2013’s opener. The all time SNF demo record remains the 11.0 that the 2012 game delivered.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY AM: The 2015-2016 season debut of Sunday Night Football (9.2/16) last night was a last-minute 27-26 win for the Dallas Cowboys over the New York Giants and a nice victory for NBC. The game was up 15% in fast nationals results among adults 18-49 compared with the 2014 SNF kickoff on September 7, 2014. Last night’s game on the Cowboys’ home turf of AT&T Stadium is currently 2% ahead of the final 9.0/26 demo ratings of the 2014 opener, which ran from 8:31-11:16 PM. Dipping just 8%, the early numbers from the Cowboy-Giants game are also steady with the final results of SNF‘s 2013 opener – which also pitted the Cowboys against the Giants. While NBC and the NFL easily won the night in total viewership and a 7.6/23 rating in the demo, expect adjustments to the football results to come. In the meantime, check out metered-market results for last night’s game and the top 5 local markets below.
Although attracting a lot of eyes, SNF wasn’t the only big play on TV last night. Fear The Walking Dead returned to AMC after taking Labor Day weekend off, there were regional football overruns on CBS and, pushed into primetime, the U.S. Open men’s final battle between victorious Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on ESPN. And there was the Miss America Competition (1.5/4) on ABC. Facing a night of increased competition over last year’s September 14 broadcast, the live show from dick clark productions is even in fast nationals with 2014, which was a low; last year’s live two-hourMiss America went up to a 1.6/4 in the final numbers. With a long-overdue apology to former Miss America Vanessa Williams, who was a judge last night, and 7.0 million viewers, Miss America bopped up 4% over last year in total audience in preliminary results.
With NFL overruns, CBS’ numbers are tentative but right now Big Brother (2.2/6) is up 5% over last week. With NFL overruns of their own, Fox was all encores Sunday and the CW showed local programming.
PREVIOUS, 6:17 AM: The Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant sadly won’t be making a step to the right for several weeks, but there was a bit of time warp going on last night for the NFL on NBC. The in-season debut of Sunday Night Football saw the comeback Cowboys beat the New York Giants 27-26 at AT&T Stadium in the Lone Star State – almost exactly the same as they did back in the SNF debut on September 8, 2013. Well, that 36-31 game for Dallas was not quite so close, and two years ago it was the Giants who staged a late surge, but again the SNF opener saw big market quarterbacks Tony Romo and Eli Manning facing off.
Last night’s Cowboys-Giants game drew a 16.7/28 in metered market results. That’s up a touch of 0.6% from the 16.6/27 that the 2013 SNF season opener got two years ago. Closer to home, last night’s game rose 11% from the 15.1/25 result that Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos’ 31-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts snagged for last year’s SNF opener on September 7, 2014. To add to the ratings stats, last night’s game was down just 7% from the record-breaking 18.0/29 that the 2012 SNF debut had – a Broncos-Pittsburgh Steelers matching that served as Peyton Manning’s debut in a Denver uniform.
Overall, last night’s SNF beat the previous Cowboys-Giants openers of not just 2013 but also the 13.6/22 of their 2007 matchup. With that in mind, here are the top five markets for last night’s game: Dallas (35.9/55) is no surprise at No. 1, followed by San Antonio (28.5/45), Albuquerque (24.5/37), Richmond (24.4/37) and Austin (23.3/40). Just cause I know you are wondering, New York City was 12th with a 19.3/31.
We’ll update with more NFL numbers and other Sunday ratings as we get them, but in the meantime, let’s add some context. After pulling in an 8.0/22 rating among adults 18-49 and 21.20 million viewers in fast nationals, the Broncos-Colts SNF opener last year went on to get a 9.0/26 rating in the final numbers with 23.69 million watching. The 2014 SNF debut was on a busier primetime with the debut of the ill-fated Utopia on Fox as well as a full slate on CBS, including Big Brother (which was on last night too). To add to the math: the 2013 SNF opener ended up with a 10.0/27 rating and 25.40 million viewers.
The Cowboys’ Bryant looks to be out for the next 4-6 weeks after breaking a bone in his right foot.
— #SEAvsGB (@SNFonNBC) September 14, 2015