In one of the better primetime NFL kickoff games we’ve seen in recent seasons, Brady and reigning Super Bowl champs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended any change of an early unbeaten streak for the Dallas Cowboys with a 31-29 victory at home.
Absent a blowout and with top-tier teams on the field, you’d expect the game to do well in ratings and viewership – and it did, very well. The final numbers have the game scoring 24.4 million viewers on the Comcast-owned net, making it the most-watched small-screen event since the 91.6 million who tuned in back in February to watch the Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs on CBS in what was one of the least-watched Super Bowls ever.
Apples to apples and season openers to season openers, last night’s game was up 26% in sets of eyeballs from the 2020-2021 kickoff, when the Chiefs and the Houston Texans squared off on September 10 last year. It should be noted that last year’s NFL season opener was up against both the NBA and NHL playoffs, including the big draw L.A. Lakers in the former.
Once you add in the game streaming on Peacock, plus NBC Sports Digital and NFL digital platforms, last night’s Tampa Bay-Dallas game snared a Total Audience Delivery of 26 million. Or put another way, that’s the best an NFL season opener has done since 2015, which went on to be the most watched NFL season ever. Looking at the TAD for the 2020-2021 kickoff game, last night’s season opener was up 20% in viewership for NBC, according to Nielsen and Adobe Analytics.
Now, last night’s results do not include the vital (especially for Cowboys fans) out-of-home viewing. When those results come out early next week, expect to see the number head upward even more.
Until then, see you on the weekend for the Sunday Night Football season launch when the Los Angeles Rams take on the Chicago Bears.
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