NFL Preseason Opener Ratings Surge Over 2014, ‘Bachelor In Paradise’ Steady, ‘Big Brother’ Rises – Update

UPDATE, 8:47 AM: It was pretty clear from the metered market numbers earlier this morning and now the fast nationals have taken the ball into the end zone to score a solid Sunday night win for NBC. With a 2.7/9 rating and 8.28 million viewers thanks to the 8–11 PM 2015 NFL Preseason kickoff, the network easily won last night’s primetime. A repeat heavy CBS came in second with a 1.0/4 and 5.98 million viewers. In fast nationals, the Viking’s winning Hall of Fame game itself had a 3.2/11 result among adults 18-49 to surge 28% over last year’s New York Giants and Buffalo Bills match-up. The August 3, 2014 battle went up to a 2.8/10 in the key demo and 8.53 million viewers. Viewership-wise, early numbers have 9.70 million tuning in for last night’s HoF game. That’s up 27% from the preliminary audience for the 2014 preseason opener. This being live sports, expect adjustments on last night’s game.

On a night that had the Season 2 finale of True Detective on HBO as well as the dominating NFL on NBC, Fox was all encores on Sunday while The CW had local programming.The only original on CBS last night was Big Brother (2.1/7) at 8 PM. Hitting a Sunday season high among the 18-49s, the vet reality show was up 11% over its August 2 show.

The second Sunday of the second season of Bachelor In Paradise (1.2/4) saw the search for love steady with last week’s debut with a 3% bop up in the key demo. Coming out of that and competing against the NFL on NBC, ABC finished the night with Save My Life: Boston Trauma (0.6/2), which was down 25% from last week.

PREVIOUS, 8:09 AM: The 2015 NFL preseason opened with a 14-3 win for the Minnesota Vikings over the Pittsburgh Steelers in last night’s Hall of Fame Game. With memories and tributes to Frank Gifford, who passed away Sunday, a big part of yesterday’s NFL match-up, the game itself may have been low-scoring but it delivered a very nice result for NBC. In metered market results, the Vikings vs. Steelers battle in Canton, Ohio snagged a 6.9/12.

That’s up 19% from the 5.8 MM rating that the 2014 kickoff game between Gifford’s old team the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills drew on August 3 last year. The top 5 markets for Sunday’s game were Minneapolis 22.6/38, Pittsburgh 19.6/32, New Orleans 11.4/16, Tulsa 10.4/17 and Albuquerque with a 10.2/18.

Last night’s Vikings and Steelers game was the best any preseason game has done on NBC or any other network since the August 26, 2012 game between the Carolina Panthers and the NY Jets – that game got a 7.5 in MM results. It also matched NBC’s first Hall of Fame game from 2006 as the top overnight the net’s done in such a kick0ff – well, a kickoff that didn’t see the Dallas Cowboys on the field.

Looking long term at the kickoff games, the 2014 Preseason kickoff was down 13% from the 2013 Preseason opener. Back to this season – there’s another preseason game on August 30 with the Raiders up against the Cardinals and the season opener on September 10 that sees the Steelers taking on the slightly deflated current Super Bowl champs the New England Patriots. Then Sunday Night Football takes the field formally for its season on September 13 when the Giants play fellow mega-market team the Cowboys.

We’ll update with more NFL ratings plus the numbers from the rest of primetime later, however, here’s some Preseason opening context to tide you over. The August 3, 2014 game had a 2.5/8 in fast nationals with 7.63 million watching the 8–11 PM broadcast. That was down 26% from the 3.4 that the 2013 Preseason opener had in fast nationals. Last year’s Giants and Bulls NFL Hall of Fame game, which the former rallied to win 17-13, ended up with a 2.8/10 among adults 18-49 and 8.53 million viewers.

And, for those of you who grew up watching Gifford play and comment on pro-football, watch what Al Michaels had to say last night about the icon:

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