(UPDATED with final ratings) Andrew Lincoln’s highly hyped exit from The Walking Dead caught a lot of people’s attention, but it was the battle of the greats on Sunday Night Football that America really bit into.
Clearly intended as a ratings magnet for the NFL and NBC, the second only head-to-head between New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers did not disappoint on or off the field.
In the end, after a victory lap by World Series champs the Boston Red Sox, the Patriots were top dogs with a hard fought 31-17 triumph over Rodgers and the Packers:
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 5, 2018
The win for Brady and the boys was their sixth in a row and the Patriots’ 10th consecutive victory at home at Gillette Stadium. It was also a big big victory for the Comcast-owned network in a season that has seen ratings up and down, twisting and turning.
Scoring a TV touchdown, the game drew a massive 23.7 million viewers and an obviously night topping 7.4/28 rating among adults 18-49.
That’s a season high and the most watched NFL season Week 9 SNF has ever had on NBC. Now, it was widely anticipated that a Patriots v. Packers game would attract a lot of attention but few probably thought it would end up being the most watched show on the Big 4 since the 26.5 million the declining Oscars drew on March 5.
Pulling back a bit to a bigger picture, and very important to the NFL and NBC for bragging rights, at this point halfway through the season, SNF is up 8% from the ratings hobbled season of 2017. Yeah, it isn’t any great leap, but the league and the broadcaster need all the traction that they can get and a win is still a win.
Up against TWD on cable and a celebration of nonagenarian Mickey Mouse on ABC, Sunday Night Football caught a 15.6/26 in metered market ratings.
That’s a clear season high for NBC’s NFL flagship show and the best any primetime show has done since the Academy Awards’ snagged an 18.9 in the early metrics on March 5. Adding to the accolades, the Brady v. Rodgers SNF is the best Week 9 result NBC has had in the 13-years that they show has been on the net.
Compared to last year’s comparable Raiders v Dolphins match-up, this weekend’s SNF rocketed up an almost unheard of 63% in the metered markets. Week-to-week, the November 4 SNF rose 51% from what the New Orleans Saints’ win over the Minnesota Vikings pulled in. It should be noted that the October 28 face-off was up against Game 5 of the World Series, the one that clinched it for the Red Sox.
Also facing a World Series Game 5 last year, that Raiders and Miami Dolphins game of October 29, 2017 went on to have a viewership of 13.9 million with a 4.8/15 rating among adults 18-49. Last week’s Saints winner has 14.09 million viewers and a 4.5/17 rating in the key demo. To add to the contrast, the last game of the 2018 World Series that night had a 4.4/17 in the 18-49 but 16.27 million sets of eyeballs.
To add to the stats menu, Sunday’s game peaked with a 16.2/26 in the 9:30 – 10 AM ET slot. No surprise that Milwaukee and Boston were the top markets for a Packers and Patriots gridiron battle, as you can see from the Top 10 metered markets for the game:
1. Milwaukee 44.7/63
2. Boston 37.9/59
3. Providence 34.1/55
4. Minneapolis 24.3/40
5. New Orleans 21.8/31
6. Kansas City 20.7/32
7. Chicago 19.7/31
8. Hartford 18.4/30
9. Albuquerque 18.0/28
10. Las Vegas 17.6/28