NBC Posts Best-Ever Kickoff Weekend Viewership For 'NFL Kickoff' and Debut Of 'Sunday Night Football'

Stamford, CT

NBC averages record 27.1M viewers for NFL Kickoff Weekend – up 6% from last year and topping by 700,000 viewers the prior record set in 2011.

NBC averaged a record 27.1 million viewers for its two NFL Kickoff Weekend games – New England’s 28-21 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday, and Dallas’ come-from-behind 27-26 victory over the New York Giants on the debut of Sunday Night Football – up 6 percent from last year and topping by 700,000 viewers the prior record set in 2011 (26.4 million average for Saints-Packers and Cowboys-Jets) according to official national data released by The Nielsen Company.

NBC has averaged more than 25 million viewers on NFL Kickoff Weekend (two-game average) for six consecutive seasons. Through the first two games, NBC Sunday Night Football is averaging a 15.8 U.S. HH rating and a 10.2 rating among Adults 18-49 – up 6 percent and 5 percent respectively from last year.

The Cowboys’ victory over the Giants, highlighted by Tony Romo’s 11-yard scoring pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, averaged 26.8 million viewers to rank as the second-most watched Sunday Night Football opener ever (27.6 million for Pittsburgh-Denver in 2012 as Peyton Manning made his Broncos’ debut). Giants-Cowboys viewership was also up 13 percent from last year’s SNF opener (23.8 million for Colts-Broncos).

Also notable from NBC’s Week 1 NFL telecasts:

  • Sunday’s Giants-Cowboys telecast (8:31-11:46 p.m. ET) posted a 15.4/27 household rating – up 10 percent from last year’s opener (14.0/23).

  • Sunday night’s game was the second-most watched Giants-Cowboys primetime matchup in the history of the People Meter (since 1987). In 15 primetime meetings since 1987, the only Giants-Cowboys game with more viewers was the 2011 season-ending, win-and-in Week 17 matchup (27.6 million).

  • Thursday’s Pittsburgh-New England game averaged 27.4 million viewers to rank as the second-most watched "NFL Kickoff" game in the 14-year history of the event.

  • NBC’s Thursday/Sunday primetime average in the Adult 18-49 demographic beat by 154 percent the combined primetime averages of ABC, CBS and FOX on those nights (8.9 A18-49 rating vs. 3.5 A18-49 combined ABC, CBS and FOX).


NBC Sports Live Extra’s presentation of Giants-Cowboys on Sunday, which required authentication, ranks as NBC Sports Digital’s most-consumed authenticated event of all-time (excluding Olympics) with 19.6 million live streamed minutes and 380,000 unique users. In addition:

  • Behind the Olympics and the Super Bowl, Thursday night’s unauthenticated NFL Kickoff game (more than 32 million minutes) was NBC Sports Live Extra’s most streamed event ever.

  • Through two games, the 2015 NFL season has delivered 52 million live minutes and 831,000 unique users on NBC Sports Live Extra, up 20 percent and 6 percent, respectively, from 2014. SNF continues this Sunday, Sept. 20, with an NFC Championship Game rematch, as the Green Bay Packers host the Seattle Seahawks.

Photo: AP Images