NBC’s NFL Kickoff Game Slips 7 Percent From Last Season in Early Ratings

Super Bowl 50 rematch was a tight one, but couldn’t compete with 2015

NBC posted a dominant Thursday night with the official kickoff to the 2016 NFL season, but the Super Bowl 50 rematch still slipped from last year.

The Denver Broncos one-point win over the Carolina Panthers posted a 16.5 overnight rating, down 7 percent from last year’s NFL-opening 17.7.

Last night had a 29 share, while 2015 boasted a 30. The 29 share is second-best share ever, behind just the prior season’s Pittsburgh Steelers-New England Patriots contest.

Digital numbers should be out shortly, which are likely to be up from the previous version of the highly anticipated contest. That’s just how technology adoption works.

Thursday’s 16.5 marks TV’s top overnight rating since the second Tuesday of NBC’s Rio Olympics. It also means that the annual NFL game has now topped a 16.0 for seven straight years now.

Here are the Top 10 local markets last night — the biggest ones should come as no surprise.
Denver 46.9/74
Charlotte 33.2/52
Greensboro 27.1/42
New Orleans 24.1/35
Raleigh 22.7/37
Albuquerque 21.5/36
Greenville 21.2/34
Indianapolis 21.0/36
Norfolk 20.7/34
Richmond 20.3/33

The defending Super Bowl Champion Broncos managed to squeak out a nail-biter, beating Cam Newton’s Panthers, 21-20.

Carolina had a chance to win with seven seconds left, but kicker Graham Gano hooked a 50-yard field goal attempt wide left.

For the record: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the ratings decline at 10 percent year over year, it was down 7 percent.