NBC’s NFL Kickoff Scores Third-Highest Rating in 13 Years With 26.9 Million Viewers

The Seattle Seahawks strongly defended their Super Bowl title against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday

Aaron Rodgers NFL

The Seattle Seahawks outscored the Green Bay Packers by 20 points in Thursday’s National Football League season opener, and NBC just flat-out scored, pulling in 26.9 million viewers.

That total is good enough to be the third-most-watched NFL kickoff game in the event’s 13-year history. It amounted to a seven percent increase from last year’s opener, and was TV’s most-watched show since the 2014 Academy Awards (43.7 million viewers on March 2).

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Thursday’s opener trailed only 2011’s Saints-Packers kickoff between the then-two previous Super Bowl winners (27.1 million), and the 2010 (Vikings-Saints, 27.5 million) NFC Championship Game rematch, which featured Brett Favre playing for his former rivals.

In household ratings, Seattle-Green Bay brought in a 15.5 — a four percent uptick from 2013, and also third-best in 13 years.

On the online front, NBC Sports also boasted more than 25 million minutes streaming — breaking its old record for an NFL game.

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Here are the Top 10 metered TV markets from last night:
1. Milwaukee 44.0/64
2. Seattle 42.2/73
3. Minneapolis 26.6/44
4. New Orleans 25.2/38
5. Sacramento 21.2/35
6. San Diego 20.8/37
7. Denver 20.7/34
8. Norfolk 20.7/32
9. Nashville 20.6/31
10. Portland 20.4/38