NBC’s 2020 NFL Kickoff Game Loses 11% of Last Year’s Audience

But Texans-Chiefs still tops 20 million viewers according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Delivery

(Updated Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 at 12:38 p.m. PT to include the recently released Total Audience Delivery ratings for the 2020 NFL Kickoff Game, Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs.)

The overall audience for NBC’s 2020 NFL Kickoff Game dropped 11% from last year, according to Nielsen’s preliminary Total Audience Delivery (TAD) metric, but Texans-Chiefs still topped 20 million viewers.

We’re calling these TAD numbers “preliminary” because they do not include Out of Home (OOH) viewing yet. That will be added in next week, though due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, 2020’s OOH addition will likely be lighter than in the past.

Across NBC TV, NBC Sports Digital and NFL Digital platforms, the Houston Texans unsuccessful visit to Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium averaged 20.3 million viewers. On NBC alone, 19.3 million people tuned in.

By the fourth quarter, last night’s game was pretty much decided. The Chiefs eventually won at home, 34-20.

The 2019 start to the NFL regular season, the Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears, drew 22.7 million viewers, according to to Nielsen’s TAD. That 10-3 road win for the Packers was obviously a lower scoring — but closer — affair.

Previously, with just Nielsen’s fast-affiliate TV ratings in the books:
Football is back — but perhaps not in as big a way as you might imagine.

Thursday’s 2020 NFL Kickoff Game on NBC shed 16% of the regular-season start’s audience from 2019, according to the earliest-available Nielsen numbers. The below ratings are subject to significant adjustment when time zones are properly accounted for. We’ll get those numbers later today.

Still, NBC easily won the night with the Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans game, which was up against the “Holey Moley” Season 2 finale on ABC and new episodes of CBS’ “Big Brother” and “Love Island.”

NBC was first in ratings with a 5.2 rating/29 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and in total viewers with an average of 16.4 million, according to preliminary numbers, which include both the 2020 NFL Kickoff Game and its pre-show.

CBS was second in ratings with a 0.6/3 and in viewers with 2.5 million. At 8 p.m., “Big Brother” earned a 1.0/6 and 3.9 million viewers. “Love Island” at 9 got a 0.4/2 and 1.7 million viewers. A drama repeat followed.

Univision was third in ratings with a 0.4/2 and fourth in viewers with 1.3 million.

ABC, Fox and Telemundo tied for fourth in ratings, each with a 0.3 rating. ABC had a 2 share and was third in total viewers with 2.1 million. Fox, which aired only reruns, received a 1 share and was fifth in viewers with 1.14 million. Telemundo got a 2 share and was sixth in total viewers with 1.11 million.

For ABC, the “Holey Moley” Season 2 finale at 8 received a 0.4/2 and 2.9 million viewers. At 9, Part 1 of the “Holey Moley” special “Unhinged” managed a 0.3/2 and 1.7 million viewers. At 10, ABC News’  “Shark Attack: The Paige Winter Story with Robin Roberts” ended the night with a 0.3/1 and 1.7 million viewers.

The CW was seventh in ratings with a 0.1/1 and in viewers with 752,000. At 8, a new episode of “Mysteries Decoded” settled for a 0.1/1 and 821,000 viewers. Back-to-back reruns of “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” followed.

Tony Maglio

Tony Maglio

TV Editor • tony.maglio@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tonymaglio

Jennifer Maas

Jennifer Maas

TV Reporter • jennifer.maas@thewrap.com • @jmaas421


The news you
need now, more
than ever.

The news
you need now,
more than ever.

See Subscription Options

Try PRO today

Sign up for
WrapPRO for

70% off
Back to theWrap