Packers vs Bears Is Highest-Rated NFL Kickoff Game in 3 Years

No weather delay this time

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Thursday’s presentation of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” when the Chicago Bears hosted the Green Bay Packers, rose 14% in early TV ratings from last year.

The Packers’ 10-3 road win put up a 15.3 rating/28 share in the 56 metered markets, according to Nielsen. Those are the best overnight numbers in three years.

The 2018 NFL Kickoff Game, a contest between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons that ended on NBC after midnight ET, posted a 13.4 rating/25 share in the 56 metered markets, slipping 8% from 2017’s version. The 2017 starter — a showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots — was already down 12 percentage points when compared with its own predecessor.

In the final, time-zone adjusted Nielsen numbers, which came in at 12:40 p.m. PT Friday, the Packers’ victory over the Bears averaged 22 million viewers. From 8:23 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET, the game scored a 12.8 national household rating/26 share, which is up 13% from last year (11.3/23).

Weather-wise, Thursday was a beautiful night in Chicago, which was already much different than how last season started. The 2018 opening game plagued with weather delays. Fans in the stands were asked to leave their seats and take shelter in the stadium concourses because of a thunderstorm in the area. The delay certainly didn’t help TV tune in.

These were last night’s top local markets and their respective ratings:

  1. Milwaukee 48.1/69
  2. Chicago 35.3/56
  3. Minneapolis 23.9/43
  4. New Orleans 23.1/33
  5. Kansas City 21.9/36
  6. Denver 21.1/39
  7. Buffalo 19.7/34
  8. Jacksonville 19.0/31
  9. Norfolk 18.1/28
  10. Cincinnati 17.8/31

Thursday marked the kickoff to the NFL’s 100th season. The game was the 199th meeting of NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.