NBC fumbled in Nielsen ratings last night, taking a hit in early numbers for the NFL Kickoff Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons — which saw significant delays due to “severe” weather — compared to last year’s season opener.
The 2018 NFL Kickoff Game (which ended after midnight ET) slipped 8 percent versus 2017’s version, putting up a 13.4 rating/25 share. Last year’s — a showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots — was already down 12 percentage points when compared with its own predecessor, landing a 14.6 rating/25 share.
It should be noted Thursday’s showdown between the Falcons and last year’s Super Bowl champs was plagued with delays, as the teams were set to kick off at 8:20 p.m. ET, but moments before the game was set to kickoff, the field was cleared due to bad weather.
Fans in the stands were asked to leave their seats and take shelter in the stadium concourses because of a thunderstorm in the area.
A tweet from the official Eagles account warned fans in the stadium that “the National Weather Service is forecasting that our current weather pattern may contain some severe conditions, including lighting and gusty winds.”
The game was first pushed back by half an hour, to 8:55 p.m. ET. Then it was hit with another 10-minute delay and scheduled to kick off at 9:05 p.m.
NFL games, reliably among the most-watched broadcasts on TV, rarely see delays, and Thursday’s push-back had fans expressing dismay on social media.
And here are the Top 11 local markets last night — the biggest ones should come as no surprise, given the matchup:
1. Philadelphia 32.9/54
2. New Orleans 24.6/35
3. Atlanta 19.8/36
4. Denver 17.5/33
5. Milwaukee 17.3/29
6. Richmond 17.0/28
7. Norfolk 16.6/29
8. Dallas 15.8/29
9. Greensboro 15.2/26
10. Oklahoma City 14.7/25
11. Albuquerque 14.7/24
Due to the nature of live sports, these numbers are subject to change. Final viewership tallies should be available later on Friday.
Tony Maglio contributed to this story.