Ratings: NFL Delivers Big Numbers to Networks

America was ready for some football

The NFL is back — and networks have the ratings to prove it.

NBC Sports’ coverage of last Thursday’s Baltimore Ravens-Denver Broncos “NFL Kickoff” game earned a 10.3 rating/31 share in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic, along with 25.1 million viewers overall. Those numbers were slightly up from last year and good for third-best among the 12 “NFL Kickoff” games since the special primetime season openers were introduced in 2002.

The network’s season debut of “NBC Sunday Night Football” received a 10.0/27, with 25.4 million viewers overall. The Cowboys/Giants game scored the seventh-best rating ever for the series, out of 125 games aired to date. It was the ninth-highest total-viewer result.

Also read: Is ESPN Dropping the Ball by Using the Term ‘Redskins’ on ‘MNF?’

The “NFL on CBS” Sunday earned an overnight household rating/share of 11.2/23, up from last year. It is also the highest-rated single header game debut for CBS in the metered markets in 14 years.

The “NFL on Fox” doubleheader averaged a 12.9/25 and 21.8 million viewers nationally, both record-highs for an “NFL on Fox” opening week.

The “America’s Game of the Week” national game (led by Green Bay at San Francisco) averaged a 16.6/31 and 28.5 million viewers. It was the best Week 1 national game rating ever for “NFL on Fox”‘ and was the top-rated NFL telecast of the week. It was also the highest-rated and most-watched telecast of any kind since the Academy Awards in February.

For ESPN, Monday night’s Philadelphia Eagles victory over the Washington Redskins earned an 11.6 overnight rating. This is the highest rating for ESPN’s Monday Night Football opener ever (out of eight games, beginning in 2006). The previous best came in 2010, a 10.5 overnight rating for Baltimore vs. the New York Jets.  Last year, the Cincinnati-Baltimore opener earned an 8.1 overnight rating.

Week 2 begins Thursday night at 8:25 p.m. ET when the New England Patriots host the New York Jets. The NFL Network has the game.