Post-Labor bow lifts NFL

Numbers up from 2000, down from 1999

HOLLYWOOD — A scheduling move designed to avoid playing games on Labor Day weekend has resulted in a year-to-year ratings boost for the National Football League, although numbers for Sunday’s openers were down from two seasons ago.

According to metered-market overnights provided by Nielsen, Sunday’s doubleheader on Fox and single game on CBS combined for 34.2 rating points, up 8% from last year (31.6) but down 11% from two years ago (38.0) when the league also launched its season the week after Labor Day. The NFL has made a permanent switch from the holiday weekend, when viewing levels are lower.

Fox’s doubleheader (primarily Chicago-Baltimore and St. Louis-Philadelphia) averaged a 12.5/26, easily topping last year’s CBS doubleheader of Week 1 (9.2/21) but 5% below Fox’s Week 1 average in 1999 (13.1/28).

CBS’ coverage of its five single games — all of which aired at 1 p.m. EDT due to the net’s coverage of the U.S. Open — delivered a 9.3/20 in overnights, down 30% from Fox’s single last year (13.3/30) and 22% lower than the Eye’s single-game opener in 1999 (12.0/28).

Top local scores of the day came from Milwaukee (40.6/68 for Detroit-Green Bay on Fox) and Kansas City (35.5/63 for Oakland-Kansas City on CBS).

Fox, as usual, won the pregame show battle with a 4.7/12 overnight rating vs. CBS’ 2.9/8.

In tennis, Sunday’s men’s final of the U.S. Open on CBS (4-7:11 p.m. EDT) averaged a 5.5/11 in overnights, up 6% over last year.

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