NFL’s bow a hit with ESPN

Gridiron opener eighth-largest aud in cable-TV history

ESPN chalked up a touchdown with its Sept. 5 primetime cablecast of the NFL season opener, harvesting the eighth-largest audience in cable-TV history.

The game — the San Francisco 49ers beat the New York Giants 16-13 — averaged a 9.4 rating and 8.15 million homes. ESPN hasn’t pulled in an audience that big since Dec. 5, 1999, for a National Football League primetime match between the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots, which reached 8.2 million homes.

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