The NFL kicked off its season Wednesday on NBC with a matchup of the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys that dominated the night , which included coverage of the Democratic National Convention on competing networks , but was down vs. last year’s opener.
Preliminary national estimates for the Cowboys’ 24-17 victory over their division rival (and Super Bowl champion) Giants averaged an 8.7 rating/23 share in adults 18-49 and 21.8 million viewers overall on NBC’s stations from 8:30 to 11 p.m., with the final national estimates expected to rise once the full duration of the game (which ended at around 11:30 p.m. ET) and all West Coast viewing are accurately tabulated.
It does look like regardless of the spike in nationals, this year’s game won’t be able to climb over the incredibly high bar set for last year’s NFL opener between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, which did a 10.2 preliminary score in the demo and finished in the nationals with a 10.9 rating in 18-49 and 27.2 million viewers overall.
While the NFL remains hotter than ever, Wednesday’s result may have been lower for a few reasons, including that this year’s opener was played a day earlier than usual so that NBC could broadcast President Obama’s speech at the DNC tonight; Wednesday is not a traditional NFL day, and that may have caught viewers off guard. It might also be that audiences are growing tired of the Cowboys-Giants matchup, which now accounts for three of the last five regular-season games broadcast by NBC (including twice late last season).
Elsewhere Wednesday, ABC and CBS offered up coverage of the DNC in the 10 o’clock hour, with the Eye averaging a 0.9 rating/2 share in adults 18-49 and 3.9 million viewers overall and the Alphabet faring similarly (0.9/2 in 18-49, 3.5 million viewers overall). Both extended coverage well in the 11 p.m. ET half-hour as former President Clinton’s speech ran for nearly 50 minutes.
The only original English-language broadcast series telecasts Wednesday were CBS’ ”Big Brother” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 6.1 million viewers overall), Fox’s ”So You Think You Can Dance” (1.4/4 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) and CW’s ”Oh Sit” (0.4/1 in 18-49, 1.1 million viewers overall).
Univision, with its original telenovelas led by ”Abismo de Pasion” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 4.2 million viewers overall) in the 9 o’clock hour, ran second to NBC for the night in adults 18-49.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: NBC, 8.2/22; Univision, 1.6/4; CBS and Fox, 1.4/4; ABC, 1.0/3; CW, 0.4/1.
In total viewers: NBC, 20.6 million; CBS, 5.1 million; Fox, 4.1 million; Univision, 3.8 million; ABC, 3.6 million; CW, 1.0 million.