×

ESPN and Fox Off to Record-Setting NFL Ratings Starts

Intriguing Philadelphia-Washington matchup easily earns cabler's top Week 1 overnight score

The much-anticipated opening-week “Monday Night Football” matchup between the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles gave ESPN its highest rating yet for its first game of the season. And that came one day after Fox’s late-afternoon national game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers set a network for that record.

Preliminary total-viewer estimates weren’t available early Tuesday, but the Eagles’ 33-27 victory over their division rival (pictured above) was watched in 11.6% of U.S. homes, according to Nielsen. This is up sharply from the 8.1 overnight rating for last year’s Cincinnati-Baltimore opener and is the top Week 1 overnight score in the eight years that ESPN has had the “MNF” package.

The previous high came in 2010, a 10.5 overnight rating for Baltimore and the New York Jets. The 11.6 matches the highest overnight score for any “MNF” game last season for ESPN, with the top rating in 2012 coming from an early October game between Dallas and Chicago.

In Philadelphia, last night’s game delivered an 11.0 rating on ESPN and a 24.1 rating on ABC station WPVI, for a combined 35.1 rating in the market. And in D.C., the game earned a 22.3 rating on ESPN and a 16.5 rating on independent station WDCA, for a combined 38.8 rating in the market.

The game marked the first time that Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III had played in any game since a nasty injury took him out of last year’s playoffs in his strong rookie season. And for the Eagles, the game was the first for former U. of Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who unveiled his extreme up-tempo style of play-calling to good effect.

Over at Fox, its 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday window, with Green Bay-San Francisco going to 94% of the country, averaged a big 16.6 national household rating/31 share and 28.5 million viewers overall — up from last year, when the same matchup drew 26.4 million. This is the largest Week 1 doubleheader audience for Fox since it began broadcasting the NFL in 1994.

It was also the largest audience for any program since the Academy Awards on ABC in late February.

NBC had a very strong week in primetime too, with its Thursday opener between Baltimore and Denver averaging 25.1 million, and its premiere of “Sunday Night Football” drew 25.3 million.

More TV

  • Maya Hawke'Once Upon a Time in

    Maya Hawke Reflects on Robin's 'Stranger Things' Coming Out Story

    Robin Buckley shocked viewers everywhere when she came out as a lesbian to Steve Harrington on the floor of a bathroom stall, but actress Maya Hawke says the twist wasn’t always set in stone. Hawke tells Variety that it wasn’t until episode four or five that she and the Duffer Brothers came to a final decision [...]

  • Love Island - Pictured: Kyra Green,

    TV Ratings: Is 'Love Island' Deserted?

    Two weeks have passed on “Love Island” and plenty of singles have coupled and uncoupled in their bid for love and a fat $100,000 pay check. However, there’s one couple that doesn’t seem to be hitting it off: CBS and “Love Island.” Ratings for the show have been far from paradisiacal, and with the network [...]

  • Jenny Wall Eryk Casemiro Nickelodeon

    Jenny Wall Named Nickelodeon CMO, Eryk Casemiro Named Senior VP of Nickelodeon Preschool

    Nickelodeon has hired two new executives, tapping Jenny Wall to become chief marketing officer and Eryk Casemiro to become senior vice president of Nickelodeon Preschool. Most recently CMO at Spotify-owned Gimlet Media, Wall will be responsible for all on- and off-air consumer marketing, brand creative and content launches across all of Nickelodeon’s platforms, including Nicktoons, [...]

  • Liz Garbus on Why We May

    Liz Garbus on Why The World May Never Know 'Who Killed Garrett Phillips'

    By the time Liz Garbus’s two-part documentary “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” debuts on HBO, there could be a new public lead in the case of the murdered titular 12-year-old. As least, that’s what many may hope after the new St. Lawrence County district attorney admitted a new tip earlier this spring. Garbus says she would [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content