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TV Ratings: NFL Season Opener Up 14% on 2018

Last night’s low-scoring game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears may have been a bit of a snooze fest, but it still managed to produce a three-year ratings high for an NFL kickoff game.

The game scored a 15.3 in the overnight metered-market ratings, topping the 13.4 posted by last year’s NFL opener between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles by 14%.

Although only 13 total points were scored last night and only one touchdown, the game also beat NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” Packers-Bears telecast from last year by 7%. The game produced the highest overnight metered-market household score for any sporting event since last year’s Super Bowl. The total viewership for last night’s game hit the 22 million mark, up on last year’s opener which drew around 19 million viewers.

NBC and the other networks will likely take encouragement from last night’s promising ratings start. 2018 was a rebound year for the league ratings-wise, after a relatively alarming overall 10% slide in 2017. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” was up 6% last year for instance.

Much of that success has been attributed to the boon in offensive play, with the 2018 NFL season featuring an abnormally high number of touchdowns, offensive yards and close games. It may be a little odd therefore that last night’s encounter produced such a high rating, as neither the prodigious Aaron Rodgers nor the fresh-faced Mitch Trubisky could get their offenses going. No doubt fans, the networks and the league will be hoping for some higher scoring affairs this weekend.

Elsewhere on Thursday night, “Big Brother” was the highest rated and most watched non-NFL program with a 1.0 rating and 4.1 million viewers. NBC was the top network overall, which goes without saying, with an average of 6.2, followed by CBS at a  0.7, Fox at a 0.5 and ABC at a 0.3.

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