NFL ratings: Early games see big bounce, primetime game slight dip

Fans were ready for daytime football: ratings for the afternoon games on CBS and Fox were up from last year. (AP)

The traditional NFL time slots saw strong ratings on Sunday’s opening day games, while the primetime matchup saw a slight dip.

Early games see big numbers

Via SportsMediaWatch, the 1 p.m. ET game on CBS earned an overnight rating of 10.6, meaning 10.6 percent of all televisions in the U.S. were turned to the game (this doesn’t take group viewings, like at sports bars, into account).

That’s up 23 percent from last year’s Week 1 game on CBS and up 4 percent from 2016.

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Fox, which had regional coverage of San Francisco-Minnesota for the early game, drew an 8.8, which is up 5 percent from last year, but down 19 percent from 2016.

Fox’s national 4 p.m. ET game, which featured the Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers shown in 80 percent of markets, had a 15.7 overnight rating. That’s up slightly from 2017.

Over the last 14 years, that 15.7 number is middle-of-the-pack, the seventh-most watched late-afternoon game since 2004.

‘Sunday Night Football’ down

The primetime game, which saw longtime rivals Chicago and Green Bay play at Lambeau Field, drew a 14.4 for NBC. That’s down 9 percent from last year’s 15.8 for Giants vs. Cowboys, and down a bit from 2016, which saw the Patriots at the Cardinals.

Thursday night’s regular-season kickoff, which saw the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles against the Atlanta Falcons, also saw a dip from last year, drawing a 13.4 rating. That game saw a lengthy weather delay because of lightning in Philadelphia and led to a late kickoff.

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