NFL Scores Big On TV

Amid all the NFL off-field TV coverage over Baltimore Ravens’ Ray Rice, on-field TV viewership for the league in the first week of the new season was still relatively strong.

For Fox’s big Sunday “NFL on Fox” late afternoon games, San Francisco-Dallas/Carolina-Tampa Bay, it earned a strong Nielsen average 28.05 million viewers (down 2% from its first game of a year ago) and a 10.3 rating/37 share among 18-49 viewers (off 3% from last year).

Later that night, for its 9 p.m. “Sunday Night Football” game between Indianapolis and Denver, NBC posted 23.69 million viewers (down 7%) and a 9.0 rating/26 share among 18-49 viewers (off 10%).

For the NFL season opener, NBC’s “NFL Kickoff” game airing on Thursday, the network earned 26.9 million viewers (up 7% versus the year before) and 10.2/32 among 18-49 viewers (down 1%).

For its Sunday afternoon games, CBS’ “NFL on CBS” series earned an average 16.5 million viewers (up 6% versus a year ago) from games including New England-Miami, Oakland-New York Jets, Tennessee-Kansas City, Cleveland-Pittsburgh, Cincinnati-Baltimore and Jacksonville-Philadelphia.

ESPN’s first game of its “Monday Night Football” doubleheader of the season earned a Nielsen 13.7 million viewers for its New York Giants-Detroit Lions contest. In its second game, Arizona-San Diego earned 11.5 million viewers.

A year before, ESPN, with another season-opening “MNF” doubleheader, pulled in 16.52 million viewers for the first game featuring Philadelphia and Washington, and 11.0 million viewers for the second game, between Houston and San Diego.

On Monday, TMZ released a video of Ravens' Ray Rice punching his wife in an Atlantic City casino elevator. As a result, the NFL suspended him indefinitely, and the Ravens terminated his contract.
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