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NBC And ESPN See Lower Ratings For NFL Debuts

NBC And ESPN See Lower Ratings For NFL Debuts

One week into the NFL season and so far the league isn't celebrating as loudly as in past years. Ratings for the inaugural editions of "Thursday Night Football," "Sunday Night Football" and "Monday Night Football" are all down.

Waiting All Day For Thursday Night

While this marks the fourth year that over 25 million viewers tuned into the debut of Comcast Corporation's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) NBC "Thursday Night Football," the numbers were down 8 percent from last year's kick-off game, which saw the New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. This year's Super Bowl 50 re-match between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers was also down 6 percent from the 2014 opening salvo.

Related Link: The 10 Biggest Stories On 2016 NFL Ticket Market

Those numbers were just 2 percent higher than the "Sunday Night Football" opening, which pulled in 23.1 million viewers. The Tom Brady-less New England Patriots facing off against the Arizona Cardinals had been expected to pull in lower numbers given that last year's Sunday primetime opener was the always well-watched brawl between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Based on final numbers, it looks to have been a 16 percent year-to-year drop.

Are You Ready?

Walt Disney Co's (NYSE: DIS) ESPN also saw ratings decline for its traditional double-header with its opening game (Pittsburgh vs. Washington) slipping 7 percent from last year's Falcons/Eagles tilt. The real trouble spot was the second game that saw the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams embarrassed by the San Francisco 49ers. Compared to the 49ers/Vikings equally one-sided battle a year ago, the numbers slipped a troubling 25 percent.


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