Ratings Roundup: Fox, NBC Off to Record-Breaking NFL Start; CBS Down in Week 2

The NFL ON FOX and NBC’s Sunday Night Football are both off to record-breaking starts after two weeks. The NFL ON FOX is averaging a 12.2/25 HH rating/share and 20.5 million viewers, eclipsing last year’s two-week record-setting mark (11.7/25, 19.6 million) by 4% in rating and 5% in audience.  Meanwhile, NBC is averaging a 15.2/25 HH rating/share and 25.4 million through two weeks (three games), up over last year’s 15.1/25 and 25.3 million and marking the best start in the six-year history of Sunday Night Football. It is also the highgest viewership for a primetime package in 17 years (25.5 million for ABC in 1994) and the best ratings in 12 years (15.7/26 in 1999 on ABC).

Both network’s pregame shows are also posting impressive numbers. FOX NFL Sunday has notched a 3.6/9 HH rating/share with 5.6 million viewers, its best initial two-week rating and audience since 2001 (4.6/12, 6.5 million). NBC’s Football Night in America is averaging 10.7 million viewers and a 6.6/11 up 12% and 14%, respectively, from last year’s first two weeks.

In Week 2, Fox’s Sunday singleheader posted a 13.2 rating, FOX’s best Week 2 single-header number since posting a 13.4 in 1994, and ties as FOX’s best single-header overall since scoring a 14.0 in Week 7, 1999. The 22.5 million viewers are the most to tune into an NFL ON FOX single-header since Week 15 in 1995 (23.4 million).

The Eagles-Falcons Sunday Night Football game on NBC was seen by an average of 23.4 million people and registered a 14.3/23, up 1% and 4%, respectively, from last year’s Sunday Night Football Week 2 contest (Giants-Colts, 23.1 million, 13.8/23). It was the No. 1 primetime broadcast of the week for the second consecutive week and outdrew the Emmy Awards on Fox.

CBS, however, has not shared the same ratings success early on, as its Week 2 NFL national window on Sunday, featuring Chargers/Patriots, earned a 13.3 final rating and 22.662 million viewers — down 17% in ratings and 16% in viewership from last year (Patriots-Jets: 16.2, 27.010M). This marks the lowest rated, least-viewed afternoon national window since Week 7 last year (Patriots-Chargers: 13.1, 21.918M). Numbers for the first game of Sunday’s CBS doubleheader were not immediately available.

…Wednesday night’s Rays-Yankees telecast was the second-highest-rated Yankees telecast of the year on the YES Network, and was YES’ highest-rated Yankees telecast not involving the Red Sox since April 1, 2008 against the Blue Jays.  The telecast registered a 7.01 average TV HH rating and 640,000 average total viewers in the New York DMA.  The telecast peaked at a 9.07 average TV HH rating from 11:00-11:15 pm (863,000 viewers).  The highest-rated Yankees telecast of the year on YES was against the Red Sox on Sept. 1 (7.70 ratings and 733,000 average viewers). Wednesday’s post-game show did a 3.40 average TV HH rating (296,000 average total viewers), also the second-highest-rated Yankees post-game show this season…

The final US Open numbers are in, and have once again cemented Serena Williams as the biggest draw in women’s tennis for the U.S. The U.S. Open Women’s Final between Williams and Samantha Stosur earned a 3.3 final rating and 4.927 million viewers on CBS September 11, up 94% in ratings and 89% in viewership from last year (Clijsters/Zvonareva: 1.7, 2.609M), and tying 2008 — the last time Williams played in the final — as the highest rated U.S. Open Women’s Final since 2002, when Williams played her sister Venus (5.2).

…Fox’s MLB Coverage drew a 1.1 final rating and 1.632 million viewers on Sept. 10, down 21% in ratings and 16% in viewership from the 24th telecast last year (ATL/NYM*: 1.4, 1.939M) and tied as the lowest for Major League Baseball on FOX since the current television contract began in 2007. On only two other occasions has FOX earned a rating that low — on August 27, when coverage was affected by Hurricane Irene, and in August 2008, when coverage aired directly opposite the Beijing Olympics…

…The NASCAR Sprint Cup Geico 400 from Chicago, the first leg of the Chase for the Cup, earned 2.179 million viewers on ESPN Monday. Originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon, the telecast topped the season’s other postponed races — the Advocare 500 from Atlanta (2.161M) and the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen from Watkins Glen (1.836M). All three postponed races this season have aired on ESPN.

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