Sunday Night Football Hits Season-Low, But Rises From Last Year

Posted by | September 28, 2010 at 7:44 PM

It says a lot about the National Football League when 18 million viewers seems almost pedestrian for a regular season game.

The Jets’ Sunday night win over the Dolphins drew an 11.3 final rating and 18.147 million viewers on NBC, up 6% in ratings and 4% in viewership from Week 3 last year (IND/AZ: 10.7, 17,469 mil) and down 15% and 18%, respectively, from Week 3 in 2008 (DAL/GB: 13.3, 22.230 mil).

Though up from last year, Jets/Dolphins stands as the lowest rated, least-viewed NFL telecast of the season on NBC — and by a decent margin. The network’s first three telecasts of the season drew ratings of 16.5, 15.0 and 13.8, with each attracting well over 20 million viewers.

Sunday’s telecast was the top program of the night on broadcast and the #4 primetime program of the week overall.

The show ranked #1 for the week among adults 18-49, earning a 7.3 rating and 9.643 million viewers in the demo — up 7% and 8%, respectively, from last year (6.8, 8.901 mil). The telecast also ranked #1 among adults 25-54 and all key male demos, and tied for #1 among adults 18-34.

So far this season, NBC is averaging a 14.0 rating and 23.3 million viewers for NFL coverage, up 9% in ratings and viewership from last year (12.9, 21.9 mil) and up 27% and 30%, respectively, from 2008 (11.0, 17.9 mil).

This marks the highest three-week average viewership for the NFL in primetime since 1996.

(TV By The Numbers; NBC press release from Fang’s Bites)