Arguably the most appetizing matchup in the eight-year history of the NFL Kickoff Game attracted a massive audience on NBC.
The Saints’ win over the Vikings in the 2010 NFL Kickoff Game drew a 17.7 overnight rating on NBC Thursday night, up 28% from Titans/Steelers last year (13.8), up 75% from Washington/Giants in an earlier timeslot in 2008 (10.1) and up 36% from Saints/Colts in 2007 (13.0).
Additionally, Thursday’s game drew the highest overnight for a regular season NFL telecast on NBC since the network resumed airing games in 2006 — topping the previous high of 16.5 set by Giants/Cowboys in Week 2 last year.
In fact, the 17.7 overnight is the highest for any primetime regular season NFL telecast since Broncos/49ers in December of ’97 (19.3).
Vikings/Saints drew the largest overnight rating for any sporting event since Game 7 of the Celtics/Lakers NBA Finals (18.2).
In New Orleans, Thursday’s game drew an astronomical 60.0 rating and a 78 share, meaning 78% of televisions in use were tuned to the game. In Minneapolis, the game drew an impressive — but comparably pedestrian — 43.8. Milwaukee, no doubt tuning in to watch former Packers QB Brett Favre, was the top neutral market with a 33.3.
Las Vegas (23.5) and Nashville (23.3) rounded out the top five.
(NBC press release via TV By The Numbers)