Week 15 Wrap: Despite Early Blowout, Niners/Pats Earns Big Ratings on NBC


Despite being an uncompetitive blowout — at least at first — Sunday’s 49ers/Patriots game scored strong numbers on NBC.

The Week 15 49ers/Patriots “Sunday Night Football” game drew a 13.9 final rating and 23.2 million viewers on NBC, up 39% in ratings and 40% in viewership from Ravens/Chargers last year (10.1, 16.6M), but down 1% and 4%, respectively, from Packers/Patriots in 2010 (14.0, 24.2M).

The numbers do not include NBC News coverage of a speech by President Obama.

Sunday’s telecast ranks as the highest rated and most-viewed NFL game on NBC since Giants/Eagles in Week 4 (14.1, 22.8M), and the network’s fourth-best game of the season.

The strong numbers are especially impressive when one considers that the 49ers led 31-3 in the third quarter. While the Patriots eventually came back to tie the game, it is likely that at least a few viewers tuned out when the game seemed out of hand.

Locally, 49ers/Patriots earned a 36.8 in Boston and a 26.8 in the Bay Area. Outside of New England and California, the top market for the game was Las Vegas (20.4).

Through Week 15, NFL games have averaged a 12.6 rating and 21.0 million viewers on NBC, down a tick in ratings and flat in viewership compared to last year (12.7, 21.0M), and down 4% in both measures compared to 2010 (13.1, 21.9M).

(Sunday’s numbers from NBC Universal Media Village)