New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) catches a pass ahead of Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds (34) and linebacker Devin Bush (55) in the first half at MetLife Stadium.
Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports
ESPN’s first outing in the 2020 National Football League with the New York Giants hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers attracted an average of 1
Despite hosting the Steelers at a fan-less MetLife Stadium, the Giants lost their opener, 26-16, in the debut of new head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The game peaked with 13.1 million viewers around noon. 21:00 to 21:15 The largest markets for the included Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York Baltimore and Washington DC
The second game between the Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos recorded 7.6 million viewers when the Titans won, 16-14.
The numbers are down from last year’s average of 12 million viewers to the Monday Night Football double-headed, which was also a drop from 13 million viewers in 2018 for the 2019 opening, which included the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints.
Tom Brady No. 12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is fired by Trey Hendrickson No. 91 of the New Orleans Saints in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Chris Graythen | Getty Images
But despite a 12% drop in viewership of the NFL’s kickoff opener Thursday night and a drop of NBC’s Sunday Night Football and CBS ‘12% drop to regional games, Fox reported an increase in its national game.
Fox said the competition between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with quarterback Tom Brady and Drew Brees-led Saints averaged 25.8 million viewers, a 7% increase over last year’s 1 national game, which averaged 24.2 million .
“Fox smashed it on a game that, yes it is [Drew Brees] and [Tom Brady] but it was not that close, “said Dan Cohen, senior vice president of Octagon’s Global Media Rights Advice Department.” It talks a lot about matchups and big names. “
On the regional front, NFL games averaged 13.5 million viewers in Week 1, a 6% increase from last year (12.7 million) and the most-watched opening since 2016. Cohen said the number of viewers shows that “[NFL] is still the lion in the jungle “despite the league’s now supportive stance on issues of social injustice.
As consumption habits changed and an overload of sports content, Cohen said competition for eyeballs has been a factor as all four major U.S. sports leagues are at the same time.
“I do not think the social injustice issues are even one, two, three or four of the most important factors in a possible downturn,” Cohen said. He added that the major sports league is set to overlap at least ten times this month, which could provide more of a “programming challenge.”