The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys opened the NFL season Thursday night and a lot of people tuned in. As the Bucs topped the Cowboys in a 32-31 thriller, NBC scored huge ratings. The mark of 15.9 was up 16 percent over the 2020 opener and marked a five-year high.
As Ourand notes, when accounting for out-of-home viewing, the numbers will be even higher.
It was a wise choice for an opening night matchup. The Tom Brady-led defending Super Bowl champions went against the most popular NFL franchise. People were going to tune in even if they didn't have die-hard interest in either team. Dak Prescott's return from a major leg injury also added intrigue.
Full stadiums and great TV ratings are great news for the NFL. We also saw big ratings for college football's opening weekend last week, so this might be a sustainable trend. Football is back and viewers are interested.