PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons is sacked by Chris Long #56 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Photo: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

NFL opening game ratings down again in Falcons loss to Eagles

Ratings were 11 percent below 2017’s kickoff game

Originally posted on Friday, September 7, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The rain-delayed opening NFL game featuring the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles saw 11 percent fewer viewers than the kickoff game a year ago, continuing a recent worrisome trend for the beleaguered league.

The early metered households rating averaged a 13.4 with 25 percent of household TVs that were on tuned to the game, which the Eagles won 18-12. The comparable game two years ago had a 17.7 rating with a 30 percent household share. 

The final total of viewers was 19.5 million (including live streaming) compared to 21.8 million last year and 25.2 million two years ago. 

The league has been beset with controversies including concussion issues and players protesting police brutality by kneeling during the National Anthem, a move Donald Trump has deemed unpatriotic and the NFL owners are trying to stop. (Nobody made any overt protest last night.)

Philadelphia topped all markets with a 32.9 rating and 54 share overnight rating, far ahead of Atlanta, which was the third most popular market with a 19.8 rating and a 36 share. New Orleans had better ratings than Atlanta with a 24.6 rating and 35 share.

In Atlanta, those ratings figures equate to about 500,000 households and 800,000 viewers.

For context, where the TV viewing pie is getting increasingly splintered into smaller and smaller pieces, those numbers are still huge. No scripted series, for example, averages 20 million viewers anymore. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.