Falcons’ TV ratings dip for opener

The Atlanta Falcons cheerleader squad was reduced to five members performing to empty seats at Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the season-opening game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Television ratings in the Atlanta market for the Falcons' season opener Sunday were down slightly from the team’s first game last year.

Fox’s telecast of Sunday’s game against Seattle at fan-less Mercedes-Benz Stadium averaged a 16.2 rating here, compared with a 17.4 rating in Atlanta for the Falcons' 2019 opener, a road game at Minnesota.

The rating is the percentage of the market’s households watching the game on average.

A 16.2 rating in the Atlanta market equals an audience of about 370,000 local homes.

Both the Falcons' 2019 and 2020 openers were 1 p.m. starts, both were Falcons losses, and neither offered fourth-quarter suspense. On Sunday, the Falcons lost to the Seahawks 38-25.

Following the Falcons telecast Sunday, the late-afternoon game between NFC South teams New Orleans and Tampa Bay drew a 14.2 rating in the Atlanta TV market. The Saints beat the Buccaneers 34-23 in Tom Brady’s Bucs debut.