SoFi Stadium was devoid of fans on last night’s Sunday Night Football due to the coronavirus pandemic, but full of victory for hometown heroes the Los Angeles Rams. Sadly that winning feeling wasn’t reflected in the ratings for NBC and the NFL.
The team’s first game at their new $5 billion digs saw the Rams take down the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 in a grinding battle. It was also a game that saw Rams’ running back Malcolm Brown score two touchdowns and nail a career topping 79 yards. Fighting right to the end against that wall of the Rams’ defense in a very rough and tumble showdown, the Cowboys early on also saw starting linebacker Leighton Vander Esch exiting from a collarbone injury. All in all, not a good start for Mike McCarthey’s
With all that on-field action, and coming off the disappointing ratings of the NFL season kickoff on September 10, the league and the Comcast-owned network were looking for a win themselves this football packed weekend.
Even with the usual ratings gold of Jerry Jone’s team on the field, the NFL and NBC didn’t get that win – at least not in the early numbers.
Putting on the two teams with big national followings, SNF snared a 4.7 in early ratings among adults 18-49 and 14.81 million viewers last night.
In numbers certain to change, that’s a fall of 28% in the ratings and a hard decline of 23% in sets of eyeballs from what the September 8, 2019 official start of SNF snagged in the early numbers of its opening game of last season. While the early Nielsen data lacks West Coast numbers, which is kind of important when you have a team from the mega-market of LA playing, this result is going to be hard pill for the NFL and NBC to swallow.
To add some further context, the 33-3 pummeling of the Pittsburgh Steelers by then reigning Super Bowl champs the New England Patriots last year went on to pull in an audience of 22.2 million on NBC, which was pretty much even with SNF’s 2018 season premiere. That 2019 figure inched up to 22.7 million when digital platform viewing was added in.
Also, at this point, last night’s SNF is down nearly 10% in the key demo from the early results of the the Kansas City Chiefs near blowout season opener win over the Houston Texans on September 10 this year. That primetime game at Arrowhead Stadium did have a scattering of fans (just over 17,000 in a venue built for more than 76,000) and a strong and blunt social justice and anti-racism message from the league and players – which was booed by said fans. In what may be indicative of where the NFL is already drifting, last night’s SNF was much more subdued in its stance over such issues and saw only a few players take a knee during the national anthem.
We will update with more SNF ratings, plus how 60 Minutes’ exclusive sit-down with Bob Woodward on his new Trump book did and the rest of last night’s ratings, as we get them
In the meantime, the sun isn’t shining here in LA due to the wildfires ravaging the state, but we go a bit of a glow on Sunday, if you know what I mean?
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