Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning (September 11, 2012)

NBC Sports wasted no time re-establishing "Sunday Night Football" as the top-rated show in prime time with a season opener that set a viewing record.

Sunday's game between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers, which saw the return of Peyton Manning after neck surgery, was the highest rated Sunday game ever on the most-watched football show in the nation.

An audience of 27.57 million watched Sunday as Manning's Broncos beat the Steelers.

Baltimore was the 10th highest-rated city for the game, and every one of the viewers enjoyed every second of seeing the Steelers lose (OK, I made up the last part of that sentence following the comma. But it was the 10th highest-rated. See the chart below.)

Here's the NBC release:

Sunday’s Steelers-Broncos game on NBC was the highest-rated Sunday Night Football game ever and tied the 2010 NFL Kickoff opener as the highest-rated regular-season NFL game ever on NBC. Additionally, the game earned NBC’s highest-ever regular-season primetime rating in the advertiser-coveted Adult 18-49 demographic, according to official national data released today by The Nielsen Company.

Sunday night’s game on NBC, in which the Broncos defeated the Steelers, 31-19, in Peyton Manning’s first game as quarterback of the Broncos, drew a 16.5 national household rating and a 26 share, the highest-rated Sunday Night Football game ever, topping the 15.7/25 for last year’s Cowboys-Giants Week 17 finale by five percent. Additionally, the 16.5/26 rating ties the 2010 NFL Kickoff opener (Vikings-Saints) as the highest-rated NFL primetime regular-season game ever on NBC.

The Steelers-Broncos game was seen by 27.57 million viewers, less than one percent below the most-watched NFL regular-season primetime game ever on NBC (27.62 million for Cowboys-Giants Week 17 game last year that determined the NFC East title). 

Other Ratings Notes:

Household rating (16.5/26) and viewership (27.57) are up 8% and 7%,
respectively, over last year’s first SNF game (Cowboys-Jets, 15.3/25 and 25.8
million).

 Adult 18-49 rating of 11.0 is highest for any regular-season primetime NFL
game ever on NBC, and is best in the advertiser-coveted demographic for an NFL
regular-season primetime game on ANY network in 15 years (Broncos-49ers, 11.6,
12/15/97, on ABC).

Second most-watched NFL regular-season primetime game on ANY network in 16
years (Packers-Cowboys, 31.5 million, 11/18/96, on ABC).

Ties 2010 NFL Kickoff opener for highest-rated NFL regular-season
primetime game on ANY network in 14 years (Vikings-Packers, 16.8/27, 10/5/98, on
ABC).

44.2/67 rating in Denver is best for that market for any regular-season NFL
game since 9/22/03 (44.5/61 for Oakland-Denver on ABC).
HIGHEST RATED NFL REGULAR-SEASON PRIMETIME
GAMES ON NBC
T1. 16.5/26 Steelers-Broncos, 9/9/12 (Sunday Night’s
Game)
T1. 16.5/28 Vikings-Saints, 9/9/10 (2010 Thursday Night
Opener)*
3. 16.0/26 Saints-Packers, 9/8/11 (2011 Thursday Night
Opener)*
4. 15.7/25 Cowboys-Giants, 1/1/12 (2011 SNF Week
17)
5. 15.4/25 Vikings-Packers, 10/24/10, (Favre Return to
Lambeau II)
6. 15.3/25 Cowboys-Jets, 9/11/11 (2011 SNF Week
1)
7. 15.2/24 Eagles-Cowboys, 12/12/10 (2010 SNF Week
14)
8. 15.1/25 Giants-Cowboys, 9/20/09 (Dallas Cowboys Stadium
Debut)
9. 15.0/25 Cowboys-Redskins, 9/12/10 (2010 SNF: Week
1)
10. 14.9/23 Giants-Cowboys, 12/11/11 (2011 SNF Week
14)
 

 

*Thursday Night Games

 

 
MOST WATCHED NFL REGULAR-SEASON PRIMETIME GAMES
ON NBC
1. 27.62 million Cowboys-Giants, 1/1/12 (2011 SNF Week 17)
2. 27.57 million Steelers-Broncos, 9/9/12 (Sunday Night’s Game)
3. 27.5 million Vikings-Saints, 9/9/10 (2010 Thursday Night Opener)*
4. 27.1 million Saints-Packers, 9/8/11 (2011 Thursday Night Opener)*
5. 25.8 million Cowboys-Jets, 9/11/11 (2011 SNF Week 1)
6. 25.73 million Eagles-Cowboys, 12/12/10 (2010 SNF Week 14)
7. 25.68 million Vikings-Packers, 10/24/10, (Favre Return to Lambeau II)
8. 25.3 million Cowboys-Redskins, 9/12/10 (2010 SNF: Week 1)
9. 24.8 million Giants-Cowboys, 9/20/09 (Dallas Cowboys Stadium Debut)
10. 24.5 million Giants-Cowboys, 12/11/11 (2011 SNF Week 14)
 

 

* Thursday Night Games

SNF DOMINATED PRIMETIME: Wednesday's
Cowboys-Giants game (23.9 million) and Sunday Night’s Broncos-Steelers game
(27.6 million) rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 primetime programs of the week among
viewers, households and other key ratings categories.

NBC won Sunday night by all key ratings
measures. Among viewers NBC’s margin of victory was 79 percent, or 9.9 million
persons in total viewers over the second place network (22.4 million vs. 12.5
million for Fox, which was boosted by an NFL overrun). In adults 18-49, NBC’s
margin of victory over the No. 2 network was 71 percent (8.9 vs. 5.2 for
Fox).

This was the highest rated Sunday primetime
performance (excluding the Olympics) for any network in both viewers and Adults
18-49 since ABC’s coverage of the Academy Awards on February 26.

TOP METERED MARKETS FOR STEELERS-BRONCOS:

 

 
1. Pittsburgh 51.5/70
2. Denver 44.2/67
3. Indianapolis 28.9/42
4. Las Vegas 24.1/38
5. Albuquerque 23.1/35
6. New Orleans 23.0/31
T7. Nashville 22.5/32
T7. San Diego 22.5/37
9. Richmond 22.4/32
10. Baltimore 22.2/33