Football returned with a bang on Sunday — at least for Fox.
The network recorded its most-watched opening week since 2016, and “America’s Game of the Week,” featuring Tom Brady’s Buccaneers debut against the Saints, drew an average of more than 25 million viewers for Fox’s best ratings since the Super Bowl in February.
According to Nielsen Media Research, the Saints-Bucs game, won 34-23 by New Orleans, attracted an average audience of 25,848,000, which was up over 7 percent from last year’s season-opening game of 24,216,000. Also, Fox’s regional games landed an average viewership of 13,530,000, which was up 6 percent from last year’s 12,723,000 to kick off the season.
The ratings were just as impressive on the streaming side — the most-streamed NFL regular-season Sunday ever recorded. There was an 84 percent increase from last year’s first Sunday, with an average minute audience of 592,144 in regional and national windows. “America’s Game of the Week” had an average minute audience of 647,000 and 3.5 million unique streaming viewers while the regional games wound up with 537,000 and 3.8 million, respectively.
These NFL ratings will be a relief for the league after the ratings for the Chiefs-Texans opener on Thursday night were down 12%.