After declining last season for the first time in three years, NFL viewership bounced back in the first week of the new season.
CBS’s two Sunday afternoon games averaged 16.6 million viewers, up 21% from last year’s opening weekend, the network said Tuesday. NBC’s total audience averaged 22.9 million viewers for its Thursday and Sunday night games, an 11% jump.
The TV audience for football depends in part on the matchups on the field. NBC benefited from a close Thursday game between two of the sport’s biggest draws: the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Tom Brady at quarterback, and the Dallas Cowboys.