Fox and Dish Network may be embroiled in a dispute that saw the carrier drop Fox channels yesterday, but the news isn’t all bad for Fox. Last night marked the first week of the FOX’s eleven Thursday Night Football broadcasts (after NBC’s season-opening Sunday Night Football version, and two NFL Network exclusive weeks), and according to the overnight ratings, people definitely tuned in for it.
Obviously overnights aren’t final figures, but FOX certainly has to be pretty happy with the returns for last night’s 34-27 Eagles win in Green Bay. As Deadline notes, the number is up 18% over last year’s debut game:
For Fox, sports are a major pillar in their new network approach following the now finalized $71.3 billion sale of many assets to Disney earlier this year. And in that vein and with Fox dark in 17 markets due to the DISH dust-up, last night’s Eagles win was a double-digit victory by any other name.
The primetime battle scored a 12.6/23 in metered market results as rivals CBS and NBC saw the beginning of Eviland Perfect Harmony and a slew of series back for their latest season. Which means, several weeks now into a 100th NFL season that started ratings strong, the kick-off of the second full season of TNF on the Murdoch-owned net was up nicely over last year.
The first round of ratings have last night’s hard hitting match-up actually rising 18% from the Los Angeles Rams’ 38-31 winning over the Minnesota Vikings on September 27, 2018.
The comparison to last year’s matchup is also interesting; it’s not like 2018’s game featured a blowout or a pair of smaller market teams. Instead, it’s another solid data point for Fox’s NFL ratings; they’re also the only network that has seen a year-over-year increase in every window so far this season.
Like CBS, FOX is off to its best start to an NFL season since 2016. All five windows on FOX have posted an increase in ratings and/or viewership: https://t.co/cb3kGLZeO9
— Sports Media Watch (@paulsen_smw) September 24, 2019
Considering this season is also a Super Bowl year for FOX, it could be a truly strong 2019/2020, from start to finish.