FRISCO - The NFL season kickoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and reigning- Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers had all the stars and storylines to make it a must-watch game. Turns out, the Thursday Night Football battle was viewed by an average of 22 million people on NBC, early reports indicate.
That is a massive number of viewers, expected to increase because it was a live game. For comparison, NBA Finals Game 6, in which the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns to win their first NBA title in 50 years, averaged 12.52 million viewers. So, we are talking nearly double the numbers than the most important game for the NBA this year.
The 22 million viewers are up 16 percent from last season's NFL opener between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, according to Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand. It was also a five-year high in overnights.
Quarterback Tom Brady and the Bucs defending their Super Bowl title vs. "America's Team", the most valuable sports franchise and quarterback Dak Prescott was a wild success and possibly one of the top-10 best season-opening games.
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In front of a sold-out crowd at Raymond James Stadium, the Cowboys pushed the Buccaneers to the final play. Tampa Bay still has the second-best odds to repeat as champions (+550 on FanDuel), behind the Kansas City Chiefs. For Dallas, the game was a heart-breaking loss and a heaping dose of encouraging hope, as our Richie Whitt writes in his 10 observations of the defeat.
For NBC, it was a smashing success.