Week One Sunday night ratings improve, despite hurricane

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As Hurricane Irma approached Florida on Sunday, millions were glued to the TV coverage, and rightfully so. It was a major storm with the potential to spark widespread destruction and devastation. Though it ultimately wasn’t as bad as it could have been, it was still a horrible weather event for most of Florida.

It thus became a foregone conclusion that the TV ratings for Week One would be impacted negatively by the storm. And maybe they were. Regardless, at least one of the major Week One games showed an increase over 2016.

The Giants-Cowboys opener — a dud of a 19-3 drubbing by Dallas — showed an increased TV audience of five percent over last year. The TV viewership of 24.2 million reflected an increase of five percent over last year’s 23.1 million who watched the Patriots-Cardinals game. The total audience, including live streams via NBCSports.com, also increased by five percent, with 24.5 million watching the game.

It will be interesting to see how the other games did in the other significant broadcast windows. Under the circumstances, the league has to be happy that the number for the major Week One prime-time game was up and not down.