Update: Nielsen nationals are in, and the game drew 27.5 million viewers, the most for a regular season match-up since the Green Bay Packers took on the Dallas Cowboys in November, 1996.
NBC Sports released the followuing statement from NBC Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol:
“This record viewership speaks to the power of the NFL and our country’s extraordinary appetite for football,” said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. “This time of year is very special for so many football fans. We were fortunate to be able to cover the story of Brett Favre and the Vikings return to New Orleans. And we fully embraced the opportunity to provide a showcase for the city of New Orleans and the proud people of the Gulf region to celebrate such a unique and meaningful moment.
“On the business side, this shows what can happen when we apply a strategic, multi-platform marketing approach to put a broad promotional blitz behind a project. We take tremendous pride in our ability to build a big, broad audience for our partners.”
Original story: Last night’s game 2010 NFL kickoff game between the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings delivered the best overnight ratings for any regular season NFL game since 1997, and the best ratings ever for a regular season game on NBC.
The game drew a 17.7 rating/28 share from 8:45 -11:45 PM ET. The last regular season game to do that well was in December 1997, when the Denver Broncos took on the San Francisco 49ers. That game drew a 19.3 rating/30 share.
Not surprisingly, among the metered markets, New Orleans and Minneapolis led the way in terms of viewers.
Final ratings for the game will be available later today…