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Patriots-Steelers 2nd most-watched 'NFL Kickoff' game ever

STAMFORD, Conn. - September 11, 2015 - The New England Patriots' 28-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC last night averaged 27.4 million viewers to rank as the second most-watched ''NFL Kickoff'' game in the 14-year history of the event, according to Fast national data released today by The Nielsen Company.

The most-watched, highest-rated quarter hour was 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET with 30.2 million viewers and a 17.5/30. The most-watched ''NFL Kickoff'' was the 2010 opener (Vikings-Saints, 27.5 million) featuring an NFC Championship Game rematch, as Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings visited the then-defending Super Bowl-champion New Orleans Saints. Viewership for Steelers-Patriots was up 1% from last year's opening-game (27.1 million for Packers-Seahawks).

Last night's game (8:41-11:29 p.m. ET) registered a national household rating of 16.2/28 - also ranking second best among Kickoff games behind 2010 (16.5/28). The rating was up 3% from last year's opener (15.7/27).

The Super Bowl-champion Patriots' seven-point victory, led by QB Tom Brady (four touchdown passes and a team-record stretch of 19 consecutive pass completions) and TE Rob Gronkowski (three TD receptions), is television's most-watched show since the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship (28.3 million viewers on April 6).

DIGITAL: NBC Sports Live Extra's live stream of last night's NFL Kickoff generated record-setting digital numbers. Fans consumed more than 32 million minutes, setting a new NBC Sports Live Extra record and making it the highest-trafficked non-Olympic, non-Super Bowl live stream in NBC Sports Digital history.

The 32 million minutes live streamed tops last year's ''NFL Kickoff'' game by 31% (24.5 million minutes). NBC Sports Live Extra also posted a record-setting 530,000 unique viewers for Steelers-Patriots - topping last year's ''NFL Kickoff'' game by 5%.

NFL KICKOFF VIEWERSHIP:
(All Games on Thursday Night except 2012)

2015 (NBC): 27.4 million (New England 28 - Pittsburgh 21)
2014 (NBC): 27.1 million (Seattle 36 - Green Bay 16)
2013 (NBC): 25.1 million (Denver 49 - Baltimore 27)
2012 (NBC): 23.9 million (Dallas 24 - NY Giants 17)*
2011 (NBC): 27.1 million (Green Bay 42 - New Orleans 34)
2010 (NBC): 27.5 million (New Orleans 14 - Minnesota 9)
2009 (NBC): 20.9 million (Pittsburgh 13 - Tennessee 10)
2008 (NBC): 13.5 million (NY Giants 16 - Washington 7)

2007 (NBC): 17.8 million (Indianapolis 41 - New Orleans 10)
2006 (NBC): 19.2 million (Pittsburgh 28 - Miami 17)
2005 (ABC): 18.0 million (New England 30 - Oakland 20)
2004 (ABC): 16.9 million (New England 27 - Indianapolis 24)
2003 (ABC): 19.1 million (Washington 16 - NY Jets 13)
2002 (ESPN): 10.8 million (San Francisco 16 - NY Giants 13)

** Wednesday Night Game (First Wednesday NFL game since 1948)
* Early start due to Republican National Convention

TOP METERED MARKETS FOR STEELERS-PATRIOTS:
1. Boston, 39.5/62
2. Pittsburgh, 34.5/51
3. Providence    34.1/51
4. Baltimore        24.4/39
5. Richmond       23.9/36
6. Norfolk            23.4/37
7. Buffalo             23.2/37
8. West Palm Beach 22.4/39
9. Cleveland       21.7/33
10. Denver          21.7/38

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