Saturday, September 6, 2003

The NFL and ABC received the huge TV rating for which they hoped from Thursday night’s season opener between the Washington Redskins and New York Jets.

ABC yesterday reported an average rating of 12.9 and 22 share for the game, translating to 19.2 million viewers. The game ranked as the most-watched TV program of the summer and beat last season’s average for “Monday Night Football” by more than 2million.

The game also substantially beat last season’s opener between the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers, but that game was aired on cable via ESPN.

“It’s definitely a nice start to the season,” said ABC spokesman Adam Freifeld.

The rating denotes a percentage of the estimated 108.4million U.S. households with TV, while the share is the percentage of TVs in use tuned to a particular program.

Baseball’s All-Star Game in July, before Thursday the most watched sports program of the summer, generated a 9.5 rating, 17 share and average audience of 13.8million.

Not surprisingly, the Washington market generated the top local rating of any city in the country for Thursday’s game. Nearly 31 percent of area TV households watched at least part of the Redskins’ 16-13 victory, 7 percentage points better than any other metro area. The local 48 share was even more dominant.

The much-ballyhooed concert on the Mall, starring Aerosmith and Britney Spears, generated a much smaller TV audience than the game, averaging 9.3million viewers.

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