Ratings predictions for the first week of the NFL season, plus the men’s final of the US Open and the first game of the WNBA Finals.
What to expect as the NFL season begins in earnest
After the season opener failed, the NFL numbers provide the funniest slate of games on Sunday. For the second year in a row, Tom Brady The pirates open their season against Duck Prescott and cowboys. Last year, they played in an entertaining and intensely contrasting Kickoff game that has been the highest rated and most watched start of the season since 2016. Another close match is expected this time where Tampa Bay is favored with a field goal only. Given the teams and co-stars, a blast should post a sharp increase from last year’s extraordinarily soft 9.6 rating for the Bears-Rams. Could last year’s rankings get closer to 13.4 in kickoff? less likely.
NFL Sunday Night Football: Buccaneers-Cowboys (8:20p Sun NBC). Prediction: 12.4 rating, 23.6 million viewers.
For the second year in a row, CBS and FOX air compete in the first week of the season. As one might expect, the networks broke themselves up last season and neither posted a particularly strong singles rating (although the combined audience was of course very strong). Two years ago, when FOX had its only window late in the first week, the network had a rating of 13.2 for coverage featuring Buccaneers-Saints. Last year, it scored just 8.3 in the first week’s late window (mostly from Packers-Saints) and CBS beat it head-on at 10.0 (mostly from Browns-Chiefs). Needless to say, FOX wasn’t excited about the new first week format.
Expect similar results this year head on. FOX has the Packers once again, this time against the band’s rival Vikings. CBS has the Chiefs again, this time against the Cardinals. If the Packers-Vikings game is as close as the odds makers expect (Green Bay is 1.5 points preferred) that might be enough to give FOX a small win.
NFL: Mostly Packers-Vikings (4:25p Sun FOX). Prediction: 9.7, 17.3 million.
NFL: Mostly Cardinals Chiefs (4:25p Sun CBS). Prediction: 9.0, 16.6 m.
Monday Night Football A new era begins with Joe Buck And the Troy Ekman, but there is little evidence that fans are following (or dropping out) because of the broadcasters. The game is the true story, and ESPN/ABC has a compelling match like Russell Wilson He returns to Seattle for his first game since leaving the Seahawks. Just like last season, MNF is kicking off the new year with simultaneous broadcasts on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2, the last of the three networks to carry Peyton and Eli Manning’s “Manningcast.” Looking at the story, expect the ratings to be ahead of last year’s 8.7 for Ravens-Raiders.
NFL Monday Night Football: Broncos Seahawks (8:15p Mon ESPN/ABC). Prediction: 8.9, 17.6m (1.6 million for ManningCast).
What will the men’s final fare at the US Open be without Familiar Faces?
Serena Williams It was the dominant storyline in the first week of the US Open, topping the prime-time window on four of the first five nights of the tournament and providing some of the biggest tennis fans ESPN has ever seen. Since her defeat in the third round, the focus has shifted Coco Guff And the Nick Kyrgiosthen to Francis Tiafoe. Now on the last day of playing, the last two players are 19 years old Carlos Alcaraz And the Casper Roadwho will not only fight for the men’s title on Sunday but for the number one spot in the world.
Dominate men’s tennis for a long time Roger FedererAnd the Rafael Nadal And the Novak Djokovic He finds himself in a dilemma – he needs fresh blood but still depends on those familiar faces. Alcaraz’s rise in particular may be exactly what the sport needs, but it seems unlikely that Sunday’s game will be particularly good in the rankings. The last time none of the “Big Three” made it to the US Open two years ago, the audience was in the 1.5 million range. Look for a better result this year, even though it’s still below the two million mark.
US Open Men’s Final: Casper Rudd – Carlos Alcaraz (4p Sun ESPN). Prediction: 1.85 million viewers.
Can the WNBA maintain its momentum in reversing the NFL?
Owner of Las Vegas Ice Mark Davis We are not pleased that his team’s WNBA Finals opener is taking place on the same day and time as the Raiders season opener. Nor should anyone be associated with the WNBA. It’s an exercise in self-sabotage to open a championship series on NFL Sunday — much less in the first week of the season — but it’s not uncommon for the WNBA.
The past two years have been marked by WNBA viewing milestones, including the league’s largest audience in 14 years last Sunday — 905,000 in Game Three of the Las Vegas-Seattle semifinals. The big difference between last Sunday and Sunday is of course the competition. There were no NFL games last week and a full slate of games this time around. That should mean the difference between an audience just shy of the million viewer mark and one just under half a million.
And it’s not helped by the presence of the Connecticut State team, which is a lesser known and smaller team than the one that was defeated in Chicago. The Sun last reached the finals three years ago, the title series was the least-watched since 2013 – despite having played all five games. There is no doubt that the WNBA would have preferred a large market competition between Seattle and Chicago, which are arguably the best known players in the league, So Bird And the Candice Parker.
For Sunday’s first game, it would be hard to see viewership drop that far – if it ever did – given the low level last year. Sky-Mercury opened with just over 450,000, also facing the NFL.
WNBA Finals Game 1: Connecticut-Las Vegas (3p Sun ABC). Prediction: 463,000.
US Open third round: Agla Tomljanovic – Serena Williams. prediction: 2.9 pm; result: 4.8 m.
– CFB: Notre Dame, Ohio. prediction: 12.71 pm; result: 10.53 m.
– CFB: Oregon Georgia. prediction: 6.20 pm; result: 6.20 m.
– CFB: FSU-LSU. prediction: 5.94 pm; result: 7.55 m.
– WNBA: Las Vegas – Seattle 3 game. Prediction: 958 K; result: 905 K.