The Buccaneers vs. Cowboys game was the most-viewed NFL opener since 2015

Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers passes towards the Dallas Cowboys all the arrangement during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium on September 09, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Mike Ehrmann | Getty Pictures

The Nationwide Soccer League started its 2021 season with an thrilling contest that contains two high quarterbacks and a stadium of followers, which helped it trap the most viewers since 2015.

NBC mentioned its 2021 NFL opener Thursday between the defending Colossal Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys averaged 26 million total viewers on all platforms and peaked on NBC TV at 25.4 million viewers between 9: 45 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET.

The sport marked a 20% lift in total viewership from closing yr’s NFL kickoff that contains the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. That contest averaged 19.3 million viewers and turned into the predominant NFL sport all the arrangement during the pandemic.

The 2020 NFL opener confronted competition from the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation, Primary League Baseball, Primary League Soccer and tennis’ U.S. Birth. Those leagues played at the identical time due to the pandemic postponements, which impacted NFL viewership. By comparability, the 2019 opener that contains the Inexperienced Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears averaged roughly 22 million viewers.

The Bucs beat the Cowboys, 31-29, gradual Tom Brady’s unhurried fourth-quarter pressure, main to the game-winning self-discipline purpose. Brady, 44, finished the game ending 32 of 50 passes and four touchdowns. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott additionally save on a expose, throwing for 403 yards and three touchdowns.

NBC, which shares a parent company with CNBC, mentioned the 2021 contest averaged 24.4 million viewers on TV and turned into the most-watched kickoff sport for the reason that Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots opener in 2015. That sport additionally featured Brady and attracted 27.4 million viewers.

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott (4) throws a slide all the arrangement during the popular season sport between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 09, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.

Cliff Welch | Icon Sportswire | Getty Pictures

Top markets for the 2021 NFL opener included Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Tampa Bay, Florida, and Providence, Rhode Island.

In line with promoting data agency EDO, the network introduced in an estimated advert spend of additional than $60 million for the 2021 NFL opener, up 16% from closing yr. EDO measures ads by job of search engine visibility, which quantifies advert engagement 5 to 10 minutes after an advert airs.

The agency told CNBC that crypto and financial products and companies firms shared 8.8% of total search engagement for ads that seemed all the arrangement during the Bucs vs. Cowboys matchup, while firms within the gambling class shared most fascinating 1.7%. The popular advert in closing evening’s sport generated 21% extra engagement than closing yr’s contest.

“Closing evening’s opening sport turned into sizable news for NFL advertisers, NFL broadcast companions, and the league,” mentioned EDO CEO Kevin Krim by job of email. “We saw solid yr-over-yr performance with high search rankings very a lot increased than closing yr’s opener.”

Disclosure: NBC and CNBC are divisions of NBCUniversal.

Correction: This text has been up thus a ways to replicate that viewership on NBC TV peaked at 25.4 million and that, in maintaining with EDO, crypto and financial products and companies firms shared 8.8% of total search engagement for ads all the arrangement during the game and gambling firms shared 1.7%.