New Orleans Saints fans apparently were eager to get a first look at their NFC South rival.
The Falcons’ season-opening loss at Philadelphia, televised nationally Thursday night on NBC, drew a higher TV rating in New Orleans than in Atlanta.
According to Nielsen figures provided by NBC Sports, the markets with the three highest ratings for the game were Philadelphia (32.9), New Orleans (24.6) and Atlanta (19.8).
The rating represents the percentage of households in each TV market watching the game on average.
The weather-delayed game ended after midnight ET, and the Atlanta audience dropped significantly in the second half.
The Falcons lost the game 18-12 to the defending Super Bowl champion.
Nationally, the game drew a 13.4 rating across the 56 metered markets. That was down from 14.6 for last season’s “NFL Kickoff” game between the Patriots and the Chiefs, and it marked the third year in a row the league’s opening game has drawn lower ratings than the year before.
Even so, Thursday’s Falcons-Eagles game was the highest-rated sports event on U.S. television since the 2018 Winter Olympics, NBC noted.
Behind Philadelphia, New Orleans and Atlanta, the markets with the next highest ratings for the game were Denver at 17.5, Milwaukee at 17.3, Richmond, Va., at 17.0, Norfolk, Va., at 16.6, Dallas at 15.8 and Greensboro, N.C., at 15.2.