Patriots-Dolphins outdraws Tom Brady’s Buccaneers debut in Boston TV market

A penalty flag sits on the turf at Gillette Stadium.
A penalty flag sits on the turf at Gillette Stadium. –AP

The Patriots, featuring new quarterback Cam Newton, drew a big local television audience Sunday.

So did a certain former Patriots quarterback making his debut for his new team.

The Patriots’ 21-11 victory over the Dolphins Sunday, highlighted by Newton’s two rushing touchdowns, earned a 29.2 overnight rating and a 61 share in the Boston market Sunday in the 1 p.m.-4:15 p.m. window on Ch. 4.

Not surprisingly, when the Patriots game ended, local fans weren’t done watching football, particularly one game.

Tom Brady’s debut with the Buccaneers – a 34-23 loss to the Saints – drew a 22.1 rating and 43 share on Boston 25 in the 4:30-7:45 p.m. window. The late afternoon game on Fox is traditionally the highest-rated window of Sunday games every week.

Rating is the percentage of all television households in a market. Share is the percentage of households with their televisions in use at the time the game aired.

The Patriots broadcast peaked with a 33.5 rating and 67 share from 3:15-3:30 p.m. The Bucs-Saints game peaked with a 22.8/47 from 5:15-5:30 p.m.

The 66 share is a typically huge number for a Patriots opener, but the 29.2 rating is slightly lower than usual, indicating that fewer people in the Boston market were watching television at gametime than is typically the case on a Sunday afternoon.

The Patriots’ opener last year against the Steelers earned a 35.1 household rating and a 58 share in the market. That game aired in prime time on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

The last time the Patriots kicked off the season with a 1 p.m. start was in 2018, when they beat the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium. That game got a 34.8 rating and 68 share in Boston.

The overnight ratings are the first numbers reported the day after a game. They may be adjusted to a small degree later on after more data is available, particularly in regard to the specific times a game ended. The Patriots are expected to see a slight uptick in the ratings in the final numbers.

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