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Bills game gets strong rating in line with 2016 preseason opener

It might not have meant much, but the Buffalo Bills 17-10 preseason loss to the Minnesota Vikings Thursday night predictably was the highest-rated TV show of the summer in Western New York.

The three-hour game in Coach Sean McDermott's debut had a 20.0 rating on WKBW-TV (Channel 7), the local ABC affiliate. That was only slightly down from the 20.3 rating for the 2016 preseason opener.

But the start of the McDermott era isn't getting the early TV love of the first year of the Rex Ryan era.

The debut of former Coach Ryan two years ago had a 21.8 rating for a 25-24 preseason loss to Carolina. At that point, it was the highest-rated preseason game in decade. The four preseason games in Ryan's first year averaged a 23.5 rating. The four games in Ryan's second year in 2016 -- when expectations were diminished -- averaged a 17.0 rating.

Bills regular season games generally get average ratings in the high 30s or low 40s.

To put Thursday's rating in further perspective, the only summer program that averaged a double-digit rating in Western New York during the July sweeps was "America's Got Talent." It averaged a 11.4 rating for three episodes.

Because Thursday's game ended so early, Channel 7 carried an hour post-game show, which averaged a 6.7 rating.


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