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Bills preseason opener is highest-rated TV program of the summer

The Buffalo Bills’ 24-16 victory over the Indianapolis Colts at New Era Field Thursday night was easily the highest-rated program this summer in Western New York.

It had a 21.3 rating on WKBW over three and a half hours. The telecast started at 7 p.m. with a 15.2 rating and the rating peaked at 8:15 p.m. at 25.6.

By comparison, the local network affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and the CW averaged about a 9.1 household rating in prime time combined during the recently completed July sweeps.

For further comparison, the second highest-rated prime time program Thursday night was a repeat of “The Big Bang Theory,” a 30-minute episode that averaged a 4.3 rating on WIVB-TV.

The rating Thursday was in line with the 21.9 rating for the Bills’ 28-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers in the 2018 preseason opener that also was a home game played on a Thursday night.

The 2017 preseason opener, a 17-10 loss to Minnesota in Sean McDermott’s coaching debut, had a 19.3 rating,

The Bills preseason ratings grew weekly last year as fans followed the progress of then rookie quarterback Josh Allen. A 19-17 win over Cleveland hit a 23.8 rating and a 26-13 loss to Cincinnati carried on Fox affiliate WUTV had a 25.7 rating in Allen’s first start.

Bills regular season games usually gets ratings in the mid to high 30s or low 40s.

3 up, 3 down following Bills' preseason win over Colts

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