More viewers watch Clinton than NFL game

Bill Clinton's DNC speech was seen by an average of 25.1 million viewers across seven networks. Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post

Former President Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night drew more viewers than the NFL season opener, according to ratings from Nielsen.

The NFL game on NBC garnered an average of 19.8 million viewers compared to the Democratic National Convention, which was watched by an average of 25.1 million viewers, from 10 to 11:30 p.m. ET across seven networks.

As a point of comparison, the NFL's kickoff game between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins in 2008, which was the last time a game was played against a political convention, averaged only 13.5 million viewers.

The league moved the game from its typical Thursday-night opener to Wednesday night to avoid competition with President Barack Obama's speech. But Clinton proved to be a formidable opponent as well.

"We obviously went up against a former president last night, but it worked out well for us," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said at Bloomberg's Sports Business Summit in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon. "It was better than when we put the game on at seven on Thursday night."

NBC said last night's television audience for the game, which garnered an average of 23.9 million throughout the broadcast, was still the third best among the 11 "Kickoff" games.