The ‘Game of Thrones’ season 7 premiere had the highest ratings in the show’s history —  here’s how the seasons compare

Arya Stark
Arya Stark, ‘Game of Thrones’ season six HBO

The penultimate, seventh season of “Game of Thrones” premiered Sunday night, raking in the biggest live audience of any of its premieres.

“Game of Thrones” snagged a huge 10.1 million live viewers, per Nielsen ratings, as reported by Variety.

Although “Game of Thrones” has historically done well when it comes to season premiere ratings, the latest numbers show how much its audience has grown over the years.

Season six’s premiere was the only time when the ratings took a slight dip, but a 0.75% decrease in premiere viewership should hardly have concerned anyone at HBO.

And Sunday’s ratings were something for HBO execs to get excited about. They showed a 27.2% increase in live viewers from the season six premiere.

Here’s a chart that shows the progression of each season premiere:


The live audience ratings, however, don’t account for the number of DVR and streaming views from HBO’s streaming platforms, HBO GO and HBO Now. Streaming numbers for “Game of Thrones” don’t really begin to appear in the reported Nielsen numbers until the “Game of Thrones” season five premiere in 2015, which was the same year that HBO launched its streaming service, HBO Now.

With the addition of the streaming and DVR views recorded by Nielsen for “Game of Thrones” (seasons five through seven), the numbers go up. Season five’s season premiere numbers bump up to 9.8 million viewers, season six’s numbers to 10.7 million viewers, and season seven’s to a massive 16.1 million viewers.

So while the “Game of Thrones” season seven premiere was a record-breaking milestone for HBO, it also showed how many viewers are now turning to streaming platforms, and DVR, rather than watching on the traditional linear channel.