Beginning with the Thursday night NFL season opener, viewers across the country got back to football and tuned into NFL games and visited NFL digital media properties in record numbers.
A record 107.4 million fans tuned into Kickoff Weekend games (Sept. 8-12) on CBS, ESPN, FOX and NBC to rank as the most-viewed opening weekend ever.
Three Kickoff Weekend games topped 25 million average viewers -- the NBC Thursday night opener (Saints-Packers, 27.2 million), FOX's national game telecast (mostly Giants-Redskins, 25.8 million) and the NBC Sunday night game (Cowboys-Jets, 25.8 million) -- to rank as the three most-watched sporting events since Super Bowl XLV. These three telecasts rank among the seven most-watched shows among all television programs since Super Bowl Sunday including awards shows, such as the Academy Awards, and season finales.
In addition, Kickoff Weekend games averaged 19.0 million viewers -- which coupled with last year's average of 19.5 million marks the first time in a quarter century that NFL opening-weekend games averaged at least 19 million viewers in consecutive seasons (1986-1987).
Below are some additional records and highlights from Kickoff Weekend.
» NBC's Sunday Night Football opener is the most-watched SNF game ever (Cowboys-Jets, 25.8 million viewers). NBC's two games averaged 26.5 million viewers, marking the highest Thursday-Sunday primetime average for NBC since the current Kickoff Weekend schedule was implemented in 2002. With Cowboys-Jets marking the first meeting in five years between starting quarterbacks of Hispanic heritage, NBC drew an SNF record 2.74 million Hispanic viewers.
» NFL games ranked first in all 30 NFL markets for the third consecutive Kickoff Weekend. NFL games also topped the ratings in 53 of Nielsen's 56 metered markets -- up from 48 of 56 metered markets in 2010.
» Three teams delivered record-setting ratings for season-openers in their home markets led by Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay (53.1 rating) followed by New England (33.9) and the New York Jets (19.7).
» Five clubs (Denver, Green Bay, Miami, N.Y. Jets, and Oakland) posted local ratings increases of more than 20 percent for Week 1.
» NFL digital media properties, including NFL Mobile only from Verizon, had its best opening weekend ever with 46 percent more people visiting than last year.
» On Sunday, fans watched 75 percent more video compared to Kickoff Sunday in 2010.
» Fans spent 48 percent more time on NFL digital media properties than last year.
» Visits to the expanded array of NFL mobile offerings were up nearly 500 percent from 2010.