NFL Network Kickoff: Best Opener With 5 Million Viewers


NFL Network kicked off its 2010 primetime slate of games with its most-watched opener.

The pro football league's in-house network averaged 5 million viewers with its coverage of the Atlanta Falcons' 26-21 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 11, according to Nielsen data. The total -- excluding the audience on over-the-air stations in Baltmore and Atlanta -- surpassed last year's first contest between the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears by 28%.

Falcons sack Ravens in Thursday Night Football

The fifth-season opener of Thursday Night Football was the most-watched sports event on Nov. 11, topping TNT's NBA doubleheader presentation of the Boston Celtics' decision over the Miami Heat (4.2 million) and the Denver Nuggets handing the Los Angeles Lakers their first loss of the season (2.9 million) ESPN's coverage of the Big East football battle in which Connecticut topped Pittsburgh (1.9 million)

Next up on Thursday Night Football: the Chicago Bears at the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. (ET).