via press release:
BEARS-PACKERS ON THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
MOST-WATCHED NFL NETWORK OPENER
WITH 8.6 MILLION VIEWERS
Ranks as Thursday’s No. 1 Show on Cable
NFL online & mobile traffic jumps 85 percent
Last night’s Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers game on NFL Network was watched by an average of 8.6 million viewers (not including over-the-air stations in Chicago and Green Bay/Milwaukee) – ranking as the most-watched opener in the seven seasons of Thursday Night Football.
The telecast of the 185th meeting between the teams – the most-played rivalry in NFL history - topped by 62 percent last year’s NFL Network opener between the Raiders and Chargers (5.3 million viewers). Bears-Packers was also Thursday’s most-watched program among all shows on cable doubling the viewership of the second-ranked show (“The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News Channel, 3.4 million viewers).
In addition, the Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Craftsman pregame show and McDonald’s Postgame Show live from the stadium, featuring host Rich Eisen and analysts Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin drew the best-ever averages for a TNF opener with a respective 805,000 average viewers (up 42 percent from last year’s opener) and 2.5 million average viewers (up 39 percent).
Complementary coverage of Bears-Packers online and via mobile devices drew an 85 percent jump in unique viewers and a 100 percent increase in live streams viewed over last year’s season average.
Thursday Night Football continues next week with the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants visiting the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 20 at 8:00 PM ET. The Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Craftsman pregame show begins at 6:00 PM ET. All Thursday Night Football games are available in their entirety on NFL Mobile from Verizon with complementary online coverage via NFL.com/LIVE Thursday Night Football.
This year marks the seventh season of live regular season primetime games on NFL Network. Last year’s edition of Thursday Night Football was the most-watched in the network’s history with a record average of 7.3 million viewers per game (including OTAs).
About NFL Network’s 2012 Thursday Night Football
Play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler and Emmy-nominated analyst Mike Mayock return to the Thursday Night Football broadcast booth for the second season and are joined by Alex Flanagan, who enters her third year as the sideline reporter.
Two hours before kickoff, NFL Network’s Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Craftsman pregame show is live from the stadium starting at 6:00 PM ET, taking viewers right up to kickoff with analysis and the latest reports. Host Rich Eisen is joined by Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin, and former head coach Steve Mariucci. Reporter Stacey Dales provides pregame news reports from the locker rooms, as well as interviews with players and coaches.
The Lexus Halftime Show and the McDonald’s Postgame Show provide additional analysis live from inside the stadium each week on Thursday Night Football.
Bollywood superstar and 2101 Records/Desi Hits!/ Interscope Records recording artist Priyanka Chopra is the featured artist for NFL Network’s Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Craftsman pregame show. Priyanka’s debut single “In My City,’ featuring will.i.am and produced by RedOne (Lady Gaga) and Brian Kennedy, is the music bed for the intro to Thursday Night Kickoff Presented by Craftsman. The release of the full song and accompanying video for "In My City" are expected later this fall. For more information on Priyanka Chopra, please visit iampriyankachopra.com.
Leading in to every Thursday Night Football game, Grammy Award-winning artist CeeLo Green sings the anthem entitled “I Love Football,” set to The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The 90-second show open for each Thursday Night Football game features fan-sourced videos uploaded by fans. To submit videos, please visit www.nfl.com/fanchise.
NFL Network 2012 Thursday Night Football Schedule
All games at 8:00 pm ET
- Week 2 - 9/13: Green Bay 23, Chicago 10
- Week 3 - 9/20: New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
- Week 4 - 9/27: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
- Week 5 - 10/4: Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
- Week 6 - 10/11: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans
- Week 7 - 10/18: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
- Week 8 - 10/25: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
- Week 9 - 11/1: Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
- Week 10 - 11/8: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
- Week 11 - 11/15: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
- Week 13 - 11/29: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
- Week 14 - 12/6: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
- Week 15 - 12/13: Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles