The NFL Network has attracted a record 32.1 million viewers to its coverage of the National Football League season’s first nine weeks, up from 31.6 million last year.
Primetime weekday viewership rose 21 percent to an average of 167,000, while Sunday shows are up 17 percent to 250,000, the NFL said in a news release.
The NFL’s digital platforms, including NFL.com, have seen a 64 percent increase in page views, while unique users rose 37 percent.
The NFL Network begins its sixth season broadcasting live games tomorrow with the Oakland Raiders visiting the San Diego Chargers. In 2010, the eight Thursday night games were watched by a record average of 7 million viewers.
The NFL preseason was delayed by a labor fight with players over pay. The free-agency period that followed included a three-day period in which the network’s average daily viewership increased 288 percent over the previous year, to 186,000.
The NFL Network reaches about 60 million homes, about half of the U.S. households with televisions as counted by Nielsen Holdings NV. The Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game on Comcast Corp.’s NBC broadcast network on Nov. 6 drew an audience of 22.1 million.