NFL's Monday Night contest has highest ratings since 2013

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, number 8, weaves his way through the Las Vegas defence in one of the most watched Monday Night Football week one contests in the past decade (AFP/Chris Unger)
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Monday's thrilling overtime clash between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens ended up having the highest TV ratings for a Monday Night Football opening week game in eight years.

The marathon contest, won by the Raiders 33-27, capped the league's kickoff weekend which also recorded the second-highest TV ratings for week one in the past five seasons.

The Raiders win averaged a total of 15.3 million people on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, making it the most watched since 2013 when Washington and Philadelphia averaged 16.5 million.

The 16 weekend games averaged 17.4 million viewers on television and digital services, a seven percent increase over last season's 16.3 million average.

The most-watched game of the week was last Thursday's 31-29 victory by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Dallas Cowboys. It averaged 26.4 million viewers on NBC and digital, making it the most-watched first game of the season since 2015.

The viewing numbers were expected to go up after last season's games were played in front of empty stadiums during the global coronavirus pandemic. In many cases tickets-buying fans were replaced by cardboard cutouts, making for odd viewing aesthetics.

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