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Minnesota sports, as seen elsewhere

Vikings-Cowboys most-watched NFL Thursday Night Football game ever

More than 22 million viewers watched the Cowboys hold off the Vikings, 17-15, Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium, making it the most-watched Thursday Night Football game in NFL history.

The total audience delivery across all platforms, including Twitter, was 22.2 million, according to Fast National data released Friday. In the 56 major markets, the overnight average rating was 14.1 and in the Twin Cities 36.8.

NBC’s broadcast of the game averaged 21.8 million TV-only viewers, which is also the best ever for Thursday Night Football. The viewership on NBC and the NFL Network peaked at 23.5 million from 9:45 to 10 p.m.

The average minute audience for last night’s live stream on Twitter, NBC Sports and NFL Digital set another record of 479,000. More than 89 million live minutes of the game were streamed, up 50 percent from the New Orleans-Carolina game Nov. 17.

Twitter reached 3.5 million combined viewers worldwide during the pregame and game action for a minimum of three seconds with the video being 100 percent in view. Twitter set a new record of 2.9 million viewers reached during the game.  

The previous most-watched Thursday game averaged 21.1 million viewers when the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos beat Kansas City on Sept. 17, 2015.

The Vikings-Cowboys scored a 37.3 rating in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. That translates to just over 1 million homes, making it the most-viewed game in the market this season.  

Minneapolis-St. Paul had was a close second among major markets with its 36.8 rating, followed by San Antonio (26.5), Austin (23.7) and Albuquerque (22.6).

Gophers volleyball: Five things to know for the NCAA tournament

The Gophers women’s volleyball team hosts NCAA tournament first- and second-round games at the Sports Pavilion this weekend.

If you don’t know much about Gophers volleyball or the sport, this is a team worth getting to know as they begin their postseason journey pursuing the program’s first national championship. The Gophers face North Dakota in the first round at 7 p.m. Friday night. Southern California and Hawaii kick off the tournament at 4:30 p.m.

What you need to know:

No. 2 overall seed
The Gophers earned the program’s highest NCAA tournament seed (No. 2) after finishing the regular season 26-3 overall and 17-3 in the Big Ten. They finished tied for second in the conference standings, but beat first-place Nebraska in the final week of the regular season. Despite Nebraska earning the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, the Gophers were ranked No. 1 in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches’ Association poll.

Sold out
Tickets for this weekend’s games went on sale Tuesday morning and were sold out by the afternoon, according to the Gophers athletic department. The Sports Pavilion has a capacity of 5,840 and is considered among one of the best venues in the country. The Gophers have ranked in the top 10 in attendance for the past seven years and the community’s support for the sport will be on display Friday night. The matches will be shown for free on BTN Plus, which you can get here.

Loaded lineup
The Gophers are led by the Big Ten Player of the Year Sarah Wilhite and Setter of the Year Samantha Seliger-Swenson. Four other Gophers standouts also earned conference honors. The team’s roster is mostly built of Minnesota-grown talent. Five of the six Big Ten honors went to local products with Wilhite from Eden Prairie and Seliger-Swenson from Minnetonka.

Learn more about the sport
If you’re watching any matches this weekend and hear “out of rotation” or “overlapping” or “out of position,” it means a player moved out of their location/alignment before the ball was served and the other team receives a point. Also, have you wondered why one player on the court wears a different colored jersey? This athlete is the libero, a position utilized as a backcourt defender that is not allowed to move into the front half of the court to attack shots or blocks. However, they can hit from the back half of the court. The libero also doesn’t count toward the number of substitutions a team is allowed and is exempt from the regular player rotation. For these reasons, they are required to be identified by a different colored jersey.

NCAA tournament success
The Gophers have qualified for the NCAA tournament 18 of the last 20 seasons and are consistently one of the top teams in the best women’s volleyball conference in the nation. However, they have never won a national championship and played in only one title game. They missed the postseason for the first time in 15 years in 2014, the third year under coach Hugh McCutcheon, but recovered last season with a Big Ten championship and run to the Final Four. Most of last year’s team returned in 2016 and have the ability to compete for the elusive national title. 

TV Listings

Local Schedule

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  • Detroit at Gophers women's basketball

    2 pm on 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Wisconsin

    3:30 pm

  • Timberwolves at Charlotte

    6 pm on FSN, 830-AM

  • Gophers men's basketball vs. Vanderbilt at Sioux Falls, S.D.

    7 pm on 1500-AM

  • Ohio State at Gophers men's hockey

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Wisconsin

    2 pm

  • Wild at Edmonton

    8:30 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • NJIT at Gophers men's basketball

    7 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • San Antonio at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN, NBATV, 830-AM

  • Gophers women's basketball at New Mexico

    8 pm on 88.5-FM

  • Wild at Toronto

    6:30 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Timberwolves at Toronto

    6 pm on TNT, 830-AM

  • Army at Gophers women's basketball

    8 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers men's hockey at Michigan State

    5:30 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Boston U.

    6 pm

  • Edmonton at Wild

    7 pm on FSN, 100.3-FM

  • Detroit at Timberwolves

    7 pm on FSN PLUS, 830-AM

  • Georgia Southern at Gophers men's basketball

    8 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

  • Gophers women's hockey at Boston U.

    2 pm

  • Gophers men's hockey at Michigan State

    7 pm on BTN, 1500-AM

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Today's Scoreboard

No MLB games today

No NFL games today

  • Brooklyn

    Milwaukee

     

    - F

    103

    112

  • Minnesota

    Charlotte

     

    - H

    49

    52

  • Boston

    Philadelphia

     

    - 2nd, 9:17

    28

    34

  • Atlanta

    Toronto

     

    - 2nd, 10:02

    29

    34

  • LA Lakers

    Memphis

    7:00 PM

  • Chicago

    Dallas

    7:30 PM

    WGN

  • Denver

    Utah

    8:00 PM

    NBA

  • Miami

    Portland

    9:00 PM

  • Phoenix

    Golden State

    9:30 PM

  • Boston

    Buffalo

     

    - F

    2

    1

  • Carolina

    NY Rangers

     

    - F

    2

    4

  • Chicago

    Philadelphia

     

    - F

    1

    3

  • New Jersey

    Nashville

     

    - F

    5

    4

  • Toronto

    Vancouver

     

    - 2nd, 17:07

    0

    2

  • Winnipeg

    St. Louis

     

    - End 1st

    1

    0

  • Florida

    Ottawa

     

    - End 1st

    0

    2

  • Detroit

    Pittsburgh

     

    - 2nd, 15:20

    1

    0

  • Washington

    Tampa Bay

     

    - 2nd, 14:14

    0

    0

  • Columbus

    Arizona

     

    - 1st, 19:47

    1

    0

  • Dallas

    Colorado

    8:00 PM

  • Anaheim

    Edmonton

    9:00 PM

No MLS games today