The Detroit Lions are building a lot of positive momentum as a franchise. They have been working to get things moving in the right direction ever since 2008 when they went 0-16, and it goes without saying that the franchise is in a much better place now than it was four years ago. The Lions are coming off of a playoff appearance, and their roster is filled with young stars like Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh.
Needless to say, in terms of fan interest, the franchise has reached a level not seen in quite some time. Ticket sales are through the roof, as evidenced by last Friday's preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns selling out. The sellout allowed the game to be televised live locally, and this paid off in a big way in terms of ratings. From the Lions' official site:
The game was No. 1 among Metro Detroit households with an 11.0 rating. In comparison, the Olympics received a 10.1 rating. The Tigers' opening game to kick off a weekend series with the Texas Rangers received a 10.4 rating. Each rating point represents 17,000 households tuning in. The Lions game was the No. 1 program among men ages 18-49 (7.0 rating) and men ages 25-54 (9.3 rating).
According to the Lions, the ratings for Friday's game were up 10 percent from last year's preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. Granted, last year's game was shown on tape delay and not live, but even so, that's a really impressive jump and speaks to what the Lions have done to re-energize the fan base in the last few years.