The main event for Monday Night Football wasn't the game, it was the halftime premiere of the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Action and glimpses of the origin stories for the series' new characters saturated the 2:35 minute spot, which went online moments after.

Tickets for the film, out Dec. 18, were supposed to go on sale immediately after the trailer played, but were made available earlier in the day. Online ticketing sites like Fandango crashed amid the demand.

In the U.K., ravenous fans swarmed onto British cinema sites for advance tickets, sparking some websites to crash or slow to a crawl due to the strain. The Picturehouse chain reported "unprecedented" demand, while a Vue spokesman reported selling 10,000 tickets in 90 minutes. 

The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the franchise, is being directed by J.J. Abrams and is shrouded in secrecy. One of the most anticipated movies of the year, even its trailer launches have become events in and of themselves. The second teaser trailer, which debuted in April, has received more than 64 million views on YouTube to date.

Monday night's trailer release came after a day of other Star Wars material, including a new poster and some short video clips.

With files from CBC News