ESPN's Monday Night Football: Cable's Most-Watched Series for Sixth Straight Year
14 of 20 Biggest Cable Household Audiences of 2011; Saints-Falcons MNF Finale Helps ESPN Win the Night
For the sixth straight year, ESPN's Monday Night Football ranks as the most-watched series on cable television, drawing 14 of the calendar year's 20 biggest cable household audiences, and 13 of the top 20 among viewers. ESPN's 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2011 averaged a 9.7 rating (8.4 US rating), representing an average of 9,589,000 households (13,252,000 viewers - P2+), according to Nielsen. Additionally, ESPN ranked as the No. 1 network each Monday night this season among the coveted key male demographics (M18-34 and M18-49).
In six seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered eight of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history. (Only two 2011 Bowl Championship Series college football games - which also aired on ESPN - rank higher.)
MNF Season-Finale: Falcons-Saints
MNF ended its 42nd season on a strong note this week with the New Orleans Saints' 45-16 victory over NFC South rival Atlanta, as Saints quarterback Drew Brees broke Hall of Famer Dan Marino's 27-year-old NFL single-season passing record. The telecast delivered a 10.6 rating (9.2 US rating), representing an average of 10,530,000 households (15,638,000 viewers - P2+). MNF led all the night's programs (broadcast or cable) among households, viewers and all key male and adult demos, making ESPN the top network for the night in all categories.
MNF on TV
Highlights for the 2011 NFL season:
· ESPN's MNF games rank as 14 of the 20 biggest audiences among households and 13 of the 20 biggest among total viewers for cable television in 2011;
· ESPN led all networks - cable or broadcast - in delivery of men 18-34 and 18-49 every Monday in prime time this season; ESPN was also No. 1 in men 25-54 in 15 of 16 weeks, and No. 1 among adults 25-54 on 10 Mondays;
· Four times, ESPN won the night as the most-watched network among households and five times among viewers - cable or broadcast - in prime time on Monday;
· ESPN's highest-rated MNF game of 2011 was the Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys (Sep. 26) with 12,173,000 households and 17,104,000 viewers based on a 12.3 rating.
ESPN Monday Night Football Season Averages (2006-11)
Year Rating Households (000s) Viewers (000s)
2011 9.7 9.589 13.252
2010 10.5 10.495 14.657
2009 10.4 10.315 14.382
2008 8.9 8.679 11.962
2007 8.6 8.277 11.230
2006 9.9 9.109 12.325
NFL on ESPN Digital Platforms
On Saturday through Monday, ESPN digital platforms generated an average minute audience of 100,000 - up 8 percent compared to the same time period last season (source: Adobe/Omniture). The Fantasy Football section on ESPN.com was also up 14 percent with an average minute audience of 13,000. Additionally, the NFL section on the ESPN mobile Web site logged an average minute audience of 20,000, a 37 percent gain. Season-to-date, the average minute audience of NFL content across digital platforms is up 16% from last year.
MNF Team to Call 2012 Discover Orange Bowl
ESPN's Monday Night Football team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will return to the booth to call the 2012 Discover Orange Bowl between Big East champion West Virginia (ranked No. 23) and ACC champion Clemson (No. 15). The Bowl Championship Series game will be played at Sun Life Stadium in South Florida on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, on ESPN and ESPN HD (simulcast on ESPN3.com) at 8:30 p.m. ET.