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“Monday Night Football” on ESPN is Most-Watched Cable Series for Eighth Consecutive Year

“Monday Night Football” on ESPN is Most-Watched Cable Series for Eighth Consecutive Year

December 26, 2013 by Douglas Pucci in Highlights, TV Ratings with 0 Comments

ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” finished yet another year as the most-watched series on cable television, drawing six of cable’s 10 biggest audiences for the calendar year among total viewers and seven of 10 among households. “Monday Night Football” has been cable’s most-watched series of the year since its 2006 inception on ESPN.

According to Nielsen, ESPN’s 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2013 averaged an 8.6 U.S. household rating, representing an average of 13.68 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. Additionally, ESPN ranked as the No. 1 network (on Broadcast and Cable) all 16 weeks for men 18-49, and 15 of 16 Monday nights this season among coveted key male demographics (men 18-34 and 25-54) and adults 18-34, while winning the night among households and viewers on eight Mondays this fall.

The 2013 season ranks as the third highest-rated and most-viewed season in ESPN’s eight years of presenting Monday Night Football (see chart below). Since 2006, “Monday Night Football” has registered five of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history. This also marks the 27th consecutive year that ESPN’s prime-time NFL series is cable’s most-watched series; for the 19 years prior to 2006, ESPN had aired “Sunday Night Football.”

Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III

MNF on TV
Highlights for the 2013 NFL season:

  • ESPN’s highest-rated MNF game of 2013 was the Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears (Dec. 9: 10.2 U.S. household rating, 11.815 million households and 16.19 million total viewers). The most-viewed MNF game was the Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins season-opener (Sept. 9) with 16.52 million total viewers and 11.74 million households based on a 10.1 U.S. household rating.
  • Top-10 metered markets for the MNF season: New Orleans (16.8), Sacramento (14.6), Las Vegas (14.3), San Diego (13.7), Richmond, Va. (13.3), Seattle-Tacoma (13.1), Norfolk-Portsmouth, Va. (12.4), Washington D.C. (12.2), Charlotte (11.8) and Baltimore (11.8).
ESPN Monday Night Football Season Averages (2006-13)
Year US Rating Households (000s) Viewers (000s)
2013 8.6 9.993 13.679
2012 8.2 9.325 12.826
2011 8.4 9.589 13.252
2010 9.1 10.495 14.657
2009 9.0 10.315 14.382
2008 7.6 8.679 11.962
2007 7.3 8.277 11.230
2006 8.2 9.109 12.325
Source: Nielsen


The Most-Watched MNF season on ESPN Deportes

“Monday Night Football” on ESPN Deportes averaged 68,000 total Hispanic viewers for the 17-game schedule in 2013, with a 0.3 Hispanic Household US rating. It was the most-watched MNF season on record for ESPN Deportes among Hispanic viewers, surpassing 2009 (62,000 Hispanic viewers), and the Hispanic household mark equals the season-best from 2009. In all, Hispanic households and viewers increased 32 percent and 26 percent, respectively, versus 2012 (34,000 households and 54,000 viewers).

On two occasions in 2013, ESPN Deportes registered the most-watched NFL game ever on nationally broadcast Spanish-language television. First, MNF’s Patriots-Panthers telecast (Nov. 18) averaged a 0.6 Hispanic Household rating and 90,000 Hispanic households and 157,000 Hispanic viewers (P2+). Three weeks later, ESPN Deportes’ Cowboys-Bears telecast (Dec. 9) set a new record, averaging a 0.7 US Hispanic Household rating and 105,000 Hispanic households and 174,000 Hispanic viewers (P2+).

In addition to the success on ESPN Deportes, the MNF Hispanic audience on ESPN averaged 720,000 Hispanic households and 1,018,000 Hispanic viewers in 2013, increases of 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively, versus 2012 (649,000 households and 929,000 viewers).

NFL on ESPN Digital Platforms
ESPN Digital Media’s NFL content across all platforms – ESPN.com, mobile Web, apps and WatchESPN – during all 17 Monday Night Football games over 16 Mondays this season generated an average minute audience of 610,000, an increase of 31 percent compared to 2012.

Monday’s Falcons-49ers game on WatchESPN logged 8.3 million live minutes, 131,000 unique viewers, and an average minute audience of 42,000, up 188 percent, 225 percent and 212 percent, respectively, compared to last season. Also on Monday, the ESPN SportsCenter app generated an average minute audience of nearly 138,000, up 55 percent over last year, and the ESPN Fantasy Football app logged an average minute audience of more than 153,000, up 92 percent.

Douglas Pucci
by Douglas Pucci

Douglas Pucci (a.k.a. “Son of the Bronx”) is a frequent contributor to TV Media Insights, hosting the site forum’s many companion games about TV and writing reviews of various shows. A Bronx native, NYU graduate and once-intern for VH1′s “Pop Up Video,” Pucci also went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City.

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