The 41st season of Monday Night Football was the highest-rated and most-viewed season since ESPN assumed sports television’s signature series in 2006. For the fifth straight year, MNF was again the most-watched series on cable television, drawing the calendar year’s 16 biggest cable household audiences, and the top 12 among viewers. For the second consecutive year, ESPN’s MNF averaged higher than a 10 rating and 14 million viewers for the season.
In five seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, four of which occurred this season.
ESPN’s 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2010 averaged a 10.5 rating (9.1 US rating), representing an average of 10,495,000 households (14,657,000 viewers – P2+), increases of 1%, 2% and 2%, respectively, vs. 2009 (10.4; 10,315,000 and 14,382,000), according to Nielsen. Additionally, MNF ranks No. 2 among all regularly-scheduled Prime Time television programs this season among the coveted adults 18-49 demographic.
MNF ended on a very strong note with last night’s game – the New Orleans Saints’ 17-14 road victory over NFC South rival Atlanta – delivering a 13.0 rating (11.2 US rating), representing an average of 12,957,000 households (19,137,000 viewers – P2+). The game ranks as the third-largest cable television audience all-time among both households and viewers, excluding breaking news. 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. It marks the sixth time MNF won the night among households, and the fifth time for total viewers, among all networks this NFL season.
“ESPN’s Monday Night Football was another resounding success this season, further demonstrating why it remains cable’s most valuable television franchise and the signature property within our year-round multiplatform NFL coverage,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming.
MNF on TV
ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed Monday Night Football game of 2010 was the New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (Dec. 27), which topped all of cable television for the year with 12,957,000 households and 19,137,000 viewers based on a 13.0 rating. In five years, ESPN’s MNF occupies the top 10 spots on the list of cable’s biggest audiences ever among households – and nine of the top 10 among viewers – excluding breaking news.
Other highlights for the 2010 NFL season:
ESPN’s MNF games rank as the 16 biggest audiences among households and the 12 biggest among total viewers for cable television in 2010;
ESPN led all networks – cable or broadcast – in delivery of men 18-34, men 18-49, adults 18-34 and adults 18-49 every Monday in primetime this season (16 consecutive weeks); ESPN was also No. 1 in men 25-54 in 15 of 16 weeks, and No. 1 among adults 25-54 on 13 Mondays;
Six times, ESPN won the night as the most-watched network among households, and five times for viewers – cable or broadcast – in Prime Time on Monday;
Monday Night Countdown, ESPN’s 90-minute weekly MNF pre-game show, finished with an average 2.7 rating and 2,729,000 households (3,532,000 viewers), representing increases of 13% and 16%, respectively. This ranks as Countdown’s highest-rated and most-viewed season ever. Countdown also registered its two most-viewed shows ever.
ESPN Monday Night Football Season Averages (2006-10)
|Year||Rating||Households (000s)||Viewers (000s)|
Most-Viewed Monday Night Football Games on ESPN (2006 – Present)
|Rank||Date||Program||Viewers (000s)||HHs (000s)|
|1.||10/05/2009||Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings||21,839||15,136|
|2.||11/30/2009||New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints||21,402||14,872|
|3.||12/27/2010||New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons||19,137||12,957|
|4.||09/15/2008||Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys||18,608||12,953|
|5.||10/25/2010||New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys||17,953||12,948|
|6.||12/03/2007||New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens||17,522||12,529|
|7.||09/27/2010||Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears||17,454||12,482|
|8.||10/11/2010||Minnesota Vikings-New York Jets||17,313||12,454|
|9.||12/20/2010||Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings||17,094||11,573|
|10.||12/28/2009||Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears||17,006||11,899|
Top 10 Most-Viewed Programs in Cable Television History (Households):
|1.||10/05/2009||Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings||ESPN||15,136|
|2.||11/30/2009||New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints||ESPN||14,872|
|3.||12/27/2010||New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons||ESPN||12,957|
|4.||09/15/2008||Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys||ESPN||12,953|
|5.||10/25/2010||New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys||ESPN||12,948|
|6.||12/03/2007||New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens||ESPN||12,529|
|7.||09/27/2010||Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears||ESPN||12,482|
|8.||10/11/2010||Minnesota Vikings-New York Jets||ESPN||12,454|
|9.||12/28/2009||Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears||ESPN||11,899|
|10.||10/23/2006||New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys||ESPN||11,807|
Top 10 Most-Viewed Programs in Cable Television History (Viewers):
|1.||10/05/2009||Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings||ESPN||21,839|
|2.||11/30/2009||New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints||ESPN||21,402|
|3.||12/27/2010||New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons||ESPN||19,137|
|4.||09/15/2008||Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys||ESPN||18,608|
|5.||10/25/2010||New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys||ESPN||17,953|
|6.||12/03/2007||New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens||ESPN||17,522|
|7.||09/27/2010||Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears||ESPN||17,454|
|8.||10/11/2010||Minnesota Vikings-New York Jets||ESPN||17,313|
|9.||08/17/2007||High School Musical 2||Disney||17,241|
|10.||12/20/2010||Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings||ESPN||17,094|
Note: excluding breaking news; live + same day
MNF games in bold