Huge ratings for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football”


If you were watching Monday’s 30-23 home victory by the Minnesota Vikings over the Green Bay Packers, you were a part of cable TV history. The “Monday Night Football” (MNF) telecast drew the biggest audience ever for a cable channel.

The game earned a 15.3 Nielsen rating, representing 15,136,000 homes (21,839,000 P2+), surpassing the previous cable viewership record, ESPN’s Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys MNF telecast of September 15, 2008 (12,953,000 homes, based on a 13.3 rating, 18,608,000 P2+). 

The game eclipsed ESPN’s previous best 14.4 rating (8,400,000 homes) for the Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings game on December 6, 1987, ESPN’s first season of NFL games.  ESPN’s 90-minute “Monday Night Countdown” pre-game (7-8:30 p.m. ET) also recorded its best rating (3.5) and most-viewed show ever (3,476,000 households and 4,540,000 viewers). The previous best was a 3.3 rating (3,075,000 households, 4,056,000 P2+) on September 25, 2006.

Hometown TV stations also scored big ratings. The game delivered a combined 58.3 rating in Minneapolis – 17.5 on ESPN, 40.8 on KTSP-TV (ABC) – and a combined 49.7 rating in Milwaukee – 13.6 on ESPN, 36.0 on WISN-TV (ABC).