ESPN and Monday Night Football Win the Night


ESPN and Monday Night Football Win the Night

Packers-Seahawks Delivers 12.0 Rating and 16.2 Million Viewers

Postgame SportsCenter is Most-Viewed and Second Highest-Rated in the Show’s History 

Last night’s ESPN Monday Night Football game – the Seattle Seahawks’ controversial 14-12 last-second victory over the Green Bay Packers – helped ESPN win the night among all networks – broadcast or cable – in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. Similarly, MNF led all television programs.

The game earned a 12.0 household coverage rating (10.3 US), representing an average of 11,751,000 households (16,167,000 viewers – P2+), the third largest audience among viewers (second among households) for any program on cable television in 2012, according to Nielsen. The game peaked between 11:45 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET (the final 15 minutes of the game) at a 13.8 household coverage rating. 

ESPN’s BCS National Championship Game (Alabama-LSU, 1/9/12) ranks as the most-viewed program of Nielsen’s year (24,214,000 viewers), followed by the network’s 2012 Rose Bowl (17,558,000 – Wisconsin-Oregon, 1/2/12).

In Milwaukee, the game delivered a 15.1 rating on ESPN and a 37.8 rating on WISN-ABC, for a combined 52.9 rating in the market. In Seattle, the game delivered a 19.6 rating on ESPN and a 15.7 rating on KONG-IND, for a combined 35.3 rating in the market. Other top-10 rated markets include: Las Vegas (20.4), Minneapolis-St. Paul (16.5), New Orleans (16.2), Richmond, Va. (16.2), San Diego (15.3), Jacksonville (14.8), Denver (14.6) and Norfolk, Va. (14.2). 

Through the first three weeks of the NFL season (four games), ESPN’s MNF is averaging a 10.0 household coverage rating (8.6 US), 9,798,000 households and 13,358,000 viewers, virtually even with last season.

ESPN’s Most-Viewed and Second Highest-Rated SportsCenter

ESPN’s 90-minute MNF postgame SportsCenter (12-1:30 a.m. ET) delivered a 5.2 rating (4.5 US) with 5,092,000 households and 6,462,000 viewers, ranking as the network’s most-viewed SportsCenter on record (airing 20 minutes or longer; records back to Jan. 1, 1990) among households and viewers. The previously most-viewed SportsCenter followed the MNF game on Nov. 14, 2011 (Minnesota vs. Green Bay): 4,470,000 households and 5,940,000 viewers.

The postgame SportsCenter also ranks as the second highest-rated SportsCenter (airing 20 minutes or longer) on record behind the Christmas night (12/25) show in 1994 that followed ESPN’s NFL telecast between the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins (5.3 rating).

ESPN Digital Platforms

ESPN also saw significant traffic across its digital platforms on Sunday and Monday:

  • NFL section – An average minute audience of 36,000 was up 32 percent from last year with an average 4.3 million unique visitors, up three percent compared to the same two days last season. 
  • Fantasy Football section – An average minute audience of 61,000 (up 20 percent), averaging 3.4 million unique visitors (flat).
  • ESPN mobile Web NFL section – An average minute audience of 27,000, up six percent, reaching 3.8 million unique visitors, up 17 percent.

Next Week on MNF

Next week, ESPN’s MNF returns with a matchup of top NFC teams as Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears (2-1) travel to Texas on October 1 for a shootout with Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys (2-1) at 8:30 p.m.  



Bill Hofheimer

I oversee ESPN’s pro football PR, including Monday Night Football and NFL studio shows. Other programs I work on include ESPN soccer, Around the Horn and PTI.