Eagles-Redskins is ESPN’s Highest-Rated and Most-Watched MNF Opener
Last night’s special 2013 season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader helped ESPN win the night among all networks – broadcast or cable – in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. The MNF games ranked as the #1 and #2 telecasts of the night across cable and broadcast in those same categories, including the Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins opener which ranks as the highest-rated and most-viewed opening game since ESPN started televising MNF in 2006 (eight seasons).
The Eagles’ 33-27 road victory over Washington (6:58 p.m. ET) earned a 10.1 US rating, representing an average of 11,741,000 households (16,524,000 viewers – P2+), according to Nielsen. ESPN’s previous best season-opener was a 9.4 US rating and 14,973,000 viewers (Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Jets, 2010). In addition, only one ESPN MNF game in 2012 attracted a larger audience (Bears-Cowboys: 16,616,000 viewers).
The Eagles-Redskins telecast peaked from 10-10:15 p.m. with a 12.7 rating and 20,920,000 viewers. Overall, the game ranks as the fourth largest audience for any program on cable television in calendar year 2013, trailing only ESPN’s BCS National Championship Game (26.4 million viewers – Notre Dame-Alabama, 1/7/13), the BCS Sustainer, and the 2013 Rose Bowl (17.0 million viewers – Wisconsin-Stanford, 1/1/13) telecasts.
In Philadelphia, the game delivered an 11.0 rating on ESPN and a 24.1 on WPVI-ABC, for a combined 35.1 rating in the market. In Washington D.C., the game delivered a 22.3 rating on ESPN and a 16.5 on WDCA-IND, for a combined 38.8 rating in the market.
The top-10 metered markets outside of Washington and Philadelphia included: Richmond-Petersburg, Va. (27.5), Norfolk (23.9), Baltimore (22.3), New Orleans (19.1), Charlotte (17.1), Buffalo (14.8), Tampa-St. Petersburg (14.4), Indianapolis (14.1), Austin, Texas (13.9) and Las Vegas (13.3).
In the second game (at 10:25 p.m.), the Houston Texans’ come-from-behind 31-28 win in San Diego over the Chargers earned a 7.1 rating with an average of 8,178,000 households watching (10,951,000 viewers).
In Houston, the nightcap delivered a 9.4 rating on ESPN and a 17.9 on KTRK-ABC, for a combined 27.3 rating in the market. In San Diego, the game delivered a 17.8 rating on ESPN and an 18.9 on KUSI-IND, for a combined 36.7 rating in the market.
The ESPN MNF games finished as the two highest-rated telecasts of the night on any network, averaging an 8.7 US rating, 10,113,000 households (13,977,000 viewers). It is the highest-rated and most-viewed two-game average that ESPN has delivered for a MNF opening night since the format began in 2006. During the traditional MNF timeslot (8:30-11:45 p.m.), ESPN averaged a 10.9 US rating and 17,564,000 viewers.
ESPN Digital Platforms Log Significant Growth, MNF Record for WatchESPN
ESPN Digital Media’s NFL content across all platforms – ESPN.com, mobile Web, apps and WatchESPN – logged significant growth, generating an average minute audience of 605,000 during ESPN’s MNF doubleheader, marking an increase of 47 percent compared to last season. Highlights:
- The Eagles-Redskins game on WatchESPN logged 19.5 million live minutes and an average minute audience of 88,000, marking WatchESPN’s highest performing NFL game to date. Texans-Chargers also had a strong showing with an average minute audience of 62,000, more than any MNF game the previous year.
- ESPN’s MNF telecasts last night accounted for two-thirds (64 percent) of the overall television-related tweets on Twitter. With an average of 408,000 tweeters and 2.13 million total tweets, last night’s doubleheader grew its social audience by 95 percent and conversation by 137 percent compared to the same opening night last year.
Additionally, on Sunday, ESPN Digital Media’s average minute audience across all platforms was 597,000, up 17 percent compared to the previous year. Other highlights:
- ESPN.com reached more than 14.7 million unique visitors, up 4 percent
- The ESPN Fantasy Football app had 4.2 million unique visitors (up 86 percent) and an average minute audience of 228,000 (up 133 percent)
- The ScoreCenter app reached 7.6 million unique visitors (up 78 percent) and had an average minute audience of 143,000 (up 62 percent)
NEXT WEEK ON MNF
Next week, ESPN’s MNF returns with its usual schedule as Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Cincinnati to play Andy Dalton and the Bengals in a key AFC North matchup at 8:30 p.m. ET.