The 2019 season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader averaged 12 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. This is an increase of 18 percent year-over-year and ranks as the most-viewed doubleheader on ESPN since 2015.
Texans-Saints and Broncos-Raiders were the two highest-rated telecasts of the night across all broadcast and cable networks and helped ESPN win the night among all networks, broadcast or cable, in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos (18-34, 18-49, 25-54, 55+).
MNF’s success added to ESPN’s 40th anniversary weekend where college football games, the US Open and news and information shows reached a combined 72 million people, the ESPN App set a two-day record engaging 14.3 million fans, and the ESPN Fantasy App recorded its biggest day ever.
ABC’s Saturday telecasts of LSU at Texas and Texas A&M at Clemson generated two of the network’s most-watched September college football games in recent history and elevated the network to its most watched Saturday college football slate in more than two years. On the same day, ESPN televised its most-watched US Open Women’s Championship and then followed that up on Sunday with its most-watched US Open Men’s Championship in four years (release).
Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints
The early game (7:15-10:30 p.m. ET) in ESPN’s Week 1 doubleheader – the regular season debut for ESPN’s new Monday Night Football commentator team and a thrilling New Orleans Saints’ 30-28 victory over the Houston Texans – averaged 13.2 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. This is an increase of 25 percent year-over-year and ranks as the most-viewed early game in ESPN’s opening doubleheader since 2015.
- On ESPN, Texans-Saints averaged a 7.8 US household rating and 13,078,000 viewers. The telecast peaked from 10:15-10:30 p.m. ET with an 11.2 US household rating and 18,934,000 viewers.
- On ESPN Deportes, Texans-Saints averaged an additional 137,000 viewers.
Local markets: In Houston, the game delivered a combined 25.9 rating in the market (7.0 rating on ESPN). In New Orleans, the game delivered a combined 56.8 rating in the market (13.0 rating on ESPN).
The top metered markets (not including those of the competing teams): Denver (13.8), Kansas City (13.1), Jacksonville (12.8), Dallas-Ft. Worth (12.6), Buffalo and Richmond-Petersburg (12.4), San Diego (12.2), Las Vegas (12.1), Nashville (12.0), San Antonio and Tampa-St. Pete (11.6).
Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders
The late game (10:30 p.m.-1:15 a.m. ET) in ESPN’s Week 1 doubleheader – an Oakland Raiders’ 24-16 victory over the Denver Broncos – averaged 10.7 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. This is an increase of nine percent year-over-year and ranks as the most-viewed late game in ESPN’s opening doubleheader since 2015.
- On ESPN, Broncos-Raiders averaged a 6.5 US household rating and 10,619,000 viewers. The telecast peaked from 10:15-10:30 p.m. ET with a 9.4 US household rating and 15,877,000 viewers.
- On ESPN Deportes, Broncos-Raiders averaged an additional 113,000 viewers.
Local markets: In Denver, the game delivered a combined 34.3 rating in the market (17.2 rating on ESPN). In San Francisco – this market includes Oakland and San Jose, the game delivered a combined 17.1 rating in the market (9.1 rating on ESPN).
The top metered markets (not including those of the competing teams): San Diego (17.1), Las Vegas (14.8), Sacramento (13.5), Albuquerque-Santa Fe (13.3), Los Angeles (12.7), New Orleans (11.8), Phoenix (11.7), Seattle-Tacoma (11.5), Salt Lake City (10.4), Jacksonville (10.2).
SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt
Following the doubleheader, SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt delivered 2.6 million viewers, which is a 15 percent increase year-over-year.
Sunday NFL Countdown
ESPN’s Week 1 Sunday NFL Countdown ranks as the most-viewed episode since the 2016 season. The three-hour show delivered 1.6 million viewers; a 15 percent increase year-over-year.
Week 2 on ESPN’s MNF
MNF will feature the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets in the NFL 100 Game of the Week. The longest-running series in the history of sports television, MNF debuted with Jets-Browns on Sept. 21, 1970.