ESPN’s Monday Night Football Featuring Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants Delivers Cable’s Third Most-Watched Sporting Event in 2020


ESPN’s Monday Night Football Featuring Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants Delivers Cable’s Third Most-Watched Sporting Event in 2020

  • Steelers-Giants is Cable’s Most-Watched Sporting Event Since January; Overall, Cable’s Best Since February
  • MNF’s Titans-Broncos Audience Among Cable’s Most-Watched Sporting Events in 2020

The first game of ESPN’s signature NFL Week 1 Monday Night Football doubleheader — Pittsburgh Steelers at the New York Giants (7 p.m. ET) — delivered cable’s third-highest audience for a sporting event in 2020 and cable’s best in the category since January, as the game averaged 10,760,000 viewers.

Inclusive of all cable programs in 2020 – sports and beyond – the audience for Steelers-Giants ranks as the fourth best overall, trailing ESPN’s presentation of the CFP National Championship on January 13 and the Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day, in addition to the State of the Union Address on February 4 (Fox News).

The audience for the Steelers’ victory surpassed ESPN’s audience for the 2018 MNF doubleheader opening game between the New York Jets and Detroit Lions (10.4 million viewers), but trailed last year’s corresponding game, a thrilling come-from-behind victory for the New Orleans Saints over Houston.

Additional Steelers-Giants Highlights:

  • ESPN’s audience peaked at 13,101,000 viewers (9-9:15 p.m.)
  • Inclusive of ESPN’s Deportes, the viewership was 10,810,000 fans
  • Local markets: Pittsburgh was the top market, drawing a 36.1 local rating across both WTAE (25.9) and ESPN (10.2). New York, the No. 3 market, finished with a 10.5 rating across WPIX (4.1) and ESPN (6.4)
Rank Market Local Rating
1 Pittsburgh 36.1*
2 Philadelphia 11.1
3 New York 10.5*
4 Baltimore 10.1
5 Washington, DC 10.0
Denver 10.0
7 Norfolk 9.9
West Palm Beach 9.9
9 Cleveland 9.8
Columbus 9.8

*Includes local network and ESPN

Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos Caps ESPN’s Season Opening Doubleheader
ESPN’s second game of the Monday Night Football doubleheader featuring the Tennessee Titans at the Denver Broncos (10:15 p.m.) delivered an audience of 7,697,000 which ranks among the top six most-viewed sporting events on cable in 2020.  ESPN has now aired seven sporting events with more than seven million viewers in 2020, a feat no other cable network has accomplished once.

MNF Doubleheader Propels ESPN to “Win the Night”
The annual MNF doubleheader lead ESPN to “Win the Night,” as the network was the most-watched across broadcast and cable in primetime among households, viewers and key demos (M18-34, M18-49, M25-54, P18-34, P18-49, P25-54).


More on Tennessee-Denver:

  • Inclusive of ESPN Deportes, the viewership jumps to 7,730,000 people
  • Denver was the No. 1 local market, drawing a 26.2 local rating combined across KTVD (14.1) and ESPN (12.1). Nashville was the second-rated market with a 17.7 rating across WZTV (9.1) and ESPN (8.6).


Rank Market Local Rating
1 Denver 26.2*
2 Nashville 17.7*
3 Seattle-Tacoma 8.5
4 San Diego 8.2
5 Kansas City 7.9
6 San Francisco 7.8
7 Las Vegas 7.2
8 Phoenix 7.1
9 Sacramento 6.8
Memphis 6.8

*Includes local network and ESPN

Please note: Numbers now includes out-of-home reporting


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner



Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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