Monday Night Football’s Week 1 Audience Jumps to 17 Million Viewers Following Nielsen Reporting Correction


Monday Night Football’s Week 1 Audience Jumps to 17 Million Viewers Following Nielsen Reporting Correction


Las Vegas, NV – September 13, 2021 – Allegiant Stadium: Las Vegas Raiders during a Monday Night Football game.
(Photo by Al Powers / ESPN Images)
  • ABC’s Audience Adds 1.7 Million Viewers; ESPN and ESPN2 Viewership Remain the Same
  • Ravens-Raiders Becomes Most-Watched MNF Game Since 2016
  • MNF Season-to-Date Average Increases Further, Now Up 24% over 2020 and 26% over 2019

ESPN’s Week 1 Monday Night Football (Sept. 13, 8 p.m. ET) audience has been corrected by Nielsen, resulting in a new viewership figure of 16,974,000 for the overtime thriller between the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders. The increased audience measurement is the result of an underreported ABC audience, as ABC’s audience now stands at 8,605,000 viewers, a 1,712,000 viewer increase from the original reported number. ESPN and ESPN2, which also televised the game, were not impacted, with their audience numbers staying at 7,569,000 and 800,000 viewers, respectively.

The Nielsen change became effective on Wednesday, October 6.

Viewership reported by Nielsen includes streaming audience across ESPN, NFL, and Yahoo Sports properties.

Monday Night Football’s Season-to-Date Average Now at 14.7 Million Viewers
As a result of the new change, Monday Night Football’s season average has jumped to 14.7 million viewers (four games), now, season-to-date, up 24% from 2020 (5 games, 11.9 million viewers) and up 26% than 2019 (5 games, 11.6 million viewers). The increased season average further amplifies a trend that has been established this season and was first documented in Sports Business Daily and The Wall Street Journal.

Ravens-Raiders Viewership Sparks Multiple Superlatives
Additionally, with an audience of 17 million viewers, the Ravens-Raiders viewership reaches new heights:

  • Most-watched Monday Night Football game since 2016 (68 games)
  • Most-watched Monday Night Football Week 1 game in the ESPN era (2006-present)
  • Third most-watched Monday Night Football matchup in the last 10 seasons (2012-present)
    • Washington at Dallas (Oct. 27, 2014) with 18,809,000 viewers
    • Detroit at Dallas (Dec. 26, 2016) with 18,610,000 viewers
  • Up 25% from 2019 7 p.m. ET opener and 51% from 2020’s 7 p.m. ET opener


Contact: Derek Volner ([email protected]



Derek Volner

I work in college sports, which includes football and basketball, with an emphasis on Olympic Sports. Additionally, I handle ESPN’s coverage of high school athletics and recruiting.
Back to top button