[10/24/06 - 03:55 PM]
ESPN's Monday Night Football: Cable's Largest Audience Ever
The game's 11.807 million households tops the previous record of 11.174 million for CNN's November 1993 NAFTA Debate between then-vice president Al Gore and Ross Perot on Larry King Live.

[via press release from ESPN]





Last night, ESPN's Monday Night Football, a 36-22 New York Giants victory over the Dallas Cowboys, was seen by the biggest audience in the history of cable television - an average of 11,807,000 homes, based on a 12.8 rating (16,028,000 viewers, P2+). The previous record for a scheduled program on cable television had stood for nearly 13 years, CNN's November 1993 NAFTA Debate between then-vice president Al Gore and Ross Perot on Larry King Live (11,174,000 homes). (That previous record excluded breaking news which ESPN has also exceeded; four CNN telecasts of the Gulf War in 1991 were seen by more homes than the NAFTA Debate, topped by 11,742,000 homes on January 17.)

"We've never believed the acronyms NAFTA and MNF belonged in the same sentence, and we're thrilled to have established MNF as the home of cable's biggest audience ever," said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, studio and remote production. "Many people here have worked very hard to establish our day-long, multi-media approach with lead-in and post-game programming plus 'Monday Night Surround' on ESPN.com. That fans have responded with the record is very rewarding and a vivid reminder of the power of Monday Night Football."


* ESPN's Monday Night Football now occupies seven of the top eight spots on the list of cable's biggest audiences ever (excludes breaking news).

* It was the sixth-straight week that MNF earned a rating over a 10 - all six weeks after the special opening Monday doubleheader which registered a 9.9 and 8.5.

* Last night ESPN led all networks - cable or broadcast - as the most-viewed network in primetime overall, and in all key adult and male demos: adults and men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.

* MNF continues to boost ESPN's ratings throughout the day; adding in the pre- and post-game shows, ESPN delivered 25.7 gross ratings points.

* Last night's MNF telecast was simulcast on local over-the-air channels in Dallas (10.5 rating) and New York (5.3 rating), boosting ESPN's audience to an estimated average of 12,400,000 households. The total also includes those viewing in high definition on ESPN HD.

* For the NFL season to date, MNF on ESPN is averaging a 10.8 rating and 9,961,000 homes (13,467,000 P2+) for eight games in seven weeks. These represent increases of 50%, 53% and 52%, respectively, compared to the first seven weeks of last year's ESPN Sunday Night Football (7.2 rating, 6.521 million homes, 8.878 million viewers).

* ESPN's eight MNF games so far are cable television's best ratings and largest audiences of 2006.


* Online, ESPN.com's NFL and "Monday Night Surround" content viewed on computers and wireless devices generated 24 million page views Monday, up 62 percent over page views last year according to Web measurement tool HitBox.

* The increase is boosted by the nearly quarter-million fans who have registered to play the Monday Night Surround Fan Challenge, the cornerstone interactive contest for ESPN.com's Monday Night Surround content.

* There were more than 1.7 million views of pro-football-related videos on ESPN Motion and ESPN360 on Monday (through Tuesday at noon).


Next week, ESPN's MNF will feature the New England Patriots visiting the Minnesota Vikings at 8:30 p.m.

  [october 2006]  


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