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[12/12/06 - 03:54 PM]
ESPN's NFL Coverage Up 38% VS. 2005
ESPN spins the numbers for Monday, December 11.

[via press release from ESPN]

ESPN�S NFL COVERAGE UP 38% VS. 2005

PLUS QUOTES & NOTES FROM LAST NIGHT 21 MILLION PAGE VIEWS MONDAY FOR ESPN.COM, UP 62% FROM 2005

Last night�s 42-27 victory by the Chicago Bears over the St. Louis Rams on ESPN�s Monday Night Football earned a 9.2 rating, representing an average of 8,490,000 homes (11,184,000 viewers, P2+). The game was simulcast on local over-the-air channels in Chicago (24.9 rating) and St. Louis (10.6 rating), boosting ESPN�s audience to an estimated average of 9,500,000 households. The total also includes those viewing in high definition on ESPN HD.

NFL Season to Date

MNF on ESPN is averaging a 9.9 rating and 9,153,000 homes (12,286,000 P2+) for 15 games in 14 weeks. These represent increases of 38%, 40% and 39%, respectively, compared to the first 14 weeks of last year�s ESPN Sunday Night Football (7.2 rating, 6.528 million homes, 8.833 million viewers).

ESPN leads all networks � cable or broadcast � in delivery of all key male demos on Mondays in primetime: men 18+, men 18-34, men 18-49 and men 25-54.

ESPN leads all cable networks in overall household delivery in primetime (an average of 2,571,000 households throughout the week). Also, last week for the 16th consecutive week the network led all cable networks in delivery of adult men on a total day basis (since the week of August 21), as well as men 18-54. In primetime last week, ESPN led all cable networks in delivery of adult men, men 18-34, men 18-54 and men 25-54.

ESPN�s 15 MNF games so far are cable television�s largest 15 household audiences of the year.

�Monday Night Surround� on ESPN.com

Online, ESPN.com�s NFL and "Monday Night Surround" content viewed on computers and wireless devices generated more than 21 million page views Monday, up 62% over page views last year according to Web measurement tool HitBox. In addition, there were 2.66 million views of pro-football-related videos on ESPN Motion and ESPN360 on Monday (through Tuesday at noon).

LAST NIGHT ON MNF

�ASK NOT, WHAT YOUR FAVORITE TEAM CAN DO FOR YOU��

�I�m here to answer some questions about a very important contest that�s been weighing on the minds of the American people. In Chicago, they�re asking: �Does the new guy have enough experience to lead us to victory?� In St. Louis, they�re wondering: �Are we facing a record that is really so formidable, or is it all just a lot of hype?� Let me tell you, I�m all too familiar with these questions. I would like to announce to my hometown of Chicago, and to all of America, that I am ready for the Bears to go all the way, baby!�

-- U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), potential presidential candidate, in a mock public address in ESPN�s special opening tease

TALE OF THE TAPE: SECOND CITY VS. GATEWAY TO THE WEST

�Just about 300 miles of I-55 separate Chicago and St. Louis, but a lot of similarities: Both are the home of the �blues,� hockey and music; both are great baseball cities, homes of the last two champs; they both have their own beefed-up 70 home run guys (Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa); football, we had Conrad Dobler (St. Louis), the dirtiest player, and Dick Butkus (Chicago), the meanest player; and Chicago gave us �The Fridge� (William Perry), while St. Louis gave us the beer (home of Anheuser Busch).�

� Mike Tirico, narrating a montage of images comparing the cities

�WIRED FOR SOUND� RAMS RECEIVER REVEALS RECEPTION ROUTE

�Did you see who it was on me? That was (Devin) Hester, 23, the rookie. Soon as I saw that, I knew he was going to react (to the fake).�

� Torry Holt, wearing a mic last night, talking to Mark Bulger on the sideline after they hooked up for a TD pass

RAMS� JACKSON GETS �A� FOR HOMEWORK

�To prepare for the Bears, Steven Jackson studied a lot of tape. And Jackson told me the key � freezing Brian Urlacher. Get him to stop his momentum. Urlacher is so quick, so good at closing, he�ll bite on the outside, so the Rams want to give the illusion of running outside, then cut back on him. You�ve seen Jackson do a lot of that.�

� Suzy Kolber, right after Jackson ran right, found himself facing Urlacher one-on-one, then cut back to the left for an eight-yard gain

�TORRY CAN YOU HEAR ME?�

�(Coach Scott) Linehan says the offensive line is playing well despite a bit of a surprise: there are so many Bears fans here, they�ve been playing with a silent count.�

� Kolber, on vocal visiting fans necessitating the home team to overcome crowd noise

ST. LOUIS BLUES: BEST MUSIC, BEST NAME

�You saw (a picture of) Nelly at the beginning, Miles Davis, Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Scott Joplin � St. Louis has provided a very impressive, broad array of musicians. Those five musicians alone have given St. Louis 20 Grammy awards.�

� Tirico

�And, I think, the best nickname in all of sports: the St. Louis Blues.

� Tony Kornheiser

�ANTICIPATION�

�One of the things Mark Bulger does so well is anticipating where the receiver is going to be� you�ll notice the receivers are hit in stride. They don�t have to reach back, they don�t have to slow down.�

� Theismann, as �ESPN PLAYBOOK� replays and graphics illustrated his point

RAMS ARE AGING

�The Rams played them even in the first half, and have gotten steamrolled in the second half. The Rams are going to go to 5-8 at this point. They�re an old team. They�ve got 11 guys 32 years and older, 16 guys 30 years and older. I think we�re watching them sink to the second division of the NFL, when just a few short years ago they were tremendously exciting.�

� Kornheiser

NEXT WEEK ON MNF

Next week, ESPN�s MNF will feature the Cincinnati Bengals visiting the Indianapolis Colts at 8:30 p.m.





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