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[12/29/09 - 04:20 PM]
ESPN's Highest-Rated and Most-Viewed Season of Monday Night Football
ESPN spins the numbers for Monday, December 28.

[via press release from ESPN]

ESPN's Highest-Rated and Most-Viewed Season of Monday Night Football

Most-Watched Series on Cable and 15 Biggest Cable Household Audiences of 2009;

ESPN.com Averages 84.6 Million Page Views on Mon./Tues., Up 24% From 2008

Vikings-Bears MNF Finale Wins the Night, Nets 12.0 Rating and 17 Million Viewers

The 40th season of Monday Night Football was the highest-rated and most-viewed season since ESPN assumed sports television's signature series in 2006 (four seasons). MNF was once again the most-watched series on cable television in 2009, set an all-time cable viewership record for the fourth straight year and drew the year's 15 biggest cable household audiences (and top 14 among viewers). For the first time, ESPN's MNF averaged higher than a 10 rating and 14 million viewers for the season. Monday Night Football ranks No. 10 among all regularly scheduled television programs this season.

In four seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered eight of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by this year's Packers-Vikings telecast October 5, which attracted cable's largest audience ever in both households (15,136,000 homes) and viewers (21,839,000), as well as the highest rating (15.3) in ESPN's 30-year history.

ESPN's 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2009 averaged a 10.4 rating, representing an average of 10,315,000 households (14,382,000 viewers � P2+), increases of 17%, 19% and 20%, respectively, vs. 2008 (8.9; 8,679,000 and 11,962,000).

MNF ended on a particularly strong note with last night's game � the Chicago Bears' 36-30 dramatic upset in overtime over the Minnesota Vikings -- delivering a 12.0 rating, representing an average of 11,899,000 households (17,006,000 viewers � P2+). The game ranks as the fifth largest household audience of all-time (No. 6 among viewers). MNF led all the night's programs (broadcast or cable) among households, viewers and all key male and adult demos, making ESPN the top network for the night in all categories. It was the sixth time MNF won the night for total viewers among all networks this season.

"The 40th season of Monday Night Football was an overwhelming success with competitive games, record-setting ratings and a resoundingly positive reaction from fans about our presentation," said George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN and ABC Sports. "It is a credit to the hundreds of people who work on the show week after week to ensure that the NFL's most storied television franchise continues to set the bar for sports on television while also ranking among the most-watched programs of the year."

MNF on TV

MNF occupies eight of the top 10 spots on the list of cable's biggest audiences ever among both households (excludes breaking news), and two games this season each averaged more than 21 million viewers � Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings game (Oct. 5) with an average of 21,839,000 total viewers (15,136,000 households, based on a 15.3 rating), and New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints (Nov. 30) with an average of 21,402,000 viewers (14,872,000 households, based on a 15.0 rating).

Other highlights for the 2009 NFL season:

ESPN's MNF games account for the 15 biggest household audiences for any cable television program in 2009.

ESPN led all networks � cable or broadcast � in delivery of men 18-34 and men 18-49 every Monday in primetime this season; ESPN was also No. 1 in men 25-54 in 15 of 16 weeks and No. 1 among people 18-49 in 13 weeks.

Six times, ESPN won the night as the most-watched network among households and viewers � cable or broadcast � in primetime on Monday.

For the past 11 consecutive weeks, ESPN has led all cable networks in delivery of adult men on a total-day basis, as well as men 18-54. ESPN has been #1 among M18+ and M18-54 for 14 of the past 15 weeks.

Monday Night Countdown, ESPN's 90-minute weekly MNF pre-game show, finished with an average 2.4 rating and 2,345,000 households (3,006,000 viewers), representing increases of 20% and 19%, respectively. This ranks as Countdown's highest-rated and most-viewed season ever.

ESPN Deportes' Spanish-language coverage of Monday Night Football also delivered its highest-rated and most-viewed NFL season ever with an average 0.9 Hispanic rating, 45,000 Hispanic households, and 62,000 Hispanic viewers, increases of 80%, 150% and 107%, respectively, from 2008.

ESPN.com

For the season, NFL content on ESPN.com, including "Monday Night HQ," accessed via computers and mobile devices sparked a 24% increase in traffic on Mondays (through Tuesdays at noon ET) with an average 84.6 million page views per week. Additionally, ESPN.com streamed an average 2.8 million NFL related videos per week � an increase of 7% over 2008.

ESPN Monday Night Football Season Averages (2006-09)
Year Rating HHs (000s) Viewers (000s)
2009 10.4 10.315 14.382
2008 8.9 8.679 11.962
2007 8.6 8.277 11.230
2006 9.9 9.109 12.325

Most-Viewed Monday Night Football Games on ESPN (2006 � Present)
Rank Date Teams Viewers (000s) HHs (000s)
1 10/05/2009 Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings 21,839 15,136
2 11/30/2009 New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints 21,402 14,872
3 09/15/2008 Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys 18,608 12,953
4 12/03/2007 New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens 17,522 12,529
5 12/28/2009 Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears 17,006 11,899
6 10/23/2006 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys 16,028 11,807
7 11/09/2009 Pittsburgh Steelers-Denver Broncos 16,002 11,358
8 09/28/2009 Carolina Panthers-Dallas Cowboys 15,705 11,354
9 09/25/2006 Atlanta Falcons-New Orleans Saints 14,999 10,850
10 09/21/2009 Indianapolis Colts-Miami Dolphins 14,710 10,849

Top 10 Most-Viewed Programs in Cable Television History (Households): Rank Date Teams Network HHs (000s)
1 10/05/2009 Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings ESPN 15,136
2 11/30/2009 New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints ESPN 14,872
3 09/15/2008 Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 12,953
4 12/03/2007 New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens ESPN 12,529
5 12/28/2009 Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears ESPN 11,899
6 10/23/2006 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 11,807
7 11/09/2009 Pittsburgh Steelers-Denver Broncos ESPN 11,358
8 09/28/2009 Carolina Panthers-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 11,354
9 11/09/1993 Larry King (NAFTA Debate) CNN 11,174
10 10/02/2008 Vice Presidential Debate � Palin vs. Biden FOX NEWS 11,098

Top 10 Most-Viewed Programs in Cable Television History (Viewers):
Rank Date Teams Network Viewers (000s)
1 10/05/2009 Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings ESPN 21.839
2 11/30/2009 New England Patriots-New Orleans Saints ESPN 21,402
3 09/15/2008 Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 18,608
4 12/03/2007 New England Patriots-Baltimore Ravens ESPN 17,522
5 08/17/2007 High School Musical 2 Disney Channel 17,241
6 12/28/2009 Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears ESPN 17,006
7 11/09/1993 Larry King � NAFTA Debate CNN 16,837
8 12/25/1994 Detroit Lions-Miami Dolphins ESPN 16,063
9 10/23/2006 New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys ESPN 16,028
10 11/09/2009 Pittsburgh Steelers-Denver Broncos ESPN 16,002

Note: excluding breaking news; live + same day

Bold indicates 2009 MNF games

MNF Team to Call 2010 NFL Pro Bowl

ESPN's Monday Night Football team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will return to the booth to call the 2010 NFL Pro Bowl at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida when the matchup of NFC vs. AFC stars kicks off Super Bowl week. The Pro Bowl will be televised Sunday, January 31, 2010 on ESPN and ESPN HD at 7:20 p.m. ET.





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