ESPN is crowing about the ratings and viewership for Monday night’s Chicago Bears-Dallas Cowboys game. With two of the most popular franchises on Monday Night Football and the Cowboys laying an egg thanks to Tony Romo’s five interceptions, the ratings for the game reached a season-high 12.3 household rating with 16.6 million viewers, easily beating the numbers on cable and on broadcast.
The average audience is the third highest for a program on cable this year after the BCS National Championship Game and the Rose Bowl, both on ESPN as well.
Let’s take a look at what ESPN is saying about the numbers on Monday night.
Bears-Cowboys Delivers Season-Best 12.3 Rating and 16.6 Million Viewers
This week’s ESPN Monday Night Football game – the Chicago Bears’ 34-18 road victory over the Dallas Cowboys – helped ESPN win the night among all networks – broadcast or cable – for the fourth consecutive Monday night in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. Similarly, MNF led all television programs.
The game earned a MNF season-high 12.3 household coverage rating (10.5 US), representing an average of 12,035,000 households (16,616,000 viewers – P2+), the third largest audience among viewers (second among households) for any program on cable television in 2012, according to Nielsen. The game peaked between 10:30-11 p.m. ET at a 12.8 household coverage rating.
ESPN’s BCS National Championship Game (Alabama-LSU, 1/9/12) ranks as the most-viewed program of Nielsen’s year (24,214,000 viewers), followed by the network’s 2012 Rose Bowl (17,558,000 – Wisconsin-Oregon, 1/2/12).
In Chicago, the game delivered a 17.3 rating on ESPN and a 15.2 rating on WGN-CW, for a combined 32.5 rating in the market. In Dallas, the game delivered a 13.8 rating on ESPN and a 12.3 rating on KTXA-IND, for a combined 26.1 rating in the market. The top-10 rated metered markets (not including primary home team markets): San Antonio (20.0), Las Vegas (19.6), Austin (19.4), New Orleans (17.5) and Norfolk/Portsmouth, Va. (16.3), Albuquerque, N.M. (16.3), Richmond, Va. (16.2), Denver (15.0), Memphis (14.8) and Indianapolis (14.2).
Through the first four weeks of the NFL season (five games), ESPN’s MNF is averaging a 10.4 household coverage rating (8.9 US), 10,217,000 households and 13,969,000 viewers, increases of eight percent, seven percent and seven percent, respectively, from the same point last season.
ESPN Digital Platforms
ESPN also saw significant traffic across its digital platforms on Sunday and Monday:
- ESPN.com NFL section – An average minute audience of 33,000 was up 24 percent from last year with an average 3.8 million unique visitors, down three percent compared to the same two days last season.
- ESPN.com Fantasy Football section – An average minute audience of 76,000 — up 51 percent, averaging 3.4 million unique visitors, a two percent increase from last year.
- ESPN mobile Web NFL section – An average minute audience of 47,000, up 69 percent, reaching 3.4 million unique visitors, up six percent.
Next Week on MNF
Next week, ESPN’s MNF returns with an AFC matchup as Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans (4-0) – one the NFL’s three remaining undefeated teams – travel to MetLife Stadium on October 8 to face Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets (2-2) at 8:30 p.m.