via press release:
Monday Night Football Opener Wins the Night among All Networks
Patriots-Dolphins Ranks as Fourth Most-Watched Show on Cable in 2011
ESPN.com NFL Content Averages More Than 4.5 Million Unique Visitors on Sunday and Monday
Last night’s special 2011 season-opening ESPN Monday Night Football doubleheader helped ESPN win the night among all networks – broadcast or cable – in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. In addition, the games drove significant traffic to ESPN.com’s NFL content. This is the start of the sixth year of MNF on ESPN.
The New England Patriots’ 38-24 road victory over the Miami Dolphins (7 p.m. ET) earned a 10.6 rating, representing an average of 10,493,000 households (14,568,000 viewers – P2+), the fourth largest audience for any program on cable television in calendar year 2011, according to Nielsen. It is the second-highest rating of ESPN’s 12 MNF opening night games, trailing only last year’s Baltimore Ravens-New York Jets opener (10.9 rating, 10,850,000 households and 14,973,000 viewers).
At 10:15 p.m., the Oakland Raiders 23-20 win in Denver over the Broncos earned an 8.2 rating with an average of 8,113,000 households watching (11,109,000 viewers), the eighth-largest household audience for any program on cable television in 2011.
The two ESPN MNF games finished as the two highest-rated programs of the night on any network, averaging a 9.5 household rating, 9,391,000 households (12,965,000 viewers). During the traditional MNF timeslot (8:30-11:45 p.m.), ESPN averaged an 11.6 household rating.
In Boston, the opening game delivered a 10.0 rating on ESPN and a 24.0 on WCVB/WMUR-ABC, for a combined 34.0 rating in the market. In Miami, it earned a 14.8 rating on ESPN and a 7.0 on WSFL-CW, for a combined 21.8 rating.
In San Francisco/Oakland, the nightcap delivered an 8.7 rating on ESPN and a 9.3 on KPIX-CBS, for a combined 18.0 rating in the market. In Denver, the game delivered a 15.8 rating on ESPN and a 21.1 on KTVD-MY, for a combined 36.9 rating in the market.
ESPN’s BCS National Championship Game (Auburn-Oregon, 1/10/11) -- the most-viewed program in cable television history with an average of 17.7 million homes (27.3 million viewers) – ranks as the most-viewed program of the calendar year, followed by the 2011 Rose Bowl (20.6 million viewers -- TCU-Wisconsin, 1/1/11) and the 2010 MNF Saints-Falcons season finale (19.1 million viewers -- 12/27/10).
ESPN Digital Platforms
On Sunday and Monday, NFL content across ESPN digital platforms – including ESPN.com, ESPN Fantasy, the ESPN mobile Web, ScoreCenter and WatchESPN – logged an average minute audience of nearly 200,000 users, a 32 percent increase compared to the same two days last season (source: Adobe/Omniture). Fans stayed especially close to Fantasy Football news and updates. The Fantasy Football section on ESPN.com logged the highest average minute audience of any ESPN digital platform with over 58,000 users (up 32 percent), while the mobile Web’s Fantasy Football section saw the largest average minute audience increase of 274 percent. Other highlights:
- ESPN.com averaged more than 4.5 million unique visitors and logged an average minute audience of 32,000 users to the NFL section alone, up 16 percent and 25 percent, respectively;
- NFL content on the ESPN mobile Web generated an average minute audience of nearly 25,000 users (a 12 percent gain) and reached 2.9 million unique visitors (up 7 percent).