[01/09/24 - 09:05 AM]
Rewrite the Record Books: ESPN's "Monday Night Football" Achieves Its Best Viewership Since the 2000 Season, Surpassing Five Years on Broadcast Television and All Previous Years on ESPN En Route to Reaching More than 124 Million Fans
ESPN averaged 17,363,000 viewers a game (22 games including Doubleheader Saturday in Week 18), up 29% from the 2022 "MNF" season.

[via press release from ESPN]

Rewrite the Record Books: ESPN's "Monday Night Football" Achieves its Best Viewership Since the 2000 Season, Surpassing Five Years on Broadcast Television and All Previous Years on ESPN En Route to Reaching More than 124 Million Fans

· Averaged 17.4 Million Viewers a Game, Up 29% Year-Over-Year

· Increased in Every Demo, Including Nearly 40% in Teens and Females

· Aired Four Most-Watched Games Since 2000

· Peyton and Eli Averaged 1.24 Million Viewers a Game

ESPN's Monday Night Football delivered its most-watched season in 23 years, punctuating a season of superlatives for the iconic television franchise. Along the way, MNF reached 124 million fans, lifted its audience in every key demo by double-digits, and aired four games whose viewership surpassed all previous MNF games dating back to the 2000 NFL season (395+ games).

Highest Viewership in Decades

The 2023 Monday Night Football season is the show's most watched since the 2000 NFL season, with viewership surpassing each of the previous 18 seasons in the ESPN era (2006 - present) and the five seasons leading into that era when MNF aired singularly on ABC.

ESPN averaged 17,363,000 viewers a game (22 games including Doubleheader Saturday in Week 18), up 29% from the 2022 MNF season. The 17.4 million viewers a game was also up 18% from the 2010 MNF season, ESPN's previous most-watched season in the Monday Night Football era.

The 124 million fans that watched Monday Night Football throughout the season represents growth of 17% from the 2022 season.

Doubleheader Saturday Provides Strong Conclusion to the Regular Season

ESPN punctuated its regular season with Doubleheader Saturday (January 6) with the Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (8:15 p.m.) averaging 19.7 million viewers and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (4:30 p.m.) with 19.8 million viewers. This year's games rank as the second and third most-watched Doubleheader Saturday games of the six ESPN has aired (2021-23 seasons), with the AFC North game was up 11% year-over-year and the AFC South up 3%.

The re-writing of the record books comes during a season in which ESPN increased its NFL game inventory for the third consecutive season, now airing 23 regular season games and with the Super Wild Card finale and ESPN's first Divisional game on the horizon. Legendary broadcast duo Joe Buck and Troy Aikman concluded their second season as faces of the franchise and their 22nd season as partners, an NFL record. Lisa Salters added to her reign as the longest-tenured sideline reporter in MNF history, concluding her 12th season.

Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli

Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli averaged 1.24 million viewers this season (nine games), as the show continues to re-write the record books for ESPN's alternate telecasts. The series aired its second most-watched show ever in Week 11, garnering 1.9 million viewers for Eagles-Chiefs.

Massive Demo Increases for ESPN's Monday Night Football

ESPN's collective audience success was the result of individual increases in every key demo. Among the many highlights:

Demo Percentage Increase
Persons 12-17 38%
Persons 18-24 27%
Persons 18-49 20%
Persons 25-54 20%
Females 39%
Inclusive of All 22 Linear Games

Individual Game Successes Helped Deliver Season-Long Success

Monday Night Football's 20-year high viewership was buoyed by individual game viewership successes, including airing the four most-watched games since the 2000 season.

Monday Night Football Most-Watched Games Since 2000

Rank NFL Season Date Game Viewership
1 2023 Nov. 22, 2023 Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs 29,026,000
2 2023 Dec. 25, 2023 Baltimore Ravens at San Francisco 49ers 27,651,000
3 2023 Dec. 30, 2023 Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys 26,107,000
4 2023 Sept. 11, 2023 Buffalo Bills at New York Jets 22,670,000

Majority of Monday Night Football's Most-Watched Games Aired in Previous Two Years

In the two most recent seasons, ESPN has aired 8 of the 10 most-watched Monday Night Football games in the ESPN era (305+ games). The games include the four mentioned above plus the Broncos at Seahawks (Week 1, 2022) with 19.9 million viewers, Cowboys at Chargers (Week 6, 2023) with 19.7 million viewers, Eagles at Seahawks (Week 15, 2023) with 19.4 million viewers and Cowboys at Giants (Week 3, 2022) also with 19.4 million viewers.

Please note: Doesn't include any games from Doubleheader Saturday (Week 18), which has aired in 2021, 2022, and 2023 seasons.

Additional highlights:

· ESPN's NFL Week 4 was highlighted by the debut of Toy Story Funday Football - a first-of-its-kind NFL alternate presentation. The animated, real-time viewing option within Pixar's iconic "Toy Story" world and the separate traditional telecast launched the NFL's 2023 International Series featuring the Falcons vs. Jaguars from Wembley Stadium in London.

o The Falcons-Jaguars traditional game presentation was the most-viewed event ever on ESPN+, and the Toy Story Funday Football alternate presentation delivered the biggest live event to date on Disney+ (based on peak concurrency).

· In adding to a new initiative, ESPN aired two games on three different Monday nights this season (Weeks 2,3 and 14), with one game airing on ESPN and another on ABC. During the overlapping game action, ESPN platforms saw audiences of 21.8 million, 21.9 million, 19.8 million, respectively.

Please note: Monday Night Football aired on ESPN and ABC most weeks and also ESPN2 and ESPN+ several weeks; Peyton and Eli viewership does not include Week 14 edition, which was an added, special edition. Reach number is through Week 17


  [january 2024]  


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