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'MNF': Bears-Cowboys Delivers Cable's Third-Largest 2012 Audience

10/02/2012 6:48 PM Eastern

ESPN scored the biggest Monday Night Football audience of the 2012 NFL season with its coverage of the Chicago Bears’ mauling of the Dallas Cowboys.

The Oct. 1 telecast averaged a 10.5 U.S. rating, 12.3 cable mark, over 12 million households and 16.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.

The Bears’ 34-18 road victory over America’s Team gave ESPN the night among all networks – broadcast or cable – for the fourth consecutive Monday relative to households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. Similarly, MNF led all television programs.

Bears-‘Boys ranks as the third-most-viewed program in cable during 2012 behind the 24.2 million for ESPN’s coverage of Alabama-LSU in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9  and the worldwide leader's 17.6 million for Wisconsin-Oregon in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2

Through its first four weeks of the NFL season covering five games, ESPN’s MNF has averaged a 10.4 household coverage rating (8.9 U.S.), 10.2 million households and 13,97 million watchers, gains of 8%, 7% and 7%, respectively, from the same point last season.

September