ESPN Was Ready for Some Football

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ESPN said its inaugural season of Monday Night Football was the most-watched series in cable-television history.

The network added that its 17 games averaged 9.109 million homes and 12.325 million viewers two-plus, based on a 9.9 Nielsen Media Research rating, and represented the 17 largest household audiences for cable in 2006.

According to ESPN,more than 109 million people tuned into MNF at some point during the season.

The network’s studio shows also benefited, as ESPN reported that Monday Night Countdownwas up 23% from 1.749 million homes to 2.155 million; Sunday NFL Countdown was up 5% from 1.945 million to 2.042 million; and the weekday NFL Live show saw a 22% rise in viewership from 443,000 to 542,000.

As far as online,’s National Football League and Monday Night Surround content for PCs and wireless devices generated an average of 24 million page views on Mondays, up 52% compared with 2005, according to Web-measurement tool HitBox.

“ESPN’s Monday Night Football greatly exceeded all expectations,” ESPN and ABC Sports president George Bodenheimer said in a prepared statement. “Our commitment to present MNF as never before served our fans and lifted every aspect of ESPN’s business. Credit goes to the hundreds of employees who made it work week after week.”