Peyton Manning’s second game of his comeback was memorable for his three first-quarter interceptions, as ESPN’s coverage scored the fourth-largest audience on cable this year.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football Sept. 17 telecast of the Atlanta Falcons’ 27-21 victory over Manning’s Denver Broncos averaged a 10.0 national rating, 11.6 coverage rating 11.4 million households and 15.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.
The Falcons-Broncos telecast ranks as the third biggest household audience in cable during Nielsen’s 2012 and fourth among viewers behind the worldwide leader’s presentation of the 24.2 million for Alabama’s rout of LSU in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9, 17.6 million for Wisconsin-Oregon in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2, and 15.6 million for Atlanta-New Orleans in the 2011 MNF finale on Dec. 26, 2011.
MNF helped ESPN win the night among all networks – broadcast or cable – in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. Similarly, Falcons-Broncos led all television programs.
In Denver, the game delivered a 18.9 rating on ESPN and a 21.4 rating on KTVD-IND, for a combined 40.3 in the market. In Atlanta, the game delivered a 12.5 rating on ESPN and a 16.3 rating on WSB-ABC, for a collective 28.8 in that DMA.
Through the first two weeks of the NFL season. ESPN’s three-game MNF average stands at a 9.3 cable rating, 8.1 U.S. rating, 9.14 million households and 12.4 million viewers, virtually even with last season, according to network officials.