With a thriller on its hands and the World Series ending the night before, ESPN scored its best Monday Night Football ratings of the season and cable’s second best performance in 2007 overall behind coverage of the Green Bay Packers-Denver Broncos game.
The Oct. 29 contest – in which Brett Favre, the NFL’s all-time TD passer connected with Greg Jennings via an 82-yard bomb on the first play from scrimmage in OT to give the Pack a 19-13 win over the hometown Broncos – delivered a 10.5 rating, translating into nearly 10.2 million homes and some 14.02 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data. The latter trailed only the 17.2 million Disney Channel’s High School Musical 2 drew in its live window premiere on Aug. 17.
All of the aforementioned MNF measures marked ESPN’s best performances during its second season with the pro football package. Previously, the most-watched MNF contest this year was the Dallas Cowboys’ 25-24 win over the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 8. That tilt, decided on the last play of the game, attracted some 9.64 million households and 13 million viewers on average.
ESPN’s Oct. 29 numbers benefited from the World Series sweep by the Boston Red Sox over the Colorado Rockies. The first pitch of what would have been the fifth game of Major League Baseball’s championship had been slated for Coors Field in Denver at 8:30 p.m. (ET) on Monday.
Green Bay-Denver and Dallas-Buffalo are the only two MNF games this season in which ESPN has surpassed the audience for the corresponding contests during its rookie season with the venerable primetime franchise.
Per usual, the game pushed ESPN to the lead in all of television, both primetime and broadcast, with the delivery of men 18 to 34, 18 to 49 and 25 to 54, as well as with viewers 18 to 34 and 18 to 49. MNF has won the night with each of those demos throughout its 2007 airings.
ESPN’s nine NFL games this season rank as the first-, second-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh-, eighth-, 11th- and 12th- most-watched shows on basic cable in 2007 among households, according to network officials.
ESPN said its NFL programming from 4 p.m. through the conclusion of the game delivered 21.7 gross household coverage ratings.
On ESPN.com, the total sports network’s “Monday Night Surround” fare, accessed via computers and mobile devices, generated more than 44 million page views from Monday through Tuesday at noon, a 36% increase over the same period last year, according to HitBox.