MNF: Despite Seahawks' Desecration of Saints, ESPN Draws 15.5M Viewers

WatchESPN Scores Second Most Live Minutes with Dec. 2 Contest between Seattle-New Orleans

Billed as the highest-ranked Monday Night Football late-season matchup since 1990, ESPN’s Dec. 2 telecast of Seattle-New Orleans drew more than 15 million.

The game – a 34-7 Seahawks’ demolition of the Saints in the cacophony of CenturyLink Field – pitted the 10-1 home team versus the 9-2 visitors, and tackled a 9.7 household rating, 11.3 million households and 15.5 million, performances that easily exceeded ESPN’s 2013 season average with the franchise.

Coverage peaked in the 9:45 quarter hour (ET) at an 11.9, perhaps reflective of Seattle’s 27-7 halftime edge.

Although a tighter contest would have likely lifted ratings, Seattle-New Orleans ranked as the No. 1 show on Monday night across cable and broadcast in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos. The telecast also helped ESPN win the night on Monday among all networks --broadcast or cable -- in those same categories.

Through 13 weeks and 14 games in the 2013 NFL season, ESPN’s MNF has averaged an 8.5 rating, 9.89 million households and 13.5 million viewers, respective gains of 1%, 3% and 3% , from the same period in 2012.

ABC’s MNF coverage on Dec. 3, 1990 matched a pair of 10-1 squads: the San Francisco 49ers topped the New York Giants 7-3.

Monday’s Saints-Seahawks game on WatchESPN logged 16.5 million live minutes – the second most ever for a MNF game behind the Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins meeting on Sept. 9, 225,000 unique viewers, and an average minute audience of 81,000, up 145%, 115% and 134%, respectively, compared to a year ago. 

Season to date, MNF on WatchESPN has averaged 185,000 unique viewers (ahead 110%), 12.9 million live minutes (up 146%) and an average minute audience of 65,000 (a 144% increase) per game.