MNF: New England-Carolina Flags 15.8M Viewers

Controversial Conclusion Helps ESPN Record Third-Biggest Audience of Season

ESPN’s presentation of the Carolina Panthers’ 24-20 triumph over the New England Patriots won the TV night for the worldwide leader among viewers, households and key male and adult demos.

With the game decided in the last minute and ending on a controversial non-call that went against New England's Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Nov. 18 Monday Night Football telecast averaged a 9.9 U.S. rating, nearly 11.5 million households and just under 15.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen data.

Coverage peaked from 11:15-11:30 p.m. – when the referees picked up a flag in the end zone for a presumed pass interference call against the Panthers on the game’s final play -- with an 11.6 rating.

The deliveries were the tops in TV – broadcast and cable – on the night, and ranked as the third-most-watched MNF contest this season behind the 16.5 million viewers for the franchise opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins and the Nov. 4 contest matching Green Bay and Chicago, which garnered 16.1 million.

Through 11 weeks and 12 games, ESPN’s MNF is averaging an 8.5 rating, 9.8 million households and 13.4 million, up 2% in ratings and audience versus the same period in the 2012 season.

Last night’s Patriots-Panthers game was the second-best game ever on WatchESPN logging 15.7 million live minutes, 230,000 unique viewers, and an average minute audience of 82,000, up 222%, 183% and 208%, respectively, compared to a year ago.

Season to date, Monday Night Football on WatchESPN has averaged 181,000 unique viewers (up 105%), 12.7 million live minutes (143%) and an average minute audience of 64,000 (141%) per game.