Nielsen Knocks: ESPN Nets Best 'MNF' Opening Doubleheader

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Continuing the success enjoyed by the league's other programmers, ESPN scored its highest-rated and most-viewed opening night with its doubleheader presentation of Monday Night Football.
The Baltimore Ravens' 10-9 road victory of the New York Jets at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Sept. 13 tackled a 10.9 cable rating, 10.85 million households and 14.97 million viewers on average, according to Nielsen data, the best of ESPN's 10 MNF opening night games in the network's fifth year with the franchise.
Moreover, Ravens-Jets marked the second largest audience on cable in 2010, trailing only the 2009 MNF season finale, Chicago's overtime upset over Minnesta on Dec. 28, 2009 (part of Nielsen's 2010), which drew a 12.0 cable rating, 11.9 million homes and just over 17 million watchers.
The sept. 13 nightcap, the Kansas City Chiefs' 21-14 win over the San Diego Chargers, garnered an 8.8 rating with an average of 8.8 million households watching and 11.9 million viewers, the third-largest household audience for any show on cable this year.
The two MNF games -- the two highest-rated programs of the night on any network -- combined for ESPN's highest-rated and most-viewed season-opening doubleheader since the format started in 2006. The games averaged a 9.9 household rating, 9.9 million households and 13.6 million viewers, a 3% increase from last year's combined 9.6. The Buffalo-New England game registered a 10.3 rating, 10.2 million households and 14 million viewers, while San Diego-Oakland recorded an 8.9 rating, 8.8 million homes and 11.9 million watchers.

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