Steelers-Redskins Game Tackles Cable’s Second-Highest 2008 Audience

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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 23-6 demolition of the Washington Redskins Monday night gave ESPN cable’s second most-watched telecast of the year.

The contest, which also featured Chris Berman’s taped interviews with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain at halftime, trailed only the Sept. 15 Monday Night Football game in which Dallas edged Philadelphia that garnered a 13.3 rating, 13 million homes and 18.6 million viewers, the second highest in cable history behind Disney Channel telefilm High School Musical 2.

The Nov. 3 MNF matchup from FedEx Field in the nation’s capital scored a 10.2 rating, over 10 million households and 14.2 million watchers. The game gave ESPN the night overall, making it the third time this season in nine weeks that the total sports network was the most-watched service in all of TV, broadcast and cable. During all nine weeks, ESPN has won the night among the Madison Avenue-coveted adults 18 to 49 and in the key male demos on all of television.

For the NFL season to date, MNF has averaged a 9.1 rating, 8.9 million households and 12.4 million viewers, numbers that represent gains of 6% (8.6 rating), 7% 8.33 million homes) and 11% (11.2 million watchers), respectively, from last season through 10 games. 

For 2008, MNF telecasts represent nine of cable’s 10 biggest household audiences of the year. 

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