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Monday Football Scores Record Ratings for ESPN

Sep 12, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Capping the big opening weekend of the NFL season, ESPN claimed record ratings with its new “Monday Night Football.”

The first game of Monday night’s double-header, the Minnesota Vikings beating the Washington Redskins, drew a 9.9 Nielsen Media Research household rating, with 9.18 million households and 12.6 million viewers, the biggest numbers in ESPN history. The game was also the second-largest audience in cable TV history, behind CNN’s coverage of the North American Free Trade Agreement debate in November 1993.

The second game, in which the San Diego Chargers blew out the Oakland Raiders, drew an 8.5 rating, with 7.9 million households and 10.5 million viewers.

From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., ESPN averaged an 11.4 rating, the highest of any broadcast or cable network in prime time.

Last year, “Monday Night Football” on ABC averaged a 10.8 rating.

Fox’s national game on Sunday was the weekend’s highest-rated football broadcast. With most of the country watching the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Dallas Cowboys. Fox drew a 14.3 rating and 28 share, up 4 percent from a year ago. The game was the most-watched program on television since the finale of “American Idol.”