ESPN just got a late Christmas present in the form of its “Monday Night Football” ratings, with the NFL show scoring its most-watched season since 2015, the cable channel said Friday.
The network posted “MNF” gains for the second straight season with an overall 12.56 million viewers over 17 games, which was +8% from last year (11.65 million). For the third straight year, “Monday Night Football” was the most-watched series on cable in 2019, and made up 16 of the top 20 most-watched cable telecasts this year, according to Live + Same Day data from Nielsen.
The most-watched game of the season was the Seattle Seahawks vs. San Fransisco 49ers on Nov. 11, which posted 16.7 million viewers. That was the most-watched “MNF” game since the Detroit Lions played the Dallas Cowboys in December 2016.
Additionally, the Spanish-language presentation of “MNF” on ESPN Deportes recorded its most-watched season ever this year, averaging 102,000 viewers, a 21% increase over 2018 (84,000). ESPN Deportes’ Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants telecast on Nov. 4 averaged 165,000 viewers, the network’s second most-watched MNF game ever.
“MNF” ended its regular season with the Green Bay Packers’ 23-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 23, which put up 13.7 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to Nielsen. That’s up 55% over the viewership for the final game of “MNF’s” regular season in 2018, which saw 8,789,000 viewers tune in for a battle between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.
ESPN wasn’t the only network to have a strong NFL season.
The second season of the “Thursday Night Football” franchise under Fox averaged 14.9 million viewers, an increase of 4% from last year and the highest average viewership since 2016. It should be noted that the 14.9 million accounts for viewership on both Fox and NFL Network, which simulcasts those games.
ESPN will air one of the wildcard playoff games in early January. That game will be simulcast on ABC.