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Favre Scores Cable’s Biggest Audience Ever

Nearly 22 million tune into ESPN to watch QB clash with his old team.

Besides his pro football exploits, future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre has come to be widely known in recent off-seasons for vacillating on whether or not to retire from the NFL.

Message from ESPN: Please don’t.

The channel’s “Monday Night Football” coverage scored the biggest audience in cable TV history last night – the channel’s 30-year legacy included – with an average of 21.8 million people and 15.1 million homes tuning in to see Favre and the Minnesota Vikings beat the quarterback’s former team, the Green Bay Packers, 30-23. The game had a 15.3 rating.

The much-anticipated contest beat the previous ratings record holder, a “Monday Night Football” match-up from last season pitting the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys. That game garnered an audience of 18.6 million viewers and a 13.3 rating.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” pre-game show scored its best-ever numbers with a 3.5 rating and 4.5 million viewers.

ESPN has now set four new cable viewership records since acquiring “Monday Night Football” from sibling broadcast network ABC four years ago. In all, eight out of 10 of cable’s top household viewing marks were generated by “MNF” games.