Sports Outside the Beltway

ESPN Scores Highest Rating Ever with Monday Night Football

So far, so good for “Monday Night Football” on ESPN, the debut of which produced the highest ratings in the twenty-six year history of the network.

ESPN’s first regular-season Monday night NFL game under the new contract drew the cable network’s biggest audience ever and delivered a major boost to and its new “Monday Night Surround” content.

The game between the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins, won 19-16 by Minnesota, drew a 9.9 rating, representing an average of between nearly 9.2 million and 12.57 million households, the network said. The previous record was 8.9 million households on Christmas Day 1994 for a game between Detroit and Miami.

ESPN’s second Monday night game, San Diego’s 27-0 win over Oakland, received a rating of 8.5 and was seen in an average of 7.87 million households.

The ratings are low by prime time football and MNF standards, though. Putting games on a network that not everyone has access to guarantees that.

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