While Major League Baseball is largely taking a PR hit for losing to the NFL on Monday night, the NFL arguably fared worse in the head-to-head battle.
Monday’s Titans/Jaguars game drew a 6.2 U.S. rating and 9.666 million viewers on ESPN, down 25% in ratings and 28% in viewership from Week 6 last year (SD/DEN: 8.3, 13.471 mil), and down 14% and 15%, respectively, from Week 6 in 2008 (NYG/CLE: 7.2, 11.422 mil).
The Titans’ blowout win ranks as the lowest rated, least-viewed NFL telecast of the 2010 season (does not include Sunday’s early games on FOX and CBS).
Additionally, this marks the least-viewed Monday Night Football telecast on ESPN since the Jaguars’ last Monday night appearance — a road game against the Texans in December ’08 (8.897 mil).
Despite the low numbers, Monday’s game topped Game 3 of the Rangers/Yankees ALCS on TBS head-to-head (5.2, 8.214 mil). The gap between the events was even larger among adults 18-49, as MNF (4.2) topped the older-skewing baseball game (2.7).
There are multiple ways to look at Monday’s results. On one hand, a regular season NFL blowout involving low-profile teams outdrew an MLB playoff game involving one of the most famous teams in sports.
On the other hand, Monday Night Football drew its smallest audience in over a year, while the baseball game attracted one of the top postseason audiences in cable television history. If anything, baseball came away with the better results Monday, at least relative to what it usually draws.
Of course, that opens up another way of looking at Monday’s results — even an NFL ratings dud can top an MLB ratings bonanza.