Vikings’ Soap Opera Boosts ESPN’s MNF


Playing an outdoor home game for the first time in nearly three decades, the Vikings and their unpredictable QB Brett Favre attracted strong numbers on ESPN Monday night.

The Vikings’ loss to the Bears earned a 10.8 overnight rating on ESPN Monday night, up 28% from Week 15 last year (NYG/WSH: 8.4), and up 52% from Week 15 in 2008 (CLE/PHI: 7.1).

The 10.8 overnight is the fifth-highest of the season for Monday Night Football (sixteen telecasts).

Monday’s game was the Vikings’ first outdoor home game since 1981. The Vikings’ usual home, the Metrodome, was unavailable after the roof collapsed last week.

In addition to the unusual setting, the game featured now-typical drama over whether Vikings QB Brett Favre would play. Favre, who missed the Vikings’ previous game, did in fact start.

The ESPN telecast drew a 15.6 rating in Minneapolis-St. Paul and a 14.2 in Chicago. As usual, the game was simulcast on local broadcast affiliates in both markets, earning a 32.9 on Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP and a 26.5 on Chicago ABC affiliate WLS.

(Ratings from Sports Business Daily)