NFL Week 1: ESPN Has Worst “MNF” Season Debut Since Acquiring Rights

Posted by | September 11, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Though not surprising given the lopsided final score, the first “Monday Night Football” game of the season was a major league dud.

The season opening edition of “Monday Night Football,” in which the Ravens blew out the Bengals by 31 points, drew an 8.1 overnight rating on ESPN — down 21% from Patriots/Dolphins last year (10.3), and down 23% from Ravens/Jets in 2010 (10.5).

The 8.1 ranks as the lowest overnight for the first “Monday Night Football” game of the season since ESPN began airing the games in the 2006-07 season. The previous low was an 8.4 for Ravens/Bengals in 2007.

Later in the night, the second half of the doubleheader — pitting the Chargers against the Raiders — drew an even lower 7.9 overnight, actually up 3% from Raiders/Broncos last year (7.7), but down 13% from Chargers/Chiefs in 2010 (9.1).

By a decent margin, Monday’s two games were the lowest rated of Week 1 in the metered markets. The five telecast windows on broadcast (two on NBC, two on FOX and one on CBS) each drew at least 10% of metered market homes.

(Monday’s overnights from Sports Business Daily)