With a pair of big-market contenders on the schedule, better numbers could have been expected for the latest edition of “Monday Night Football.”
The Week 11 Bears/49ers “Monday Night Football” game drew a 7.9 U.S. rating and 12.5 million viewers on ESPN, up 1% in ratings and viewership from Chiefs/Patriots last year (7.8, 12.3M), and up 10% and 7%, respectively, from Broncos/Chargers in 2010 (7.2, 11.7M).
The game earned the fifth-lowest numbers of the season for “MNF” (12 telecasts).
The low numbers are a surprise, considering that the teams’ led their divisions entering the game and represented the #3 (Chicago) and #6 (Bay Area) television markets.
The absence of both starting quarterbacks — the Bears’ Jay Cutler and the 49ers’ Alex Smith — was a likely contributing factor.
Among adults 18-49, the game drew a 4.8 rating — down a tick from last year (4.9).
Through Week 11, ESPN has averaged an 8.3 U.S. rating and 13.0 million viewers for NFL coverage, down a tick in ratings and 2% in viewership from last year (8.4, 13.2M), and down 8% and 10%, respectively, from 2010 (9.0, 14.5M).
(Monday’s numbers from ESPN, with additional information from The Futon Critic)