NFL Week 7 Overnights: Vikings/Giants Up 30%; Manning’s Return Tops Week

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The biggest “Monday Night Football” dud in some time put up solid numbers on ESPN.

The Week 7 Vikings/Giants “Monday Night Football” game had a 9.5 overnight on ESPN, up 30% from Lions/Bears last year (7.3), and up 36% from Ravens/Jaguars in 2011 (7.0). Keep in mind last year’s game aired opposite Game 7 of the NLCS and a presidential debate, while the 2011 game aired opposite the World Series.

Monday’s 9.5 overnight is the highest for an NFL game on ESPN in three weeks. Keep in mind the Giants and Vikings had combined for a grand total of one victory entering the game.

In other primetime action, the much-hyped return of Peyton Manning to Indianapolis was a big draw on NBC. The Broncos/Colts “Sunday Night Football” game drew a 17.3 overnight rating, up 48% from Steelers/Bengals opposite the NLCS last year (11.7), and up 111% from Colts/Saints opposite the World Series in 2011 (8.2).

The 17.3 is the fourth-highest for an NFL telecast on NBC since the network reacquired rights, trailing only the Vikings/Saints Kickoff Game in 2010 (17.7), Steelers/Broncos in Week 1 last year (18.0), and Cowboys/Washington in Week 17 last year (18.3). With that said, the 17.3 is only the sixth-highest of the season, trailing five NFL national windows on FOX and CBS.

Speaking of the NFL national window, the Week 7 edition — featuring Ravens/Steelers in 43% of markets — earned a 15.2 overnight on CBS, down 6% from coverage featuring Jets/Patriots last year (16.2), and down 7% from coverage featuring Packers/Vikings on FOX in 2011 (16.3). The 15.2 is the second-lowest of the season for the NFL national window, ahead of only Week 3 coverage on CBS (14.6).

The CBS early window drew a 10.7 overnight, up 49% from last year (7.2), but up 6% from coverage featuring Falcons/Lions on FOX in 2011 (10.2).

Over on FOX, the NFL singleheader window — featuring Cowboys/Eagles in 37% of markets — drew an 11.8 overnight, down 8% from coverage featuring Washington/Giants last year (12.8), but up 11% from coverage on CBS in 2011 (10.6).

As usual, overnights for the Thursday night game were not available.

(Week 7 overnights from ESPN, Sports Business Daily)

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