ESPN Monday Night Week 1 Football Ratings Drop Almost 11%

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New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) catches a pass past Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds (34) and linebacker Devin Bush (55) during the first half at MetLife Stadium.Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s first 2020 National Football League outing with the New York Giants hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers averaged 10.7 million viewers Monday night, the channel said, down 10.8% from compared to the first Monday night game of last year.Despite welcoming the Steelers to a fanless MetLife stadium, the Giants lost their opener, 26-16, on the debut of new head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The game peaked at 13.1 million viewers between 9:00 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Major markets in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Washington DC

Game 2 between the Tennessee Titans and the Denver Broncos drew 7.6 million viewers as the Titans won, 16-14.

The numbers are down from last year’s average of 12 million viewers for Monday Night Football’s double-title, which was also down from 13 million viewers in 2018, for the 2019 opening. which featured the Houston Texans and the New Orleans Saints.

Tom Brady # 12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is sacked by Trey Hendrickson # 91 of the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Chris Graythen | Getty Images

But despite a 12% drop in viewership for the NFL Kickoff opening Thursday night and a drop for NBC Sunday Night Football and CBS’s 12% drop for regional games, Fox has reported an increase in their domestic game.

Fox said the contest between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with quarterback Tom Brady, and the Saints led by Dew Brees, averaged 25.8 million viewers, a 7% increase from the game. national week 1 of last year, which averaged 24.2 million.

“Fox crushed him on a game that, yes it is [Drew Brees] and [Tom Brady] but it wasn’t that close, ”said Dan Cohen, senior vice president of Octagon’s global media rights advisory division. That says a lot about the games and the big names. ”

On the regional front, NFL games averaged 13.5 million viewers in Week 1, up 6% from last year (12.7 million) and the opening la most watched since 2016. Cohen said audience numbers prove the ” [NFL] is still the lion of the jungle “despite the league’s now favorable stance on issues of social injustice.”

With changing consumer habits and an overload of sports content, Cohen said competition for eyeballs has been a factor as all four of the major U.S. sports leagues are active at the same time.

“I don’t think social injustice issues are even one, two, three or four of the main factors in any drop in ratings,” Cohen said. He added that the big sports leagues are expected to overlap at least 10 times this month, which could present more of a “programming challenge.”

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