ESPN’s Week 1 Monday Night Football ratings fell nearly 11%

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) caught a pass in front of 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 made its first outing of the 2020 National Football League, with the New York Giants hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers attracting 10.7 million viewers on Monday night, down 10.8% from last year’s first Monday night game.

Despite hosting the Steelers at a fan-less MetLife Stadium, the Giants lost their opener 26-16 in the debut of new head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. The game peaked at 13.1 million viewers from approximately 9:00 pm to 9:15 pm including the top markets in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York Baltimore and Washington DC.

The second game between the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos registered 7.6 million viewers, as the Titans won, 16-14.

The Monday Night Football doubleheaders are down from last year’s average of 12 million viewers, a drop from 13 million viewers in 2018, for the 2019 opener that was the Houston Texans and 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 Grethen | Getty Images

But despite a 12% drop in viewership for the NFL’s kickoff opener on Thursday night and a fall for NBC’s Sunday Night Football and CBS’s 12% drop for regional games, Fox reported an increase in its national game.

Fox said the bout between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Breeze, averaged 25.8 million viewers, an increase of 7% over last year’s Week 1 national game, averaging 24.2 million.

“Fox crushed it on a game that, yes it is [Drew Brees] And [Tom Brady] But it wasn’t so close, “said Dan Cohen, senior vice president of the Octagon’s global media rights consulting division,” It speaks for matchups and big names. ”

On the regional front, NFL games averaged 13.5 million viewers in Week 1, up 6% from the previous year (12.7 million) and the most watched since 2016. Cohen said viewership proves “[NFL] Despite the League’s support on issues of social injustice, it is still the lion of the jungle.

With changes in consumption habits and an overload in sports content, Cohen said competition for the eyeball has been a factor since all four major American sports leagues are at the same time.

“I don’t think social injustice issues are one, two, three or four of the top factors in any rating decline,” Cohen said. He said major sports leagues are set to overlap at least 10 times this month, which can present as “a programming challenge”.