ESPN’s 2016 Monday Night Football regular season finale – a Dallas Cowboys 42-21 victory over the Detroit Lions – delivered a total live audience (TV + Streaming) of 18,964,000 average viewers and a 10.1 US household rating. This is ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed MNF telecast since the Washington Redskins-Dallas Cowboys MNF game on October 27, 2014, which delivered a total live audience of 19,083,000 average viewers and an 11.4 US household rating.
The total live audience for Lions-Cowboys is an 18 percent gain from last year’s MNF regular season finale (Cincinnati Bengals vs. Denver Broncos), which delivered a total live audience of 16,011,000 average viewers and a 9.4 US household rating. Lions-Cowboys also surpassed the former 2016 season high – the week 4 New York Giants-Minnesota Vikings game on October 3 (13,494,000 average viewers, 8.0 US household rating).
Lions-Cowboys ranks as the highest-rated and most-viewed sporting telecast on cable since the College Football Playoff National Championship sustaining telecast on ESPN in January (13.8 rating, 23,650,000 viewers).
This marks the sixth time in ESPN’s 11 seasons of televising MNF that a Cowboys game is ESPN’s highest-rated and most-viewed MNF game of the season.
Lions-Cowboys on MNF:
- On TV (ESPN and ESPN Deportes), the game delivered 18,705,000 average viewers.
- On ESPN, the game delivered 18,605,0000 average viewers and the rating peaked during the 9:45-10 p.m. quarter hour with an 11.9 US household rating and 21,939,000 viewers. Lions-Cowboys ranked as the No. 1 telecast on Monday and helped ESPN win the night among all networks (broadcast or cable) in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos (18-34, 18-49 and 25-54).
- ESPN’s streaming audience for Lions-Cowboys attracted an additional average minute audience of 260,000 viewers across the ESPN and ESPN Deportes streams, a 68 percent gain year-over-year. Between the two streams there were 600,000 viewers who watched 54 million live minutes – up 31 and 56 percent year-over-year, respectively.
- Monday Night Countdown also saw year-over-year gains, delivering 3,470,000 average viewers and a 2.0 US household rating – up 65 and 54 percent from last year’s week 16 show, respectively. This is the most-viewed regular season, Monday edition of the pregame show since December 19, 2011 (4,907,000 viewers).
- SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt followed the game and averaged 4,418,000 viewers – up three percent from the postgame SportsCenter one year ago.
In Detroit, the game delivered an 11.2 rating on ESPN and an 18.3 on WXYZ-ABC, for a combined 29.5 rating in the market. Detroit’s 11.2 rating on ESPN is the highest rating in that market for a regular season MNF game since Patriots-Saints delivered an 11.4 on November 30, 2009. In Dallas-Fort Worth, the game delivered an 8.9 rating on ESPN and a 26.0 on WFAA-ABC for a combined 34.9 rating in the market.
Top-10 metered markets (not including those of the competing teams): San Antonio (23.7), Austin (19.4), Norfolk (17.0), Memphis (16.5), Albuquerque-Santa Fe (16.3), Houston (15.6), Richmond-Petersburg (15.5), Las Vegas (14.4), Milwaukee (13.9) and Oklahoma City (13.7).
MNF in 2016 – Highlights:
- MNF helped ESPN win the night 15 times in 16 weeks among all key male and adult demos and 12 times among households and viewers.
- ESPN’s MNF was the No. 1 telecast of the night 15 weeks among all key male demos.
- MNF on ESPN Deportes averaged a 0.3 Hispanic Household rating this season. Texans-Raiders (November 21) was the third most-watched MNF game ever on ESPN Deportes (TV + Streaming) among viewers. Additionally, 14 percent of the Texans-Raiders audience was Hispanic – the highest ever for a MNF matchup.
- ESPN’s most-streamed MNF season on record. MNF attracted an average minute audience of 242,000 viewers across the ESPN and ESPN Deportes streams, a 35 percent increase compared to last season. Since Week 10 (post-election), streaming on WatchESPN increased 58 percent from 2015. The 10 most-streamed MNF games ever on ESPN occurred during the 2016 season, including a record 309,000 for Los Angeles Rams-San Francisco 49ers on September 12.
- Top-10 metered markets for MNF: Norfolk (12.0), New Orleans (11.6), Richmond-Petersburg (10.7), Denver (10.6), Las Vegas (10.4), Seattle (10.2), Philadelphia (9.8), West Palm Beach (9.7), San Diego (9.6) and Sacramento (9.4).