As Odell Beckham Jr. showed the Jets how it’s done with an 89-yard career-long touchdown and an eloquent one-handed grab earlier in the game, the Browns made it clear to everyone in FirstEnergy Stadium and watching at home that their season-opening loss to the Tennessee Titans might be a mere bump in what could be a glorious road this season.
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It was also a consistently bright night for the Disney-owned cabler’s NFL flagship show, with 11.8 million viewers tuning in for the blowout.
Not only did ESPN win the night in both cable and broadcast with that result, but the outlet actually saw a 1% uptick in audience over the comparable game last season.
Up against the Sean Spicer-hyped 28th season opener of Dancing With the Stars on ABC, MNF‘s 8.8 result in the metered markets also saw a small rise of 2.3% over the melded early metrics average of last week’s season-opening doubleheader.
More significant to ESPN, in a season that already has seen ratings fluctuations, last night’s Week 2 game was up more than 7% from the Chicago Bears’ 24-17 win over 2014 Super Bowl champs the Seattle Seahawks on September 17, 2018 – the same day of the record-low-rated 70th Primetime Emmys on NBC.
This year’s MNF doubleheader season opener averaged 12 million viewers, with the New Orleans Saints’ win over the Houston Texans snagging 13.08 million and the Oakland Raiders’ victory over the Denver Broncos pulling in around 10.61 million. Last year’s Bears-Seahawks game had a total of 11.7 million viewers for ESPN.
While the upticks look small game-to-game, across the season-to-season comparisons MNF is up 14% in viewers over the three games of the first two weeks of this season year over year: an audience of 12.2 million this year vs. 10.7 million last season.