SBD/Throwing A Changeup/Sports Media

Ravens-Jets Helps ESPN Earn Its Best "MNF" Opening Doubleheader

ESPN Sees Ratings Gains For Ravens-Jets "MNF" Opener

ESPN averaged a 8.6 U.S. rating and 13.574 million viewers for its two "MNF" football games featuring Ravens-Jets and Chargers-Chiefs, the highest-rated and most-viewed season-opening doubleheader since the format started in '06. Those figures are also up 4.9% and 4.8%, respectively, from an 8.2 average rating and 12.958 million viewers for last year's opening doubleheader. The early Ravens-Jets game earned a 9.4 U.S. rating and 14.973 million viewers, the net's best figures for a opening "MNF" telecast. The game also marks the second-best audience for any program on cable during the current Nielsen calendar year, trailing only the Dec. 28 Vikings-Bears "MNF" finale from last season that earned an 10.4 U.S. rating and 17.006 million viewers. Ravens-Jets is also up 5.6% and 6.9%, respectively, from last year's comparative Bills-Patriots game. The late "MNF" window saw Chargers-Chiefs earn a 7.6 U.S. rating and 11.889 million viewers, which is even with figures from the Chargers-Raiders telecast in '09. The doubleheader helped ESPN win the night among all nets in audience, as well as in all key male and adult demos (THE DAILY).

PROOF IN THE PUDDING: Fox earned a 16.5 final Nielsen rating and 28.0 million viewers for its NFL national window on Sunday featuring Packers-Eagles, which marks the net’s best-ever Week One national window. Both figures for the telecast are up 11% from last year’s Week One national window, which earned a 14.8 rating and 25.1 million viewers featuring Redskins-Giants. Fox’ national window is also tied with NBC’s Vikings-Saints NFL Kickoff last Thursday for the highest-rated broadcast on any network since the Academy Awards on ABC last March (Fox). YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell noted both Fox and NBC are "bragging about huge ratings for their NFL broadcasts over the weekend," and the ratings mean that the NFL's audience, "which is already mind-blowingly huge, is still growing." Darnell: "Even in today's fragmented pop culture atmosphere, with the number of entertainment options growing exponentially, the NFL manages to consume more and more of us" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/14).

LOCAL MARKET SUCCESS: In Baltimore, David Zurawik noted Ravens-Jets earned a combined 41.1 rating in the Baltimore market on ESPN and WJZ-CBS. Zurawik: "That's not two out of every five sets in use. That's two out of every five homes. That's huge" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 9/14)....The combined 37.3 local rating Chargers-Chiefs earned on ESPN and KFMB-CBS in the San Diego market means the game "was seen in more than" 406,000 HHs locally. The rating also marks the "highest local rating for a Chargers regular-season telecast since the 2008 season finale against Denver earned a 37.4 rating" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/15)....Philadelphia's WTXF-Fox earned a 32.7 local rating for Sunday's Packers-Eagles game, the "highest-rated Eagles season opener" since Eagles-Falcons earned a 33.2 local rating in primetime in '05. The rating "bested nine out of 10 season openers this past decade" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/15)....St. Louis' KTVI-Fox earned a 26.0 local rating and 328,000 HHs for Sunday's Cardinals-Rams game, up 37.5% from the net's highest-rated Rams game last season. The 26.0 rating marked the "highest rating for a Rams opener since a 28.1 figure" for Cardinals-Rams in '04, and is the "best Rams rating overall" since Rams-Cardinals earned a 26.2 local rating in September '06 (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/15).

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ESPN, CBS, News Corp./Fox, NFL, NBC

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