ESPN’s ratings for Monday Night Football opener down from last year

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Television ratings for the NFL in prime time are continuing to decline.

ESPN saw lower ratings for its annual Monday Night Football Week One doubleheader this year than last year — and last year’s ratings weren’t good.

The Jets-Lions game got a 7.5 overnight rating, while Rams-Raiders drew a 7.0. That’s down 4 percent from 2017. And 2017 was down from 2016, and 2016 was down from 2015.

Ratings also declined for both the Thursday night opener and the Week One Sunday night game, although Sunday afternoon NFL ratings increased from last year. Overall, the NFL would have to see Week One as a mixed bag at best.

Still, a mixed bag for the NFL would be considered great ratings for anything else on TV. NFL games were easily the most-watched programs on network television last week, and ESPN beat everything on both cable and network TV last night. Ratings remain strong compared to everything else — unless “everything else” includes NFL ratings from a few years ago.

88 responses to “ESPN’s ratings for Monday Night Football opener down from last year

  1. Forget the games -ESPN’s production/broadcast quality is even more horrible than preceding seasons -which is really saying something. It’s almost unwatchable.

  2. please share how do they factor in their rating for things like the nfl season pass app for your phone/tablet etc…, streaming on the internet on your smart TV, etc…?

  3. I tuned in to see Sam Darnold, right away got turned off by that horrid voice of Beth Mowins. As for the later game, us on the East coast have work/school the following morning and since the NFL has shown it cares very little about the fans, us fans showed the NFL we care very little about it scheduling 2 games on a Monday

  4. Is it really necessary to have articles about this after every game? TV ratings are down EVERYWHERE, not just in the NFL. It’s a product of an increasingly connected society with more and more alternatives to traditional cable. People are watching TV less, which is the reason for the ratings. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar company and is by far the most popular sport in America. These articles are useless, and just feed into a false, divisive narrative about the national anthem.

  5. What a shock! When you put a crap Jets team on MNF after year of sub .500 seasons and embarrassing moments, it’s beyond comprehension. It’s like Goodell tries to be bad and ruin the league on purpose.

    And now we hear the Jets may have cheated and Goodell will do nothing. It’s just so confusing.

    LMAO

  6. Can you give any context compared to ratings for reality shows, primetime dramas, movie theatre audiences, or other sports? There are simply more choices now with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Youtube, Vine, Reddit streaming, apps, podcasts, etc to watch different things or to watch the same things in ways that are hard to count in the ratings. The NFL could do a Mother Theresa commercial and have 5 medal of honor winners on each team and ratings would not go up if there are more 100 more other choices each year than the last. Now many original shows had Netflix produced when NFL ratings peaked? Just House of Cards? And how much has the price of Cable and DirecTV packages increased since then?

  7. Fewer ads, more football; fewer cliches, more insight; less hype, more matter of factness.

    When every play leads to a car ad, every player becomes the GOAT, and every game is more outstanding than the superbowl, I’d rather watch the Simpsons.

    At least they’re real.

  8. I would have watched, but the games were on ESPN. I’m not paying exorbitant amounts of money for that crappy channel just to watch football on Monday night.

  9. Let me tell you something. I haven’t had pay TV Since the kids moved out. for the first time in years I streamed MNF because I didn`t have to work tuesday. I`ve been wondering why people bash ESPN so much. now, I clearly understand. the announcers were incredibly bad. the fourth team on any other network would have been a major step up. I muted the sound and listened to Westwood one.

  10. ValarMorghulis says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:01 pm
    Is it really necessary to have articles about this after every game? TV ratings are down EVERYWHERE, not just in the NFL. It’s a product of an increasingly connected society with more and more alternatives to traditional cable. People are watching TV less, which is the reason for the ratings. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar company and is by far the most popular sport in America. These articles are useless, and just feed into a false, divisive narrative about the national anthem.
    *********************
    Facts. Next comes the article about the President mocking the NFL… like any of this is connected to the anthem. It’s not. It’s the views lost in streaming statistics. #justviewit

  11. The woman doing the color commentary on last night’s Rams Raiders game was awful. Not because she’s a woman, I’m sure there are plenty that are capable, but just because she was bad. Nothing compelling or exciting about what she had to say.

  12. I know I have no interest in watching their BS, & it appears the NFL just doesn’t get it. Americans aren’t interested in the “modern” game (flag football rules) they are rolling out, nor the Anti-American sentiment constantly on display by it’s representatives. I watched 1 game (Steelers), but I am starting to contemplate turning that one off also. The NFL has already 100% converted from the ‘Man’s’ game it once was to a propaganda filled entitlement mindset ‘Child’s’ game. Very difficult to watch, the few times I even bother…

  13. Are we really going to do this hypersensitive reporting on the television ratings for every game?
    Nobody cares.
    Not your average fans anyway.

    Some overindulgent commentators will bemoan the death knell of the league, due to the kneelers, rule changes, or the overall softening of the game.
    And I’m sure some of the owners and tv executives probably really do care in the short term, but it’s not really going to even affect the overall sales once the contracts are up.
    The NFL will still sell the rights for record profits and the world will still keep on spinning.
    And you and I will keep on watching.
    Well, most of us anyway.

  14. If ESPN included Ditka in the Boyz II Men halftime song it would’ve been a different story.

  15. Face it, viewership is on a steady decline coinciding mostly with an increasing percentage of cord-cutters.

    There will be some outliers for particularly good matchups compared to poor matchups for the same game in a previous year, and of course if you’re comparing a Cowboys game this year to a non-Cowboys game last yesr it will look good (which was the case for Sunday afternoon). By the time this season is over and everything has been smoothed out, 2018 will have less viewership than 2017, 2016, 2015 and so forth.

    Cord-cutters, the incessant desire by some to politicize the game, rule changes that lead to way more penalties and game stoppages…. all this stuff plays a role. Change up the TV deals so you can allow NFL Game Pass to include live games for people in the USA and maybe the bleeding will stop or at least slow down.

  16. Nfl players never stopped protesting, and then dismissed anyone who disagreed with their methods as ignorant or racist or both.

    Disrespect your fan base it dissipates, now matter how invested it was.

  17. gauchosporlife says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:14 pm
    That female broadcaster was torture on my ears, couldn’t watch the game.
    —————————————–
    Same here. Just terrible, but she fits the ESPN’s agenda I guess. Whatever it is.

  18. The need to make their content more accessible…not less. They should either cast it on their website and/or broadcast it on one of the sub channels ABC affiliates now have. For example my local ABC channel has three sub channels, 10-2, 10-3, 10-4. This will help offset the current trend of cord cutting going on out there. If I wanted to get ESPN in my market, I’d have to spend at least another $25.00 a month just to get one channel, and really that’s the only reason I’d want ESPN is for the MNF broadcast. There are many people out there like me who refuse to pay sky high cable costs for content we don’t care about. If advertisers want eye balls watching their commercials, they are going to have to demand the shows they are buying time on are more accessible, not less. The era of “take it or leave it” for broadcasters is over.

    Oh, and by the way, I can get the SNF broadcast for free on the NBC Sports app AND on their website. If NBC can do it, why can’t Disney?

  19. billvick111 says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:10 pm
    The woman doing the color commentary on last night’s Rams Raiders game was awful. Not because she’s a woman, I’m sure there are plenty that are capable, but just because she was bad. Nothing compelling or exciting about what she had to say.

    ………………………
    Wrong game.

  20. pftthoughtpolicemostwanted says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:01 pm
    I love how everyone’s talking point is now ‘the games are still the highest rated program by a longshot’

    Whistling past the graveyard.

    22 9 Rate This

    ———————–

    Exactly. Same thing as the NFL saying “brady destroyed his phone”. No, he didn’t. He bought a new one and asked an assistant to get rid of the old one after Goodell started leaking things off his phone to apparently try to embarrass Brady.

    CREEEEEPY

    The NFL spins lies to feed the NFL customer. Anyone believing Goodell is a moron.

  21. She was the female version of Bob Uecker ,,,,,Let’s take a look at the outta town scoreboard !!!!!

  22. I was also really turned off by the female announcers voice it was very annoying for some reason. My wife finally turned the game down and some music on she couldnt deal anymore.

    Oh and also turned off by the Lions…

  23. Wow, people have more programs to watch and more devices to watch them on than ever, and TV ratings go down. Who knew? Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for that “failing NASCAR” tweet…

  24. How do these players get so winded when every 4 plays there is a commercial break? Ohhhh wait……that IS why they are winded on any drive uninterrupted past 5 plays….because they are used to just standing around.

  25. derekgorgonstar says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:19 pm
    Nfl players never stopped protesting, and then dismissed anyone who disagreed with their methods as ignorant or racist or both.

    Disrespect your fan base it dissipates, now matter how invested it was.
    ————————————————-
    And yet here you are. Another angry white guy posting about football

  26. No politics on this one, it was just bad TV. The game was harrible, actually embarassing to watch. And ESPNs production and commentators was just awful. The commentators, both of them, were particularly awful. Ill bet most folks were turned off before the first game was over and never looked back after that so the sevond one never even got considered.

  27. Sunday during the 10am pacific games I would switch over to other game every commercial and I’m not kidding…for 20 minutes every time I did it….the other game was at commercial as well.

  28. Hopefully this doesn’t get buried but to everyone who is bemoaning the lower TV ratings as a product of the kneeling or the game being softer or whatever your flavor of the week complaint is, it’s not.

    TV ratings don’t count online streaming. Streaming on that awful Thursday game was up 55% over last year.

    The NFL is as popular as ever.

  29. I didn’t watch. Can’t watch patriots-jags as i’ll Be flying, won’t watch patriots games they don’t broadcast near me and won’t watch any non-Patriots games.

    What a waste it all was watching 12 hours of football a week and the highlights and the talk radio. Thank you Kaepernick and Deflategate, you saved me 100+ hours of free time and $1,000 per year for not having DirecTV and Sunday ticket

    At least the time I waste here is while I’m at work, so I am getting paid to waste this time

  30. The problem for the NFL is that securing rights for NFL games is FAR FAR FAR FAR more expensive then making a sitcom, drama, police, sci-fi or any other television program.

    Think of it this way. ESPN basically has to pay on average more than 100 million dollars just for the broadcast rights to EACH MNF GAME!

    Then throw in all the production costs, and you can see why the networks are losing their butt on the NFL.

    Oh one final thing, just to give another example. An episode of GoT with all its insane production values, high priced stars, and CGI has cost between 2 million an episode, to this final season 15 million an episode.

    In other words, a single NFL game for ESPN costs FAR more than the entire final season of Game of Thrones.

  31. easy fix, just make every Patriots game a nationally televised event. The ratings will spike through the roof . . .

    there is a lot of peeps wanting to know how to consistenly cheat and get away with it.

  32. The only people still paying for TV packages to watch these games are the people who don’t know how to watch it for free. I’m sure that the viewership is the same, if not more, people just aren’t paying for cable and satellite anymore.

  33. Two teams either in the middle of moving, trying to move, or playing out the string

    What did you THINK was gonna happen?

    Pissed off fans don’t want to see them. Teams moving for millionaire & billionaire hissy fit make pissed off fans

    But hey, keep paying Darth Goodell…

  34. bystanderhere says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:22 pm
    gauchosporlife says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:14 pm
    That female broadcaster was torture on my ears, couldn’t watch the game.
    —————————————–
    Same here. Just terrible, but she fits the ESPN’s agenda I guess. Whatever it is.

    ———————
    Obviously it was agenda driven. No one that bad gets chosen any other way. The thing is, I dont care if they want to play agenda games, just still get someone good at least. They have far better already on their payroll even, I have seen them. On their Fantasy show Stephania Bell is extremely knowledgable and explains things well. A couple of their other shows have shown female commentators that know their stuff and could handle that job. If the woman they have now keeps doing it Im going to be checking other channels.

  35. She was tolerable (barely). Did Whitten say anything all night? And Booger wouldn’t shut up. Glad I slept through most of that game. The replay is on NFL network right now.

  36. Networks often play the game of media markets, scheduling teams from the biggest TV markets, such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, even though some of the teams from those markets may not be very good. I think that is a mistake because fans would rather see a competitive game between 2 good teams, especially if they don’t live in the same area as the teams play. For example, the Chicago Bears Green Bay game was scheduled when Chicago was not considered a good team. Although LA has a good team in the LAmbs, the Raiders were not a good team last season. Same is true of Detroit and New York (!) Jets. I thinks the NFL is scheduling the games, not the Networks, but regardless of who are making the decisions on which games to schedule on prime time, they should stop playing the media market game if they want higher ratings.

  37. Beth Mowins is terrible. Why does she feel the need to exaggerate every word? She sounds like a woman with the world’s most annoying voice doing a very bad Harry Carey impression. Terrible…

  38. Listening to the woman announcer was worse than being water-boarded. That nasily, whiny voice made me think she has a sinus problem. I’m sorry, but if I want to get nagged by a whiny female voice, I’ll just spend time with my wife instead of watching football.

    Of course, I am a sexist right? Alert the PC ploice !

  39. Many factors go into lower ratings, but it is foolish to think that the National Anthem issue is not one of them. You can choose to agree or disagree with this, but I think that at least some people have been very turned off because they think, whether right or wrong, that wealthy and pampered professional athletes should be able to stand and show respect during the national anthem. Again, not asking anyone to agree with that position, just my observation.

  40. Despite Donald Chump’s decision to increase my and millions of other people’s taxes by killing a popular deduction, I can still afford Sunday Ticket and enjoy it even though Donald Chump tells us to hate the NFL because he doesn’t like its black players.

    These days, if things are too busy, I’ll usually DVR the game, spend time with the family, and watch it later while fast forwarding through every single commercial and delay. It’s great! And that’s exactly what I did with the Raiders/Rams game. That Lions/Jets game turned into a laugher, although I was interested to see if Patricia could improve upon last year’s horrible defense (Patsies were ranked #31-32) and to see Bowles in his “trying to keep his job year.”

    You know what’s not so great? Donald Chump’s approval rating. Maybe that will improve after he is impeached.

  41. Beth Mowins is extremely annoying, but I am not against females doing play by play for NFL games.

    Why though do they have the only woman on the planet who’s voice sounds like a air-raid siren as their sole female play by play person?

  42. The ESPN games can plausibly be blamed on cord cutting. They’re the only games that can. Anyone who tells you otherwise is full of crap…

  43. Unwatchable and unwatchabler. Put out garbage products and of course folks are going to check something else out. As bad as the crew was in game one the second one was gawd awful! THAT’S the best they could come up with? Good lord bring back Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser!

  44. coloradical420 says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:52 pm
    easy fix, just make every Patriots game a nationally televised event. The ratings will spike through the roof . . .

    there is a lot of peeps wanting to know how to consistenly cheat and get away with it.

    ——————-
    You ok man? A guy can hurt himself trying to stretch that far.

  45. tylawspick6 says:
    September 11, 2018 at 2:01 pm
    What a shock! When you put a crap Jets team on MNF after year of sub .500 seasons and embarrassing moments, it’s beyond comprehension. It’s like Goodell tries to be bad and ruin the league on purpose.

    And now we hear the Jets may have cheated and Goodell will do nothing. It’s just so confusing.

    LMAO

    —-

    Please get back on your meds.

  46. Most people understandably are commenting about how terrible Beth Mowins was but the late night game was just as bad. Witten would stay silent for long periods of time and when he decided to say something he sounded completely nervous and Booger McFarland was just a motormouth that added nothing valuable as he sat up in his little tower. Tessitore was at least halfway decent.

  47. Beth Mowins sounds like she’s trying too hard to sound masculine. It got so annoying that I hit the SAP button and changed it to the Spanish broadcast.

  48. Let’s face it these were bad line ups. One game was only interesting to California. One had two losers from the past seasons. A Draftee and a first time coach were not compelling enough to make OTHER fans tune in.

  49. Why do people keep saying it’s due to streaming? They count streaming views now. Unless you are viewing on a pirated feed, then you are counted.

    Also, polls have repeatedly proven that anthem protests was the top reason for decline. Not the only one, but repeatedly the top reason. It’s anthem, followed by too many commercials, followed by too many penalties, followed by generally poor play since teams stopped practicing.

    All things Goodell either ruined himself or allowed to blow up.

  50. The lower ratings has nothing to do with Trump, Kaepernick, or the protests. These were small market teams playing at late hours. Ratings of course were going to be low. Reading anything more into it is nonsense.

  51. If I could pay to stream the games I want to watch without having to purchase a satellite subscription I would otherwise not use, or be a student at a major university (since the terms of the stream only plan seem to get narrower each year) I might actually watch football.

    Sunday Ticket is an obsolete platform. Modernize your offerings, NFL, or continue the ratings slide and fan disengagement.

  52. Despite Donald Chump’s decision to increase my and millions of other people’s taxes by killing a popular deduction, I can still afford Sunday Ticket and enjoy it even though Donald Chump tells us to hate the NFL because he doesn’t like its black players.
    ________________________________________
    Ah, yes, the deduction that lets the blue Democrat states people like you live in tax you into the ground for a cost the rest of us are stuck paying. I thought you guys love higher taxes. Using liberal logic, we could no longer be expected to pay for the tax cut you people received, so pay your fair share and be ready to pay more for free healthcare and free college tuition and free housing for the undocumented.

  53. The decline started when the NFL awarded the better games to SNF. Since then ESPN has been stuck with lousy games.
    Seriously there are many Detroit fans that don’t watch the Lions regularly.

  54. wiltmellow says: Fewer ads, more football; fewer cliches, more insight; less hype, more matter of factness…amen, brother. It’s why I watch the RedZone Sunday afternoon…don’t watch Thursday, Sunday, or Monday night games…get up and read about them while devouring a Klondike bar around 2am. Life is good…and I don’t watch those night games: four hours to watch a one hour game with 28 minutes of action…wow!

  55. El Guapo says:
    September 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm
    Despite Donald Chump’s decision to increase my and millions of other people’s taxes by killing a popular deduction, I can still afford Sunday Ticket and enjoy it even though Donald Chump tells us to hate the NFL because he doesn’t like its black players.

    These days, if things are too busy, I’ll usually DVR the game, spend time with the family, and watch it later while fast forwarding through every single commercial and delay. It’s great! And that’s exactly what I did with the Raiders/Rams game. That Lions/Jets game turned into a laugher, although I was interested to see if Patricia could improve upon last year’s horrible defense (Patsies were ranked #31-32) and to see Bowles in his “trying to keep his job year.”

    You know what’s not so great? Donald Chump’s approval rating. Maybe that will improve after he is impeached.

    …Maybe you’d enjoy football more if President Trump wasnt living in your head 24-7.
    As a CPA, your entire post was void on even one fact about taxes or anything else

  56. Thats why you schedule makers should put bitter rivals on boring Monday nights.
    Like the AFC North,or NFC East NFC South teams.

  57. The drone doing the play by play for the Jets/Lions game was so horrid she literally made the game unwatchable. Monotone, sounded like she was reading off a cheatsheet. She was without a doubt absolutely brutal.

    Wont watch any game shes calling again, ever.

  58. KILL MEDIA TIMEOUTS! Too Slow! Too many commercial breaks! Game is supposed to be 1 hour long (4/15m Quarters), max two hours with half time and timeouts.

    I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started going to the stadium. Players are just standing around waiting for commercials to end so they can keep playing. They literally have a “Media Ref” that gets off the field when the studio tells him to resume play.

    That will increase ratings no doubt! Right?

  59. Its a turnover in power between SNF and MNF. Back in the ’90s MNF was king with Al, Frank and Dan. The Sunday night games on TNT and ESPN though were usually decent games #1, and you had Mike Patrick, Paul Maguire, and Theismann. I mean thats a HoF team compared to what we had to listen to on Monday.

    Whats Westwood ones ratings??? I know they have to have been going up in the past years. Its a much better team, Harlan w/Boomer or Kurt Warner. They just naturally better on the air. Its music to a football fans ears.. Beth Mowins sounds like that teacher you hated in middle school.. The team doing the Raider Ram game were barely any better..

  60. Maybe NBC’s Peter King can solve the mystery of why viewership is down. Oh, guess not. He’s part of the problem. Recycled broadcasters that really should have retired years ago.

  61. Last time I checked,..I could not protest at work. All Rodge had to do was to say, NO you can not do this on the Job. No wonder they call him the MILLION dollar a Week Drama Queen.

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