A great matchup with a great storyline culminating in a great game results in (wait for it) great ratings.
Monday’s game between the Broncos and Seahawks, featuring quarterback Russell Wilson‘s return to Seattle in his very first game with a new team, generated a total audience of 19.845 million.
That figure includes all viewers on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 (the ManningCast), ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes.
It was the third biggest audience during ESPN’s ownership of the rights to the Monday night game. The other two contests (Packers at Vikings in 2009, 21.838 million; Saints at Patriots, in 2009, 21.4 million) were televised only on ESPN. Last night’s game was simulcast on ESPN, ABC, and ESPN2.
The ManningCast accounted for 1.5 million of those viewers, or 7.5 percent of the total audience. The audience for the ManningCast represented what ESPN called a “staggering” 86-percent increase over the debut in 2021.
Last year, the Week One Manning Brothers audience of 800,000 shot to 1.532 million for Week Two. This year, they’ll return for Week Three’s game between the Giants and Dak-less Cowboys.
In Week Two, ESPN and ABC have an overlapping double-header, with Titans-Bills starting at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN and Vikings-Eagles at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
On behalf of the many NFL fans who would prefer to focus on one game at a time in prime time, here’s a simple question: Why?