ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader averaged just under 14 million viewers (13.97) on Monday night, according to Nielsen.
That represented a 31% jump over last year’s season opening twin bill and was the most-viewed since ESPN began airing the doubleheader format in 2006, when it acquired the franchise from ABC.
Much of that rise is attributed to the Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins game, which featured the debut of Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and the return of Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III following major knee surgery. The Eagles’ 33-27 win averaged 16.5 million viewers, up 51% over last year’s early game (Cincinnati Bengals-Baltimore Ravens). Both the 16.5 million viewers and the 10.1 national HH rating were also best-ever marks for an ESPN opening game.
The late game between the Houston Texans and San Diego Chargers, which began at 10:25 p.m. ET on ESPN2 before switching over to ESPN shortly after kickoff, had a modest 4% rise from the late game of last year’s doubleheader (Chargers-Oakland Raiders).
Next week, ESPN returns to its regular 8:30 p.m. start time with the Pittsburgh Steelers facing off against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Source: Multichannel News, 9/10/13