Ratings Roundup: ESPN’s Monday Night Football Nabs Nearly 20 Million Viewers, Alabama-Texas is 2022’s Most-Watched CFB Game on Any Network

Ratings Roundup is a rundown of recent rating news and is derived from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, ESPN’s Monday Night Football Nabs Nearly 20 Million Viewers and Alabama-Texas is 2022’s Most-Watched CFB Game on Any Network.

ESPN’s Monday Night Football Nabs Nearly 20 Million Viewers in Record-Setting Season Opener

ESPN’s delivered its most-watched Monday Night Football game since 2009 and its third best Monday game in the current era (2006 – present and 270+ games), as 19,845,000 viewers – across ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes – turned in for the Seattle Seahawks’ victory over the Denver Broncos in quarterback Russell Wilson’s return (September 12, 8:15 p.m. ET).

The highly anticipated showdown, which marked the debut of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth and began Lisa Salters’ 11th season on the franchise’s sideline, was easily ESPN’s most-watched Week 1 game since it began airing Monday Night Football (32 games) and was up 16% from last year’s record-setting Week 1 audience.

Alabama-Texas is 2022’s Most-Watched CFB Game on Any Network

NASCAR Ratings Info – Kansas

NASCAR Cup Series – The event at Kansas earned a 1.10 rating on USA, with an average of 1.90 million viewers tuned in


    • NASCAR ranked as the #2 sport of the day on cable
    • Rating up +3% (1.07, Richmond on Saturday night) and viewership up +5% (1.9 million)  over the 2021 event on NBCSN
    • Viewership peaked with 2.1 million viewers tuned in

2022 Is Most-watched NTT Indycar Series Season In Six Years And Most-watched Across NBC Sports On Record

NBC Sports’ 2022 coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES delivered the most-watched INDYCAR season in six years (since 2016) and NBC Sports’ most-watched season on record, an increase of 5% compared to 2021.

The 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, capped off by Will Power winning his second-career series championship, averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.30 million viewers across NBC, USA Network, Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms, marking the most-watched season for the INDYCAR SERIES since 2016 (1.31 million viewers, NBCSN TAD/ABC TV-only) and ranking as the best in NBC Sports history, up 5% vs. last year’s then-record viewership (1.24 million viewers, NBC/NBCSN). TAD is based on data from Nielsen and Adobe Analytics.

Half of the season’s 16 races on television delivered a TAD of more than 1 million viewers, the highest mark since 2008. The inaugural race of 2022, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Feb. 27, stands as the most-watched season-opener in 11 years with a TAD of 1.44 million viewers (St. Pete, 2011, 1.84 million, ABC) and the most-watched non-Indianapolis 500 INDYCAR race in 11 years.

An All-Time Record-Setting Weekend for ESPN Digital

ESPN Digital achieved its best day of all time on Sunday, September 11, and its third best day ever on Saturday, September 10, fueled by a huge weekend in sports that included ESPN coverage of the NFL, college football, US Open Tennis, UFC 279, WNBA Finals, LaLiga and Bundesliga soccer, Formula 1, ESPN Fantasy Football, and more.

  • On Sunday, ESPN Digital platforms, including ESPN.com, the ESPN App and the ESPN Fantasy App, were up +8% over the same Sunday in 2021, while Saturday was up +17% over the equivalent day last year. (Source: Adobe Analytics)
  • Saturday also marked the third most-viewed day of all time on ESPN+, which followed the most-viewed day ever for ESPN+ on Saturday, September 3.

The ESPN App and the ESPN Fantasy App also set all-time records.

  • The ESPN App recorded its two best days ever over the weekend, reaching an all-time high on Saturday with 13.1 million unique fans, followed by its second most ever on Sunday with 12.6 million, up +14% and +18%, respectively, over the equivalent days last year.
  • With 9.2 million unique visitors on Sunday, September 11, the ESPN Fantasy App had its best day ever, beating its previous high set just three days prior (8.3 million on Thursday, September 8) and exceeding last year’s NFL opening Sunday by 1.1 million.

US Open Audience up 50% from 2021, ESPN’s Third Best Ever

The 2022 US Open on ESPN averaged 1.21 million viewers over the two weeks and nearly 168 hours of wall-to-wall live coverage, up 50% from last year and the third-best for ESPN since it gained exclusivity for the last of tennis’ four Majors each year in 2015.  The audience was boosted during the first week by the widespread attention to Serena Williams – who was featured three times in prime time plus in a doubles match with her sister Venus – who most believe was playing her final tournament and in the second week by matches with Frances Tiafoe, Coco Gauff and eventual men’s champion, Carlos Alcaraz. (See individual match viewership notes below.)

The semifinal between Alcaraz and Tiafoe on Friday, Sept. 9, averaged 2.96 million viewers – peaking at 3.6 million – for the five-plus hour telecast that started at 7 p.m. ET.  That is up 66% from the equivalent telecast in 2021 and ranks as ESPN’s ninth biggest tennis audience on record.  It is also ESPN’s sixth best from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. (coverage began in 2009).  It is ESPN’s biggest tennis audience for a match from a Major event that did not include the legends of the last 20+ years – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.  Not only is it the only semifinal in ESPN’s top 10 tennis audiences, but when combined with the afternoon semifinal, Casper Ruud over Karen Khachanov, the 2.2 million average audience is the biggest for the penultimate round of any tournament ESPN has televised.

ESPN College Football: Week 2 Viewership Up Significantly Year-Over-Year for ABC/ESPN, Multi-Year Growth for College GameDay


“NFL On CBS” Kicks Off Season With Record Viewership Across All Platforms

Sunday’s regional game window at 1:00 PM, ET, with the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati overtime thriller as the high coverage game, recorded the Network’s most-watched Week 1 regional game window since 1998, when the NFL returned to CBS. The game window averaged 17.387 million viewers, according to Nielsen national ratings, up +21% vs. last year’s comparable window.

CBS Sports averaged 17.042 million viewers for its opening weekend doubleheader, the best Week 1 average audience in four years. It also marked the third-most-watched NFL ON CBS Week 1 average audience since 1998.

NBC Sports And Peacock Post Most-watched Sunday Night Football Opener Since 2015, With More Than 25 Million Viewers For Buccaneers-Cowboys

NBC’s Sunday Night Football, primetime’s #1 show for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years, returned last night and continued to dominate the media landscape, registering a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) average of approximately 25.1 million viewers — the largest audience for NBC’s Sunday night opener since 2015.

The 25.1 million viewers, based on preliminary data, across NBC TV, Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms tops last year’s SNF opener by 35% (Bears-Rams, 18.6 million) and is the most watched Sunday night opener in seven years (Giants-Cowboys, 26.9 million, 9/13/15).

Coupled with last Thursday’s Buffalo Bills-Los Angeles Rams NFL Kickoff Game, NBC Sports posted its largest two-game NFL Kickoff Weekend audience since 2016 with a TAD average of 23.4 million viewers.

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