Boosted by the New Orleans-Atlanta season finale that generated the
third-largest audience in cable history, ESPN recorded its best season
with Monday Night Football.
The Dec. 27 contest generated a
13.0 cable rating (11.2 national), 12.96 million households and 19.1
million viewers, according to Nielsen data.
Those numbers helped push ESPN's fifth season with the franchise it took
over from Disney broadcast brethren ABC to the top of the ratings
charts. Over 17 contests in the 2010 NFL season, MNF averaged a
10.5 rating, (9.1 U.S.), 10.49 million households and 14.66 million
watchers, gains of 1%, 2% and 2%, respectively, over the 10.4 rating,
10.3 million households and 14.38 million watchers in the 2009 campaign,
which had been ESPN's previous best.