A big game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints Monday equaled huge viewership locally and nationally.
It drew more than half the TVs that were on in metro Atlanta and more than one-third of the entire local population. It was also the highest rated football game in Atlanta on record, according to Zap2it.com.
The game, which ended with the Saints winning 17-14 in the final minutes, aired on both ESPN as a “Monday Night Football” telecast and Channel 2 WSB-TV. Combined, the two networks brought in a whopping 37.2 rating, about three times larger than a typical top-rated show and equates to more than 1.5 million viewers. And of TVs that were on Monday night, 54 percent were tuned to the game.
Nationally, the game drew 19.1 million viewers on ESPN alone, according to Nielsen ratings. That’s the highest rated cable telecast of the year and third biggest ever. (Nine of the top 10 cable telecasts of all time are NFL football games. The only non-football telecast? “High School Musical 2″ from 2007 on the Disney Channel makes it into the top 10.)
NFL has been on a roll this year, showing increased ratings across the board. ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” averaged 14.7 million viewers through 15 weeks, on its way to its best year ever on that network. NFL Network’s Thursday night football games have averaged 5.7 million, the best in its five-year history.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog