The Monday Night Football crew this year was a first-time team of Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters, and, at times, really showed their lack of experience together. Whether it was the whole “Booger Cam” experiment that ESPN insisted to stick with — despite fans in the stands hating it for obstructing their view of the field — or the mumbling and random analysis of Jason Witten as a first-year announcer, Monday Night Football broadcasts seemed to get blasted on social media during the games and the morning’s after, with viewers complaining about the broadcast.
As bad (and unwatchable) as the telecasts may have seemed at times, though, guess who’s laughing now that the final Monday Night Football broadcast is in the books? Oh, that’d be ESPN, who released a report that said viewership for the program actually increased by 8 percent during the 2018 NFL regular season, which is pretty spectacular given the aforementioned beef fans had with the broadcasts each week.
According to ESPN Media Zone, Monday Night Football didn’t just finish the regular season up 8 percent over last year during the 17-game broadcast (16 weeks), but also increased two percent over the 2016 season, too, meaning more people watched this first-year crew than you might think. Here are some other key stats from the Media Zone release.
- Monday Night Football finished the season as the most-watched series on cable for the second straight year
- Monday Night Football accounted for nine of the top 20 most-watched telecasts on cable in 2018
- Monday Night Football was the most-watched telecast of the day on 15 of 16 Mondays in households, viewers and all key male and adult demos
- The Nov. 19th Monday Night Football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs attracted an audience of 7 million viewers, making it the most-watched game of the season
Those are pretty gaudy numbers considering the Monday Night Football crew was one of the most ridiculed in recent memory. Sure, there had been Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser in the past, but, with Witten and Tessitore in the booth and McFarland and Salters on the sideline, viewers seemed to turn the volume down more frequently than ever before. But, hey, at least they were still watching the game.
In the ESPN Media Zone report, it also showed the U.S. cities where Monday Night Football was most-watched during the 2018 NFL regular season, so here’s the top 10 MNF metered markets this season.
- New Orleans (14.4)
- Norfolk (11.6)
- Richmond (10.9)
- Kansas City (10.6)
- Denver (10.5)
- Washington D.C. (10.1)
- Seattle-Tacoma (9.9)
- (tie) San Diego, Albuquerque and Phoenix (9.6)
For those who can’t seem to get enough of this crew, the Monday Night Football team’s job isn’t over quite yet, as they’ll be on-air for an NFL playoff game (either January 5 or 6) as well as the NFL Pro Bowl in Orlando. Something tells me fans on Twitter will be armed and ready for those broadcasts.