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Monday Night Football draws over 22 million viewers

The inaugural “Monday Night Football” broadcast of the National Football League’s 2023-2024 season drew over 22 million viewers to ESPN, ABC and other platforms on Monday, according to figures cited by the Walt Disney Company.

The viewership data included those who watched the Monday night match-up between the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills on ESPN and ABC, as well as streaming simulcasts on ESPN Plus and NFL Plus. It also included those who tuned in to a special broadcast, called the “Manningcast,” hosted by Eli and Payton Manning on ESPN 2.

The total number of people who tuned in to the broadcast was 22.644 million, surpassing a Monday Night Football match-up between the Minnesota Viking and the Green Bay Packers in 2009. That game drew just over 21.8 million viewers.

The inaugural Monday broadcast of the season saw a 14 percent increase in viewership compared to the 2022 “Monday Night Football” opener, which had around 19.8 million viewers.

In its press release touting the viewership figures, Disney officials did not say where its viewership data originated, but a spokesperson later confirmed to The Desk that the numbers were taken from Nielsen.

The game was highly anticipated among football fans, with the match-up seeing the debut of former Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers joining the New York Jets. His time on the field was short after he suffered an injury during the first drive of the game.

The broadcast took place hours after Disney signed a new distribution agreement with Charter Communications that restored ESPN, ABC-owned local stations and other Disney-owned cable networks to Spectrum TV, making the channels available to more than 15 million cable subscribers across the country, including key markets like New York City and Los Angeles.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).