‘Monday Night Football’ ratings feel the force of ‘Star Wars’
The unveiling of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” full-length trailer during “Monday Night Football” on ESPN scored a touchdown in the ratings for the Walt Disney Co. and LucasFilm.
Nearly 16 million viewers watched during halftime of the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. That’s when Disney unfurled the final trailer for the highly anticipated “Star Wars” movie that’s set to hit theaters Dec. 18.
“Monday Night Football” was the most-watched program on television Monday, attracting an audience that averaged 13.9 million viewers over the course of the evening.
The football game was a blowout as the Eagles trounced the Giants, 27-7, Philadelphia. The game generated an 8.7 household rating in the final Nielsen ratings, according to ESPN.
The game’s ratings were about 4% higher than the season average for “Monday Night Football.” During the first six telecasts of this season, the franchise has been garnering an 8.4 household rating and 13.45 million viewers.
ESPN said viewership peaked Monday between 6:45 p.m. PDT (9:45 p.m. EDT) and 7 p.m. PDT (10 p.m. EDT). During that 15-minute period, the game scored a household rating of 10.5 with nearly 17 million viewers tuned in.
That came at the end of the second quarter when the Eagles were advancing down the field and, presumably, non-football fans were finding ESPN on their channel guides to prepare to watch the trailer.
The “Star Wars” trailer played from 7:08 p.m. PDT to 7:11 p.m. PDT.
During halftime, 7 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. PDT, an estimated 15.9 million viewers tuned in, ESPN said. After 7:20 p.m., as the game resumed, the audience declined to an average of 14.2 million viewers.
To be sure, Monday’s contest was between teams in two of NFL’s biggest markets, so viewership was expected to be stronger than it was for last week’s contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers. That game averaged 12.2 million viewers.
ESPN said Monday’s ratings were highest in Philadelphia.
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