While the Baltimore Ravens’ rout of the Cincinnati Bengals Monday was catnip for local fans, the national ratings news was not so good for ESPN and “Monday Night Football.” Blowouts do not make for big ratings.
The national overnight Nielsen rating for the opener of Season 43 of MNF was 8.1 in households. That’s down 23 percent from last year’s opener between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins that scored 10.6.
In terms of viewers, Monday’s game was seen by 10.9 million. That’s down 25 percent from 14.6 million who watched last year’s opener.
Baltimore did tune in big time, with the game scoring a 40.9 rating. That means two out of every five homes in the market was tuned in. (That’s not share, which is sets in use. This is homes in the Baltimore TV market.) That’s big.
The local split between the two channels that carried the game: An 11.5 rating for ESPN, and 29.4 on CBS-owned WJZ-TV).
Still, 10 million is a big audience. And they not only saw a high-powered Ravens team, they saw images of a downtown Baltimore packed with tens of thousands of fans having a good time at a great sports venue.
Baltimore has no complaints about the way ESPN’s “Monday night football” presented this city and the Ravens to the world.