Monday Night Football Hits All Time Ratings Low on ESPN

ESPN pays $2 billion a year to the NFL for Monday Night Football, one wild card playoff game — which it also simulcasts on ABC — and the right to use NFL highlights on ESPN shows and networks. Breaking it down on a per capita basis that means every person with ESPN on a cable or satellite subscription in America, roughly 86 million people according to recent Nielsen estimates, pays $23.25 a year for Monday Night Football and NFL highlights.

That sounds like a lot of money, but you know what’s even crazier. The vast majority of cable and satellite subscribers don’t watch Monday Night Football.

In fact, how many of those subscribers are watching every week?

Based on the end of year viewership data, roughly 12% of cable and satellite subscribers watch Monday Night Football each week. So that means 88% of cable and satellite subscribers are paying $23.25 a year for Monday Night Football on ESPN and not watching the games.

As if that weren’t enough, Monday Night Football hit an all time ratings low this year on ESPN.

Here’s the past ten years of ESPN viewership on Monday Night Football.

2017 – 10,800,000

2016 – 11,390,000

2015 – 12,896,000

2014 – 13,349,000

2013 – 13,679,000

2012 – 12,826,000

2011 – 13,252,000

2010 – 14,657,000

2009 – 14,382,000

2008 – 11,962,000

2007 – 11,230,000 

I’m not an expert on ratings data, but based on these numbers ESPN has lost around 35% of its Monday Night Football audience since 2010.

As if that weren’t enough, ESPN has also let it be known that they may not be keeping Monday Night Football when this deal expires because the company can no longer afford to pay $2 billion a year thanks to collapsing subscriber numbers, increased costs for other sports programming, and the dwindling ratings on their network.

Oh, well, at least their president didn’t “resign” last week citing “substance abuse issues.”

And at least one of their top talents didn’t call Donald Trump a white supremacist again.


Happy 2018, MSESPN!