During the NFL offseason, ESPN invested a staggering $165 million in its new “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck.
So far Chairman Jimmy Pitaro’s gamble is paying off, with MNF drawing some of the highest TV numbers for the 17-year ESPN era.
ESPN’s Week 3 telecast of the Dallas Cowboys’ 23-16 win over the New York Giants averaged 19.3 million viewers across ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN, and ESPN Deportes — up 29% from Cowboys-Eagles last season.
It is the most-watched Week 3 MNF game since ESPN took over the package in 2006 and the fourth-most-watched MNF game during that overall period.
ESPN invested a small fortune in dual five-year contracts for Aikman and Buck.
The new MNF team of Aikman-Buck-Lisa Salters-John Parry, combined with a much more attractive game schedule, is paying off:
- Through Week 3, ESPN has already posted two of the four most-watched MNF games in its history, including more than 270 games.
- TV viewership has peaked at over 20 million viewers every week of the 2022 season.
- MNF’s record-setting Week 3 performance followed a previous record-setter in Week 1 when Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks became the most-watched season opener in ESPN’s MNF history with 19.85 million viewers.
In Week 4, that stronger game schedule pays off with an NFC Championship rematch between the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.
‘ManningCast’ Contributes 1.4M Viewers
During Week 3, the “ManningCast” with Peyton and Eli Manning contributed 1.4 million viewers via ESPN2 and ESPN+.
Through the first two episodes, the brothers are averaging 1.46 million viewers, up 15% from the first two last season.