Monday Night Football turned 50 this week and it got a surprise for its birthday present: a massive ratings spike.
Following weeks of declining ratings, Monday Night Football was way up for this week’s matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The games had 15.44 million viewers. This was up from 10.7 million for the season opener last week and up from 11.8 million for the week 2 game last season.
This was the highest rated Monday Night Football since Nov. 11, 2019 when the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers 27-24, THR said.
This was the first week the Raiders suited up and played a game in Las Vegas. And it was the first game in Allegiant Stadium.
While the ratings were impressive, the teams didn’t disappoint on the field either. The Raiders pulled a surprising 34-24 comeback win over the Saints, who were considered Super Bowl contenders. The game featured the best touchdown celebration of the season so far.
The NFL hopes they’ll see another ratings win next week for what will be a battle of the MVP candidates. Patrick Mahomes will lead the Chiefs into Baltimore to take on Lamar Jackson’s Ravens.
The NFL’s ratings problem
Until Monday, the NFL has been struggling with declining ratings. Due in part to players kneeling during the national anthem to protest civil injustice, fans have been leaving the turning away from the league. Supporters of the practice and those who are against players taking a knee both have been turning off the games, a recent survey said.
Even President Donald Trump took a shot at the NFL for its falling ratings.
The Sunday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots was supposed to be the NFL’s marquee matchup of the week. However, viewership was down 17 percent compared to last week. Viewers in the ratings demographic was down 25 percent, Deadline reported.
A ratings decline couldn’t come at a worse time for the NFL. The league is currently in the process of renegotiating media deals with the major broadcast networks, the Observer reported. Billions of dollars are at stake and declining or stagnating ratings could cost the league dearly.