ESPN’s Monday Night Football Ratings Crash, Hit Season Low for Titans-Colts

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AP Photo/David Kohl

Don Meredith helped make Monday Night Football famous, by singing ‘Turn out the lights, the party’s over” at the end of games. It might be time to sing that same song again for Monday Night Football, though, for an entirely different reason.

As the Tennessee Titans finally snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 36-22 victory against the Indianapolis Colts, the game only achieved a low 6.1 in metered markets, Deadline Hollywood reported on Tuesday.

The Week 6 game fell over 3% from the October 17, 2016, game between the Arizona Cardinals and the New York Jets. This year’s Week 6 saw a season low with a 3.0 among the 18-49 age demographic and only 8.4 million viewers.

The bad showing is only a small part of the 12 percent tumble that Week 6 took over last year’s ratings. This week’s 8.4 million viewers was also a drop from last Monday’s 10.3 million viewers. Though, as Deadline noted, last Monday featured the debut of the new Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie trailer, and that might have helped boost the numbers.

Week 6 also featured broadcasters, including ESPN who owns the rights to Monday Night Football, making the decision not to show the national anthem. Instead of airing the anthem, CBS, Fox, and NBC aired commercials.

This isn’t really a “new” thing, though, as airing commercials during the anthem was the usual broadcasting practice for years. The networks only began airing the anthem when players began protesting it.

Ratings have been bad across all the NFL’s partner networks. At CBS, for instance, things have gotten so bad that investors are even being warned the network could find a 3 percent loss of advertising revenue. Another report recently noted that the networks could lose up to $200 million in earnings, due to the NFL ratings crash.

The September report claimed that CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC could take a $200 million hit to their estimated $2.5 billion in NFL advertising earnings if fans continue to turn off their TVs.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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