Monday Night Football celebrated its 50th anniversary on the network where it began, ABC — and got a big ratings bump in the process. A trio of drama premieres on other networks, however, turned in soft showings on the opening night of the 2020-21 TV season.
A simulcast of the game between the Las Vegas Raiders — the first in their new home — and New Orleans Saints on ABC and ESPN dominated primetime Monday. The game drew a combined 15.44 million viewers and a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49, way up from both last week (when the first game of a doubleheader averaged 10.76 million viewers) and the same week of the NFL season in 2019 (11.8 million). The 15.44 million viewers was the biggest audience for Monday Night Football since 15.98 million people watched the Nov. 11, 2019, game between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
The audience was fairly evenly split between the two channels: ABC had 7.98 million viewers to 7.45 million for ESPN. The latter, however, had a younger-skewing crowd, posting a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.1 among adults 18-34, vs. 2.0 and 1.2 for ABC.