Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) walks under pressure from Baltimore Ravens in front of linebacker Pernell McPhee (90) and defensive end Derek Wolfe (95) during the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Baltimore Ravens on September 28, 2020 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD.
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Perhaps the most exciting matchup of Week 3 of the National Football League has paid off for ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ 34:20 win over the Baltimore Ravens averaged 14 million viewers, well above the first week’s average of 10.8 million viewers. The game peaked in the first half with 16.2 million viewers around 9:30 p.m. until 9.45 p.m., the network said.
The top five markets for competition outside of Kansas City and Baltimore included Denver, San Diego and Pittsburgh.
Monday’s game featured the final two NFL MVP quarterbacks in Patrick Mahomes and Ravens Lamar Jackson, the reigning winner.
Mahomes, who also won the Super Bowl LIV MVP and a 10-year extension for $ 503 million in Julythrew for 385 yards, four touchdowns, and a roaring touchdown. Jackson made 15 of 28 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Dan Cohen, senior vice president of Octagon’s global media rights consulting division, said the game’s heavy crowd shows the impact of the NFL’s star power outside of its clubs.
“Similar to other sports, especially when compared to the NBA, this speaks for the growing trend for athletes to get a greater share of coordination and engagement through the individual team itself,” he said.
“I might not be a Chiefs or Ravens fan, but I want to see Mahomes and Jackson because I’m a fan of either or both. Some might call this the ‘LeBron Effect’.”
Lamar Jackson # 8 of the stiff arms of the Baltimore Ravens Juan Thornhill # 22 of the Kansas City Chiefs at M&T Bank Stadium on September 28, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Todd Olszewski | Getty Images
“These guys are the new face of the NFL, the two,” added Neal Pilson, Founder of the consulting company Pilson Communications.
Pilson, who served as president of CBS Sports for 13 years, said Mahomes and Jackson would continue to become “household names” and that their national interests should “drive” their teams’ audience numbers.
“It’s more than just a game,” added Pilson. “It feeds all season, and that’s a plus. That’s why the NFL is the NFL and nobody else is the NFL. You get those opportunities for national games and personal rivalries. It’s what the NFL is supposed to be.”
After this recorded a decrease of 17% In week 1 compared to last year’s Monday Night Football debut, ESPN said that after four games, MNF viewership has increased 4% since 2019, with an average of 12 million viewers per game.
Pilson cautioned against “resisting the temptation” to believe that after the start, NFL viewers would suffer in the long run the year with declines. He said with changing consumer habits and “other compelling options” for viewers to choose from, a week of downward valuations doesn’t matter.
“Audiences go up and down depending on who is playing and what else is on the air,” he said, predicting a drop in viewership in the sport as the presidential election is nearly a month away.
“Even when ratings are low, there aren’t many other better options,” Pilson said. “If you look at the networking and sponsorship options available, the NFL is number one.”