The Super Bowl rematch between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs delivered enormous ratings for ESPN's "Monday Night Football."
The Eagles' 21-17 win was viewed by an average of 28.96 million people across ABC (15.55 million), ESPN (11.49 million) and ESPN2's "Manningcast" (1.92 million), according to Sports Media Watch, making it the largest audience for a Monday night regular season game since a Green Bay Packers-Dallas Cowboys game's 31.45 million viewers in November 1996.
This Monday's game was reportedly the sixth-largest audience overall since the 1991 season, and it obliterated the previous record (22.64 million) for the highest MNF viewership since the game moved primarily to ESPN in 2006, which was set by this season's Week 1 game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets (i.e. the Aaron Rodgers Achilles game).
All of those fans saw a dramatic game, but maybe not the best-executed game. The Eagles capitalized on massive mistakes by the Chiefs in the final minutes to get revenge for their loss in Super Bowl LVII.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 21, 2023
It doesn't take much deliberation to figure out what caused such high viewership. The Eagles and Chiefs were in the Super Bowl last season, both teams are thoroughly in the mix for the Lombardi Trophy again this season and there's the added bonus of Travis Kelce's love life bringing increased interest to the league and the Chiefs in particular.
Underneath all that, however, is the constantly rising tide of the NFL's popularity, even as other major sports leagues are seeing their primarily cable-based ratings slip and face uncomfortable questions about the long-term viability of business models that have been entrenched for decades.
As other teams experiment with their own streaming services, the NFL's teams are doing just fine.