The 2015 season of Monday Night Football ended up as the lowest-rated since 2008 and the least-viewed since 2012. But its season-finale this past Monday between the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos became the highest-rated and most-viewed of the 17-game schedule.

Bengals-Broncos, which went into overtime, averaged a 9.4 final rating with 15.8 million viewers peaking at a big 11.3 rating and 18.6 million in the 11:30-11:45 p.m. ET quarter-hour. This was the highest rating/viewership since Week 4 for the Detroit-Seattle game.

Overall, Monday Night Football averaged an 8.1 rating for the 2015 season while garnering an average viewership of 12.9 million. This is down 2% in ratings and 3% in viewership (8.1/13.35 million) from 2014.

Sports Media Watch points out that none of this year’s games averaged over a 10.0 rating and that is the first time in the history of the MNF series that that has happened.

This is the second consecutive year ESPN has experienced a downturn for Monday Night Football as 2014 finished below 2013’s 8.6 average rating and 13.7 million viewers. Part of the reason for the lower numbers was a weaker schedule and less than attractive matchups. Even though most of the games ended by being decided by eight points or less, it wasn’t enough to offset lower numbers.

This year resulted as the third-lowest rated and fifth least-watched season in MNF history. But even with the lower ratings, Monday Night Football still won primetime in viewership for 13 of the 16 weeks. And it swept the entire season for male viewers in 18-34 and 18-49.

The viewership numbers do not include the online audience on WatchESPN.

[Sports Media Watch]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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