ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks across the line of scrimmage over teammate Zack Martin #70 as the Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions during the second half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The last regular season NFL game on ESPN may not have had the best production, but at least ratings-wise, it went well. Thanks to having the Dallas Cowboys on, ESPN saw its best ratings for Monday Night Football since 2014. ESPN notes that the Detroit-Dallas game averaged a 10.7 overnight rating. That’s the highest overnight number dating back to October 27, 2014 when a Washington-Dallas game received a 12.5 rating.

When all is said and done, Monday Night Football is expected to win the night in primetime across cable and broadcast.

In Dallas, the game garnered a combined 34.9 rating (8.9 on ESPN and 26.0 on WFAA) while in Detroit, the game received a 29.5 rating (11.2 on ESPN, 18.3 on WXYZ).

The top-rated markets outside of Dallas and Detroit are as follows:

San Antonio — 23.7
Austin — 19.4
Norfolk — 17.0
Memphis — 16.5
Albuquerque-Santa Fe — 16.3
Houston — 15.6
Richmond-Petersburg — 15.5
Las Vegas — 14.4
Milwaukee — 13.9
Oklahoma City — 13.7

As for streaming, the game atttacted an average minute audience of 296,000 viewers on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes platforms. That’s up 68% from last year. Overall, Monday Night Football averaged a per minute audience of 242,000 viewers on ESPN/ESPN Deportes an increase of 35% from last season.

Yes, the Cowboys had a lot to do with ESPN’s numbers last night. The NFL’s ratings rebound in the second half of the season was triggered mainly by Dallas. And as ESPN suffered a ratings downturn like the other NFL’s TV partners, it did not have the benefit like Fox and NBC have having the Cowboys on multiple times. The season finale was the only time ESPN had Dallas on. But it can say it was able to go out on a high note thanks to the Cowboys.

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.