ESPN’s 2023 Monday Night Football season debut was a record breaker, as more than 22.6 million viewers watched the Buffalo Bills at the New York Jets across ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, NFL+, and ESPN Deportes. The viewership surpasses the 2009 Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings game, which featured Hall of Famer Brett Favre vs. his former team, as the most-watched ESPN Monday Night Football game (21.8 million viewers).
The record audience peaked at 25.2 million viewers in the first half (9-9:15 p.m. ET), when the Buffalo Bills took a 10-3 lead late in the second quarter. The 2023 Monday Night Football opener is up 14% from the 2022 opener (19.8 million viewers, Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks)—an audience that was a record-setting MNF Week 1 game at the time.
Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli on ESPN2 added to the record books with an audience of 1.52 million, up from the show’s 2022 Week 1 audience. With more than 100, the alternate presentation program now holds ESPN’s 20 most-watched alternate telecasts.
The Monday Night Football momentum continues. Since the start of the 2022 season, Monday Night Football has now delivered three of its five most-watched Monday games (out of nearly 300 games, beginning in 2006). Looking at September games, ESPN now has surpassed 19 million viewers for each of its standalone game in 2022 and 2023.