High Expectations for Record Viewership in Ravens vs. 49ers MNF Clash

High Expectations for Record Viewership in Ravens vs. 49ers MNF Clash

Tyler Linderbaum avoided hype Wednesday afternoon as he stood behind the microphone in one of the most crowded Wednesday press conferences of the Ravens season.

It was normal in the city center. He hasn’t heard from friends or family about the San Francisco 49ers or “Monday Night Football” or a possible Super Bowl preview. Not that he doubted their interests. “It’s Christmas Eve,” he said. “Everyone comes to watch.

” It certainly seems that way. Monday’s game, which will also be broadcast on ABC and ESPN’s digital platforms, could set the Ravens’ regular season record. Austin Karp, a Sports Business Journal reporter who tracks industry ratings, said in an interview this week that the AFC-leading Ravens and the NFC-leading 49ers could average between 28 and 30 million viewers.

According to the NFL, the Ravens’ single-game record for combined television and digital viewers is believed to be 25.1 million in September 2013, when the team opened its Super Bowl defense in prime time. Denver Broncos. No other Ravens regular season game even topped the 23 million average viewers.

(The franchise’s most-watched game is undoubtedly Super Bowl XLVI, which averaged 111.4 million viewers) Christmas Day has delivered strong ratings for the NFL in recent years. Nearly 26 million viewers tuned in last year for Fox’s early afternoon kickoff when the Green Bay Packers took on the Miami Dolphins.

In 2021, Fox and NFL Network’s late-night telecast of the Packers-Cleveland Browns game drew 28.6 million viewers. Karp said ratings for Monday’s game will depend a lot on the outcome — close games get better numbers — but noted some key advantages for ABC.

First, the game’s only real competition comes from ESPN’s two prime-time NBA games. (An average of 4.3 million viewers watched the NBA’s five Christmas games last year.) Monday Night Football comes second to two Monday telecasts on other networks: an early afternoon Las Vegas Raiders-Kansas City Chiefs game on CBS and a late afternoon New York Giants-Philadelphia Eagles game on Fox.

New York and Philadelphia are the country’s two largest media markets. Karp noted that the matchup is “essentially a playoff game” because of the excitement of the best kickoff of the day and will have significant implications for the postseason for both the Ravens and 49ers.

“I think it could make a very strong number,” he said. “I think it might be one of [ABC’s] best games of the season and probably one of their best games ever. Because Christmas has done incredibly well for the NFL in recent years.

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