ESPN Has a Hit With Peyton and Eli’s “Monday Night Football” MegaCast

The Week 2 edition of the Manning brothers on "MNF" averaged 1.86 million viewers

Ex-NFL players Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, who have a hit "MegaCast" show on Monday nights on ESPN, at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Ex-NFL players Peyton Manning and Eli Manning at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2020.
Harry How/Getty

After a strong showing in Week 1 of the NFL season that generated a good amount of buzz, Peyton and Eli Manning’s Monday Night Football MegaCast had another solid performance in Week 2 when the Detroit Lions took on the Green Bay Packers.

During Monday’s game between the Lions and Packers, which averaged 13.81 million viewers across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes to clock in as second-most-watched Week 2 MNF game since 2014, the alternate presentation of the Manning MegaCast averaged 1.86 million viewers. That audience was more than double the audience that tuned in for the Mannings in Week 1 and accounted for 13% of the total audience for MNF. (Viewership on ESPN+ is not included in those numbers.)

“Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli’s audience increased by 138% in Week 2, as 1.9 million viewers watched their alternate telecast of Lions-Packers, up from 800,000 viewers in Week 1,” per ESPN. “The viewership is a new high for an ESPN alternate telecast since the concept was largely adopted in 2014 (more than 30 offerings). For Peyton and Eli’s viewers, more than half (931,000 viewers) were in the adults 18-49 demo.”

Though NFL ratings are up across the board compared to last year, it is notable how much viewership for the “ManningCast” increased week-over-week, as many people who probably didn’t know about the alternate broadcast in Week 1 tuned in for the Week 2 edition of the broadcast. If ESPN once again sees an audience increase of more than 100% for the Mannings in Week 3, the network will have to think long and hard about making the alternate broadcast a permanent option for this season, if not longer. (The Mannings are only under contract to do 10 games this season.)

Richard Deitsch, a sports media writer for The Athletic, believes Week 3’s viewership number will be a “significant data point” and noted how the Mannings improved their performance from Week 1 to Week 2.

“The show wasn’t nearly as hot from the start — hot as in the Manning brothers and producers trying to do too much — and there was a smoothness for viewers right away,” he writes. “Peyton is proving — at least for me — that this alternative broadcast does not need a traditional host. He’s serving as the facilitator of the conversations and that seems to work.”

Week 3 of Monday Night Football will feature the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the Cowboys in Dallas at AT&T Stadium. Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli will air on ESPN2 while the traditional broadcast with Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry will air on ESPN. 

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