ESPN paid a hefty price to land the Joe Buck and Troy Aikman booths on its high-priced “Monday Night Football.” After a week, the returns look good.

Monday night’s game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks is ESPN’s most-watched MNF game since 2009 and the third-best regular season game since taking over the reigns from ABC in 2006. The network announced Tuesday.

Between ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes, 19,845,000 viewers tuned in for the game.

The other two regular season games to see more viewers were both in 2009, when 21.8 million tuned in for the Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers game (Brett Favre returned to Green Bay) and 21.4 million for the 10-0 New Orleans Saints. They face off against the New England Patriots. Last season’s Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game drew 20.2 million more viewers.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17: ESPN's Troy Aikman and Joe Buck attend the 2022 ABC Disney Upfront at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street on May 17, 2022 in New York City.  (Photo by Arturo Holmes/WireImage)

ESPN landed Troy Aikman and Joe Buck some big money last season. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/WireImage)

ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ opener had help from more than Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

All of that is very encouraging for ESPN, which awarded Aikman and Book. A total of 165 million dollars was reported To jump from Fox Sports. Of course, the ratings win isn’t just a couple, as the game itself clearly showed in Russell Wilson’s Week 1 return to Seattle in a blockbuster trade last season.

The highly anticipated game ended in drama and controversy (two of ESPN’s favorite words) for new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Instead of going for it on fourth-and-5, he made the confusing decision to attempt a 64-yard field goal. Kicker Brandon McManus, who had never made a field goal longer than 61 yards in his career, missed the left tackle.

After a whole night of criticism. Hackett admitted on Tuesday that he “really” had to go.

Also helping that number was ESPN2’s “Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli,” which drew 1,502,000 viewers, an 86 percent increase over last year’s Week 1 debut.

ESPN will try to build on that momentum next week with a “Monday Night Football” double bill, featuring Buck and Aikman in the Minnesota Vikings-Philadelphia Eagles game at 8:30 pm ET on ABC and last year’s Steve Levy, Dan Orlowski crew. , Louie Riddick’s Tennessee Titans-Buffalo Bills game at 7:15 pm ET on ESPN.

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