ESPN's "Monday Night Football" recorded its lowest ratings of the season despite a close game between the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings and the premiere of the highly anticipated "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" trailer during halftime.
According to preliminary ratings provided by Nielsen Media Research, the Vikings' 20-17 victory in Chicago was down 17 percent from last week's last-minute 29-20 victory by the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs over the Washington Redskins.
The day before, NBC's "Sunday Night Football" also hit a season-low for the matchup between the Chiefs and Houston Texans, with a relatively small 11.9 million viewers tuning in among adults in the 18–49 demographic that advertisers covet most.
The ratings come as President Trump has entered into a public feud with the NFL and ESPN.
Earlier Monday, the sports giant suspended SportsCenter host Jemele Hill after she called on fans to boycott advertisers of the Dallas Cowboys.
This play always work. Change happens when advertisers are impacted. If you feel strongly about JJ's statement, boycott his advertisers. https://t.co/LFXJ9YQe74— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 9, 2017
The suspension drew the attention of Trump, whom Hill called called a "white supremacist" last month in a series of tweets condemning him and his inner circle.
With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have "tanked," in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
While the game was close, the Bears and Vikings do not typically draw the ratings that the New York teams and other national-interest teams like the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers do. The game also had to compete with the MLB playoffs matchup between the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees.