Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump debate shatters ratings record, but still suffers against NFL

Even though Monday’s debate was the most watched in U.S. history, Donald Trump was right about at least one thing: never go head to head against the NFL on television. A whopping 80.9 million viewers tuned in across 12 channels to watch Trump and Clinton rumble at the first presidential debate of the 2016 campaign, according to Nielsen. But on ESPN, while “Monday Night Football” was still big and likely siphoned off a few million viewers from the debate — its typically stellar ratings were down by about a third, compared to last week. The record-shattering debate rating — which held steady for the duration of the 98-minute debate fell short of the buzzed about 100 million who were expected to tune in — but will grow when final numbers are released. The 80.9 million also does not include the millions of viewers who were watching on PBS and C-Span, which will not be released until late Tuesday. The rating also does not factor in an estimated 2.5 million people who streamed the debate on YouTube. With so several other live streams of the event — each major broadcast network offered their own the debates total reach will grow. It is already clear that Monday’s debate will ellipse the previous record holder, 1980s matchup between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan which was seen by an estimated 80.6 million on ABC, CBS and NBC. In terms of the modern era, the first 2012 matchup between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was… [Read full story]

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