Monday Night Football has been the premiere showcase for the NFL since 1970. The run has been tremendous and successful as the ratings are always in the top ten. For instance, in 2004 Monday Night Football ranked 9th. Even with this success ABC is thinking about making some moves that could spell doom for the franchise.
Disney calls the shots now for ABC and ESPN and its thinking about switching Sunday night and Monday Night Football. Sunday night football is on ESPN right now, while Monday Night Football is on ABC. Disney’s idea is to switch the carriers. Move Monday Night Football to ESPN and Sunday night football to ABC.
This creates a couple of issues:
- Desperate Housewives: ABC’s first dramatic hit in years runs on Sunday nights and is the fourth highest rated program. Would ABC really allow this to happen?
- Cable. ESPN is cable only, so you’d be moving the showcase of the NFL to cable only.
Why would Disney be considering these moves? The first reason is to pressure the NFL for a break on rates. This is unlikely to happen. The second reason, and most important, is that ABC wants to find out how much the NFL values Monday Night Football.