Yesterday saw the news of ABC losing Monday night. I guess losing is the wrong choice of words. A better word would be moved since Disney owns both ABC and ESPN.
If you can follow along ABC is moving Monday night football to ESPN. ESPN is a pay only network and it not shown over the air.
ESPN gave up Sunday night football, which is now moving to NBC. This is the first time NBC will have NFL football since they gave it up six years ago.
So here’s the net result:
- ESPN loses Sunday night football.
- ABC loses Monday night football.
- NBC gains Sunday night football.
- ESPN gains Monday night football.
It’s a sad day for sports fans as ABC’s Monday Night Football reaches the end of a 35 year run.
ABC’s Monday Night Football wasn’t a ratings dwarf. Last year it ended up the ninth highest rated during the year, but ABC was losing over $100 million a year on the deal.
ABC lost a ton of momentum by not embracing the new way of commenting and watching football as Fox Sports has done in the last decade.
The deal also has the following:
- NBC gets the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2012.
- Flexible scheduling is coming. This means that a team’s schedule can change towards the end of the year to push marquee matchups to prime time.
- Monday night local home games will be shown on over the air. So if your team is on Monday night and you don’t have ESPN you’ll still be able to watch the team.
Will this move work for the NFL? In the short term the definitive answer is YES! They receive more money. In the long term I don’t think so. The ESPN team doesn’t do as good of a job on football games as ABC, CBS or Fox do. The limited coverage across America means that those fans without cable or satellite won’t be able to watch their teams play.