ESPN's $14 Billion Eight-Year Extension With NFL Includes 3D
BRISTOL, CONN. and NEW YORK:“Monday Night Football” will remain on ESPN through
the 2021 NFL season under a new eight-year rights extension between the sports
network and the National Football League. The multiplatform agreement begins in
2014. It covers eight full seasons of “MNF” telecasts, expanded NFL studio programming,
highlight rights for TV and ESPN.com,
the Pro Bowl, the NFL Draft, enhanced international rights and distribution in
ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer and NFL Commissioner Roger
Goodell announced the extension, which has a reported value of between $14
billion and $15 billion.
ESPN’s extended NFL rights package will include telecast rights to 17 Monday Night
Football games per season for eight additional seasons--2014-21--and more than 500
new hours of NFL-branded studio programming per year, starting this week. ESPN’s
“Sunday NFL Countdown” pre-game show now expands to three hours, “NFL Live”
expands to one hour year-round, “Monday Night Countdown,” “NFL PrimeTime,” and
“NFL Matchup” will continue, and ESPN will create more NFL-branded studio programming,
including, “NFL 32” and “NFL Kickoff,” both debuting this week.
The TV and digital deal covers the Pro Bowl, the NFL Draft, simulcasting
“Monday Night Football” and the studio shows on tablet devices, and 3D
distribution, despite recent reports that the network would give
up on 3D.
Internationally, ESPN will make Monday Night Football and other regular season
games, playoffs and the Super Bowl available to 30 million homes in 144
countries and territories on five continents. Among them: Brazil, the Caribbean,
Africa, Middle East, Israel, Australia-New Zealand, and Continental Europe. The
agreement also provides the NFL with an option to air a postseason Wild Card playoff
game on ESPN should the NFL decide to do so. The deal includes continued Spanish-language
rights for “Monday Night Football” on ESPN Deportes.
Monday Night Football debuted in 1970. After a 36-year run on ABC, the series moved
to cable sister net ESPN in 2006 as part of an eight-year agreement. During the
past five seasons, Monday Night Football has become the most-watched series on
cable, registering eight of cable’s 10 all-time biggest household audiences and
16 of the top 20 (excluding breaking news), according to ESPN.
(Image of ESPN's Monday Night Football
from Dec. 8, 2009, in Charlotte, N.C., by Travis Bell courtesy of ESPN.)