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NFL Broadcast Shuffle - NBC In, ABC Out

Football returns to NBC in 2006, while Monday Night Football moves to ESPN, leaving ABC as the only major network without an NFL package.

NEW YORK (AP) - "Monday Night Football," a television institution that over 35 years has helped transform the NFL into a prime-time ratings draw, is leaving ABC and moving to ESPN beginning with the 2006 season.

The new broadcast deal also brings the NFL to NBC for the first time since 1997. The network gets Sunday night football - which the league now considers its marquee television showcase - and will employ a flexible scheduling model.

"In the current media environment, Sunday is now the better night for our prime-time broadcast package," commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Monday.

With this deal Disney, which owns ABC and ESPN pays twice as much ($1.1 billion a year) for the Monday night deal it is now paying, while moving the games onto it's marquee cable sports channel. Surely there is some logic for paying twice the going rate for the opportunity to have games seen by fewer people. I suspect that the logic is that ESPN will be attempting to pass a large part of that bill off to cable system operators, since it's unlikely any of them could seriously balk ESPN's price hike and drop the home of Monday Night Football from their lineups.


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Comments (5)

Wouldn't it be cool if some... (Below threshold)

Wouldn't it be cool if some cable company DID refuse to pay for football? :-)

Wouldn't hurt me much if th... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Wouldn't hurt me much if they did.

About the only sports I watch is NASCAR-so I would be just fine.

If cable systems ever thoug... (Below threshold)

If cable systems ever thought about getting rid of ESPN, they'd have a nationwide revolt. So ESPN's pretty much got the cable systems by the balls.

I watch pro sports on TV li... (Below threshold)

I watch pro sports on TV like a lot of people attend church or play the lottery -- only when the stakes are really high.

Until ESPN gets the Super Bowl, this move won't affect my viewing habits at all.

The move makes perfect sens... (Below threshold)

The move makes perfect sense from a dollars-and-cents perspective.

ESPN will now have MNF and its concentrated viewership in which to narrowcast the advo.

ABC will have an additional night of primetime in which to play reruns of "Lost" or "Alias" or to dredge up some other blonde skank and a bunch of doofuses (doofi?) for an "All-New The Bachelorette!", with THAT program's concentrated viewership for the advo.

No self-respecting football fan is not going to have access to ESPN in some fashion, and home-market games will go over-air anyway (probably on the ABC or FOX affiliate), so it's no major loss to the Arbitron numbers.

If anything, they will improve on both programming units.






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