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Old 04-18-2005, 05:41 PM   #1
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Default Monday Night Football Moving to ESPN

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By DAVE GOLDBERG, AP Football Writer

The NFL's "Monday Night Football," a staple on ABC for the past 35 seasons, will move to ESPN starting with the 2006 season.

And NBC is returning to the NFL after six years away by taking the Sunday night broadcast previously on ESPN.

The Monday night move from network TV to basic cable, hinted at continually by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, was confirmed Monday by two sources familiar with the deals who spoke to The Associated Press under condition of anonymity. The sources said the league is expected to get $1.1 billion over eight years from the network.

NBC will get the Sunday night package for $600 million over six years, according to the sources. The network will also get the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2012 as part of the deal, one of the sources said.

The moves leave ABC which originated "Monday Night Football" in 1970 as the only major network without NFL football.

ABC and ESPN are both subsidiaries of the Walt Disney Co. The deal with ESPN, which currently carries games every Sunday night and sometimes on Thursday, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Last month, Tagliabue said during the NFL meetings in Hawaii that the Monday night move was a strong possibility. ABC, which has been losing money on the package despite high ratings, had been balking at the NFL's asking price.

CBS and Fox already have agreed to pay a total of $8 billion over six years for the Sunday AFC and NFC rights.

That has become more pressing since parity caused by the salary cap has resulted in teams moving up and down the standings annually, leaving bad teams that were strong the previous season in prime time and good teams that were bad the past season off of it.

The NFL is still considering separate packages for Thursday and late-season Saturday nights.
WOW!!!

So ESPN has MNF and NBC has the Sunday game. That leaves room on ABC for another reality show I guess?!??!
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Old 04-18-2005, 06:16 PM   #2
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Well, if the rumor mill has any truth to it on this one the sticking point with ABC came when the NFL said they wanted Sunday Night games to be on network TV and move Monday's to cable. ABC balked at this idea due to Sunday Night's being one of their stronger nights for original programming.
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Old 04-18-2005, 06:41 PM   #3
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Wow. This is big. What is it, 30 some years straight for ABC and Monday Night football?

Another thing I'm wondering: With Sunday nights coming to network TV, does that mean the premiere matchups will be on "SNF" and the slightly lower-tiered games will be on MNF in something of a role reversal?
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Old 04-19-2005, 12:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by KevinBeane


Another thing I'm wondering: With Sunday nights coming to network TV, does that mean the premiere matchups will be on "SNF" and the slightly lower-tiered games will be on MNF in something of a role reversal?
I doubt it considering how much more money ESPN is paying over what the NBC deal is.
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:07 AM   #5
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This is the first big change since 1997, when CBS took over the AFC from NBC, four years after having lost the NFC to Fox.

But if there is a new package for Thursday and Saturday nights that means more nationally-televised games, and then even less of a reason not to guarantee every team at least one national TV appearance.

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Old 04-19-2005, 10:30 AM   #6
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The big question here, of course, is whether we will get to enjoy the evening matchups with a better set of commentators
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Old 04-19-2005, 02:26 PM   #7
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Yeah, it'll be strange for MNF to be off of ABC, but I don't think it really matters so long as Al Michaels still calls the games. I don't know if I can take anymore Paul Maguire/Joe Theismann "analysis."
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Old 04-19-2005, 03:26 PM   #8
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Really, It's a no brainer for ABC. Viewing numbers were dropping every year and now they can compete against the other networks in that time slot with a drama or sitcom and Disney still keep the rights to the game with ESPN.
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Old 04-19-2005, 03:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pimpbot
Really, It's a no brainer for ABC. Viewing numbers were dropping every year and now they can compete against the other networks in that time slot with a drama or sitcom and Disney still keep the rights to the game with ESPN.
But surely they were still winning their time slot? I think they were winning their time slot....just not by a huge enough margin to justify what they were paying for rights.
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Old 04-19-2005, 04:05 PM   #10
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I hate to see ABC lose it because of the tradition, but most everyone has cable or satellte these days, so it shouldn't be a big problem. I hope they keep the same broadcasting team for MNF. I can barely remember football on NBC in fact, I don't remember it at all. I was 11 the last year it was on, that's why. But I do remember the NBA on NBC vividly.
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Old 04-19-2005, 06:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by #99
Yeah, it'll be strange for MNF to be off of ABC, but I don't think it really matters so long as Al Michaels still calls the games. I don't know if I can take anymore Paul Maguire/Joe Theismann "analysis."
You won't have to worry about Maguire and Joe T. calling the games on ESPN. You don't actually think that with it's new integrated marketing relationship with EA Sports that Madden is going anywhere do you? Madden will remain on ESPN doing MNF it is just a matter of whether Micheals is willing to 'slum' on ESPN. Either way we will get a pairing of Mike Patrick, whom I like more than Micheals these days anyway, and John Madden.

MNF was still a top ten ratings draw on TV for ABC, but, they were losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the deal so it made sense for them to let it go.

From what I have heard on the radio today Tagliabue has come out and said the Sunday Night game is intended to replace MNF as the 'game of the week' and will utilize a flexible schedule where the league will select the week's best matchups after the season is under way to ensure a premiere matchup.
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Old 04-19-2005, 06:46 PM   #12
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I like ESPN's game coverage. We get it via its Canadian partner TSN. Interesting though that TSN shows WWE RAW on Monday nights and is now not sure where it stands as far as showing MNF.

I mean TSN WILL show MNF but they're not sure legaly where they stand with Vinny Mac if they dump Raw.
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Old 04-20-2005, 02:59 AM   #13
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Both the Sunday night and Monday night games will also start earlier beginning in 2006 - a development that will not sit well with many viewers on the West Coast, whose opposition to MNF's 8:00 ET start experiment in 1988 caused the NFL to drop it after that one year.
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Old 04-20-2005, 08:32 AM   #14
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Earlier start is great news for me in the midwest, even better news i'd say for the east coasters. I get up at 6am, i don't enjoy staying up until ~11:15 for the games. Are you sure about this, or is it a rumor?
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by KevinBeane
But surely they were still winning their time slot? I think they were winning their time slot....just not by a huge enough margin to justify what they were paying for rights.
On the radio this morning, I heard that ABC lost 300 million dollars through MNF last year.
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