ESPN Kicks Off 'Monday Night Football' Through 2021


ESPN has renewed perhaps the most valuable show on cable television: NFL's "Monday Night Football."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, other than announcing that the new pact runs for eight more years, through 2021. Sports Business Daily said the new package price tag comes to $1.8 billion a year, up from the $1.1 billion per year ESPN paid starting in 2006.

The longtime prime-time TV program, which started on ESPN sister network ABC in 1970, made the move to ESPN five years ago while the NFL also started up a broadcast-network "Sunday Night Football" package on NBC the same season. ESPN first had a regular-season game package of NFL games in 1987 with a cable-version of "Sunday Night Football."

Both TV sports programs continue to bring in big ratings and advertising dollars. ESPN's "Monday Night Football" can pull in $300,000 per 30-second commercial; NBC's "Sunday Night Football" is in the $400,000-plus range. Eight of the top 10 individual programs in cable history (taking out breaking news programming) have been NFL games on ESPN.



The agreement includes 17 "Monday Night Football" games a season through 2021, an additional 500 hours of new NFL-branded studio programming (beginning immediately), extra highlights on all platforms, coverage of the Pro Bowl and NFL draft, the ability to show Monday Night Football and NFL studio programming on the WatchESPN app.

It also embraces rights for ESPN Deportes and international networks, including regular season, playoff games and the Super Bowl in 144 countries.

"Today, we've secured cable's most valuable television franchise, along with an enhanced international package of year-round multimedia rights," stated ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer. "It will help grow our business well into the next decade."

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