ESPN extends Monday Night Football deal through 2021


ESPN will remain the home of Monday Night Football for at least another decade.

The NFL and ESPN have reached a new deal to keep Monday night games on ESPN through the 2021 season, reports.

The new contract will pay the NFL $1.8 billion a year, a 63 percent increase from the current deal. With 17 Monday night games a year, that works out to more than $105 million a game.

ESPN (and its network partner ABC) still will be kept out of the Super Bowl rotation on the new contract, although ESPN might get a wild-card playoff game at some point in the future. ESPN does get the rights to more highlights, which it will use to launch more highlight-themed studio shows. ESPN also gets the right to stream live games online.

It’s an enormous deal for ESPN, but it’s even bigger for the NFL, which was able to survive the lockout and show once again that it’s the single most valuable property in all of American television.

48 responses to “ESPN extends Monday Night Football deal through 2021

  1. It’s amazing to me that the Cowboys are worth about the same as what ESPN pays EACH YEAR to broadcast MNF.

  2. WTF more BSPN, Chris Berman & TJ for the next decade! Please I hope NFL network gets better..

  3. “ESPN also gets the right to stream live games online.”

    I hope ESPN won’t be the only option for live game streams though & I hope when ESPN offers this, they don’t bend people over with the pricing. As a Bears fan in Indy, I would pay to be able to watch the Bears in HD online when it’s not on TV here.

  4. @mshu

    Hopefully that will be part of ESPN3. It would be nice to have a reason to fire that up on the Xbox other than boredom.

  5. @ronko308

    According to the ESPN article, NFL Primetime comes on Monday afternoons at 3 pm and Tuesday mornings at 1 am ET. Strangely enough, nearly of which is prime time.

    There are also a bunch of new shows on ESPN, NFL Live will now be an hour long from 4-5, and NFL Sunday Countdown is now three hours long starting at 10 am.

  6. If the increase for the network deals follow suit, the players will have given up about 6% (salary cap from 128 million to 120 million), but will ultimately gain about 60% (assuming TV revenue is bulk of NFL revenue) by keeping the fans happy.

  7. “ESPN does get the rights to more highlights”

    SportsCenter will have to expand to 2 hours just to make room to show more NFL highlights. ESPN won’t cut down any of their NY Yankees, Red Sox, SEC football or Lebron James highlights.

    ESPN is CRAP! REAL Football fans watch the NFL Network.

  8. All this means is many, many, more commercials. There will be four hour games. $105m doesn’t include all the production costs. Probably another $10 – 15m per game.

  9. I can believe the cable bill hike. Americans love to watch NFL and will pay for it. Doubt the NFL will agree to prolong games with longer/more frequent commercial breaks. They know the longer time commitment would drive down viewership.

  10. Maybe they’ll finally get rid of the stupid “Are you ready for some football?” theme song, which is based on a song that was popular for about 30 seconds in a few hick states about 30 years ago.

  11. ESPN News is the worst sports channel on the air. Especially on the weekends. They just repeat the same 15 minute segments every 15 minutes.

  12. Hoping that the MNF games will indeed be on ESPN3. And that no one decides that if you don’t subscribe to cable in the first place, you can’t stream content.

    And hoping no one at the league lets any playoff games move to cable. The NFL remains the last holdout on making all playoff games available to everyone at no cost. I don’t look forward to the day this changes.

  13. “ESPN also gets the right to stream live games online.”

    Sweet!!! This almost certainly means that MNF will be available on their ESPN3 streaming service. I don’t have cable/satellite now, but I can already see all their college games this way. I hope it starts this season. Then I won’t be tempted to sign up for U-verse anymore…

  14. Oh, according to the New York Times: “The deal also let ESPN stream its N.F.L. programming to Verizon cellphones. ”

    Boooooooo. I want it on espn3, not on a cell phone. Especially since I have a different work-provided carrier, not Verizon.

  15. If they’re willing to cough up $1.8B per year, you’d think they could shell out a few more bucks and get some decent announcers.

  16. 105 million a game…….Lot of coin…………Hopefully they will throw hank williams jr. or sr…..Whoever the hell he is, into a river……

  17. And you geniuses are complaining about the players getting overpaid? They’re health and the shortening of their life expectancy isn’t worth much….. i guess. SMH

  18. No doubt that the Super Bowl should never be on cable, but why can’t they run it on ABC with ESPN branding?

    Seems like a lot of money to throw down without ever having a shot at the big prize.

  19. If the NFL had half a brain they would have paid less and kept the streaming option to themselves. Sigh. Having to deal with more middlemen like ESPN or Verizon or direcTV just increases the cost for those of us that want to watch online.

  20. sc5000 says:
    Sep 8, 2011 9:32 AM
    That kind of money and they still don’t get any SuperBowl love, that is pretty insane…


    The day the SB airs on cable in America is the same day the SB is no longer relevant. That automatically would cut the audience in half at best.

  21. maxvv says:

    “No doubt that the Super Bowl should never be on cable, but why can’t they run it on ABC with ESPN branding?”

    By all means, why not? I don’t watch a lot of other sports, but I have a vague recollection that “ABC Sports” has been replaced with “ESPN on NBC”

  22. UGH… just NOT needed. I absolutely LOATHE Mike Tirico and the bias on the part of Jaws, who otherwise calls a decent game — albeit with Bill Walton-esque hyperbole too frequently — becomes annoying after one quarter. I like Gruden, and it helps that he doesn’t hate the Giants, like seemingly everyone else who calls games.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I was spoiled by listening to Al Michaels and Frank Gifford, along with Dierdorf before he became a limpwrist, whiny nancy in the booth, and a Patriots shill (that Lions preseason game was further evidence of such), but I can’t stand Tirico. I HATE him.

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