When FOX purchased the rights to Thursday Night Football, FOX got one other thing. But not two.
The draft landed on FOX, to the obvious chagrin of ESPN. The wild-card game currently televised by ESPN won’t be heading to FOX, to the obvious delight of ESPN.
John Ourand of SportsBusiness Daily reports that the NFL has decided to keep the playoff game on ESPN, at least for the 2018 season. The game also will be simulcast by ABC, which like ESPN is owned by Disney.
The league has the right on an annual basis to move the wild-card game away from ESPN. Per Ourand, the relationship between the NFL and ESPN under former president John Skipper had deteriorated to the point where the league was prepared to move the game to FOX. Efforts under new ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro have been made to repair the relationship, and it has worked so far.
ESPN currently pays $100 million for the right to televised wild-card game.