Disney Gets Monday Night NFL Wild Card Game for ESPN, ABC

Monday Night Football on ESPN
ESPN already holds rights to regular season 'Monday Night Football' games. (Image credit: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

The Walt Disney Co. and the National Football League reached a five-year deal that will put a new Monday night wild card playoff game on ESPN and ABC, starting at the end of this year’s regular season.

The Disney networks plan to use the game as part of a megacast that will include a simulcast on ESPN and ABC, with Peyton and Eli Manning hosting their popular alternative telecast on ESPN2 and ESPN Plus.

ESPN Deportes will have a Spanish-language telecast and other productions are in the works, Disney said. One possibility is a kids-oriented telecast.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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The deal follows the NFL reaching new long-term agreements worth $100 billion for Disney, Fox, Comcast NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and Amazon Prime Video to telecast professional football over the next decade.

Still to be decided is the future home of the NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market game package now with DirecTV.

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The new Monday Night Wild Card playoff game will be the capper on what the league is calling Super Wild Card Weekend.

Super Wild Card Weekend will have two games on Saturday, three on Sunday and one on Monday night.

For this season, CBS and NBC will each broadcast two wild card games, while Fox and ESPN/ABC will have one.

ESPN‘s Monday Night Football viewership is averaging 14 million viewers through the first five weeks of the NFL season, up 20% from both the 2020 and 2019 seasons through five weeks.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.