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macro
04-19-2005, 01:26 PM
There's change in the air for NFL fans...


In the last seven weeks, the league will be able to shift afternoon games to prime time to ensure more meaningful games are shown on national TV. There also will be a time switch on ESPN's games, with an earlier start time of 8:40 p.m. eastern.

Two very good changes. MNF should start just after 8:00pm Eastern, in my opinion, but folks on the west coast wouldn't like the game starting at 5:00pm their time. The 8:40pm kickoff is a good compromise, I think.


The commissioner still hopes to sell a package of eight late-season Thursday night/Saturday night games, although those telecasts could wind up on the NFL Network, one of Tagliabue's pet projects.

Bad news for people who don't have the NFL Network, although I suspect if games get moved there, every cable company in the country would pick it up.

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'Monday Night Football' Leaving ABC for ESPN in the 2006 Season

By BARRY WILNER

The Associated Press



Apr. 19, 2005 - Are you ready for some football? On ESPN? And NBC?

But not ABC.

"Monday Night Football," which 35 years ago was one of the biggest gambles in television history and then became the backbone of ABC's revival, is headed to cable. ESPN, which like ABC is owned by The Disney Company, will take over, beginning with the 2006 season, what has been a TV institution and made the NFL a prime-time ratings draw.

It will cost ESPN $1.1 billion a year over eight years, two sources familiar with the deals told The Associated Press on Monday, on condition of anonymity.

NBC, meanwhile, gets back into the NFL picture with a six-year deal to take over the Sunday night telecasts previously owned by ESPN. NBC lost the AFC Sunday afternoon package to CBS after the 1997 season.

"When the deal concluded with a handshake on Saturday," said NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, "I walked up Park Avenue to my apartment and spent most of the time remembering most of the beginnings on ABC. I was Roone Arledge's assistant and I was the only one he would allow to come into the meetings with Pete Rozelle for the first prime-time package, when Roone was trying to sell Pete on why it would work.

"In my happiness that the prime-time broadcast is moving to NBC, I couldn't help but think how sad Roone would be at this point."

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue emphasized that the marquee television series, at least according to the league, will be the Sunday night package, for which NBC is paying $600 million a year, according to the sources.

"In the current media environment, Sunday is now the better night for our prime-time broadcast package," Tagliabue said Monday.

Also, the NFL's hopes for a more flexible prime-time schedule will be realized with the new agreements.

NBC will start its Sunday broadcasts with a pregame show at 7 p.m. eastern; games will begin at 8:15. In the last seven weeks, the league will be able to shift afternoon games to prime time to ensure more meaningful games are shown on national TV.

There also will be a time switch on ESPN's games, with an earlier start time of 8:40 p.m. eastern.

"The earlier kickoff times for both packages, NBC's Sunday night programming devoted to the NFL and flexible scheduling for Sunday night are all positive changes," Tagliabue said.

The commissioner still hopes to sell a package of eight late-season Thursday night/Saturday night games, although those telecasts could wind up on the NFL Network, one of Tagliabue's pet projects.

With the move of Monday night games to cable, a tradition will be altered, if not ended. After all, "Monday Night Football" has been a pillar of ABC's programming since it began in 1970, when Howard Cosell anchored the show that now stands as the second-longest running prime time network series, trailing CBS's 60 Minutes by two years.

"The turning point at ABC was when Roone Arledge moved sports to prime time and with that deal it happened for the first time," Ebersol recalled. "That was all him, and it was the reason why ABC moved up from third place."

After the coming season, however, ABC will be the only major network not carrying the NFL.

NBC also gets two first-round playoff games and the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2012 as part of the deal.

"A great deal with the NFL is the best deal you can get in television," Ebersol said.

ESPN said it had been assured by the league that it would get high-quality games.

"ESPN could have stayed on Sunday night," ESPN vice president Mark Shapiro said. "Unequivocally, our task was to continue ABC's tradition of Monday Night Football. We've been assured we're getting the preferred schedule."

Added George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports: "From the Disney perspective, it was a smart move for ABC by moving out of football and having ESPN move into Monday nights."

NBC has been struggling in prime time this season, and even risks an unprecedented fall into fourth place in the ratings. ABC's newfound ratings strength with "Desperate Housewives" on Sunday nights has been particularly damaging.

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

The NFL will continue to show all cable games on free, over-the air television in home markets. So local stations will carry ESPN's Monday night games in the cities of the teams involved.

traderumor
04-19-2005, 03:01 PM
Please tell me ESPN will use a different broadcast team, cause I can't stand McGuire and Theismann

zombie-a-go-go
04-19-2005, 03:13 PM
In the last seven weeks, the league will be able to shift afternoon games to prime time to ensure more meaningful games are shown on national TV.

So if you, say, buy tickets for a day-scheduled game in Week 10 and the league suddenly switches it to a night game, will they refund your tickets if you can't go because of the time switch?

Doubt it. :thumbdown

KronoRed
04-19-2005, 03:17 PM
Please tell me ESPN will use a different broadcast team, cause I can't stand McGuire and Theismann
I'd guess they will stick with Madden/Michaels

Roy Tucker
04-19-2005, 03:21 PM
The NFL can thank Homer Jones and Billy Andrews.

bucksfan
04-19-2005, 04:12 PM
Please tell me ESPN will use a different broadcast team, cause I can't stand McGuire and Theismann

I could not possibly agree with you more.

macro
04-19-2005, 04:14 PM
So if you, say, buy tickets for a day-scheduled game in Week 10 and the league suddenly switches it to a night game, will they refund your tickets if you can't go because of the time switch?

Doubt it. :thumbdown

As you know, they do it in MLB already, zombie, by moving Saturday night games to afternoon so that FOX can broadcast them. I don't disagree that this can easily cause hardships for people, though, and I'm sure many tickets have been eaten because of it.

I'd say they will make the announcement of what the Sunday night game is going to be 1.5 to 2 weeks ahead-of-time. That might give folks enough time to sell their tickets, but I would be upset if I were placed in that situation.

gm
04-19-2005, 04:28 PM
Please tell me ESPN will use a different broadcast team, cause I can't stand McGuire and Theismann

Ditto. If I never hear those two call a NFL game again, it will be too soon.

<MUTE>

traderumor
04-19-2005, 04:29 PM
So if you, say, buy tickets for a day-scheduled game in Week 10 and the league suddenly switches it to a night game, will they refund your tickets if you can't go because of the time switch?

Doubt it. :thumbdownThat is a downside, but ABC has to feel screwed since they have been asking for that option for quite awhile and is one reason MNF was losing its appeal with the dog games late in the season due to things not working out as planned for the scheduled teams.

Blimpie
04-19-2005, 04:42 PM
Please tell me ESPN will use a different broadcast team, cause I can't stand McGuire and TheismannI always found myself watching this crew because the Sunday night games were such great matchups (last season). While, I agree with you on ThEEEEEEsman & McGuire, I DO like Mike Patrick a whole bunch. Those few weeks early last season when they had to dust off that relic Pat Summerall (as Patrick's stand-in)were absolutely painful....

BuckeyeRed27
04-19-2005, 07:46 PM
So does this mean Bob Costas will be doing Sunday night games?

Reds Fanatic
04-19-2005, 07:49 PM
So if you, say, buy tickets for a day-scheduled game in Week 10 and the league suddenly switches it to a night game, will they refund your tickets if you can't go because of the time switch?

Doubt it. :thumbdown

I have a feeling that with both Monday night and Sunday night being decided later in the season that games from week 10 on will not have their times announced at the beginning of the season. I think a few weeks before the games the Sunday and Monday night games will be picked and then the rest of the schedule will be announced for those weeks.

Reds Fanatic
04-19-2005, 07:50 PM
So does this mean Bob Costas will be doing Sunday night games?
I think Costas will either do play by play or he might be the host of the one hour pregame show they will have each week.

traderumor
04-20-2005, 05:21 PM
Maybe they'll bring back OJ Simpson as a sideline reporter? :eek:

macro
04-20-2005, 11:23 PM
Maybe they'll bring back OJ Simpson as a sideline reporter? :eek:

He can't. He's still looking for the real...oh, never mind.