There are rumblings that, for the first time in over a decade, the lone American broadcast network that doesn’t regularly broadcast the National Football League could be getting back into the game.
According to Awful Announcing (via Sports Business Journal), the NFL could be on the verge of returning to ABC as a part of the league’s next television deal.
According to the Sports Business Journal, ESPN wants a lot of things in its next TV deal with the NFL – most notably, better games and a slot in the Super Bowl rotation. But the NFL won’t let the Super Bowl go to cable (for obvious reasons), meaning that to get into the rotation, ESPN will need to dangle the broadcast network in Disney’s vast portfolio of networks, which is ABC.
As most of us can remember, ABC was the original home of Monday Night Football from its inception in 1970 until 2005. The Monday night games moved over to ESPN in 2006, and since then ABC has been relegated to just a playoff game or two in the earlier rounds of the NFL playoffs with the ESPN announcing crew calling the action.
From what the Awful Announcing article says, the Monday Night Football schedule is seen by ESPN as substandard because it’s relegated to cable, and that by moving it to a broadcast network they could, potentially, get better games on the Monday night schedule. (It also says that ESPN wants to get into the Super Bowl rotation, but there’s pretty much no chance that the league lets the game go to cable.) If the result of this is the Monday Night schedule getting a significant upgrade, frankly I’m all for it.
There’s no time frame given for the changes to potentially take place, but the Awful Announcing article hints that we could start seeing Monday Night Football back on ABC as early as this season. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on going forward.