ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” TV issues continued this week, with the community struggling its lowest-ever in a single day rankings for Week 2. If “MNF” continues to slip as a TV property, the query arises whether or not ESPN ought to heed Wall Street’s recommendation and pursue different NFL TV packages down the highway.
ESPN’s telecast of the Bears’ 24-17 win over the Seahawks drew an 8.2 in a single day TV rating, in line with Nielsen. That’s down 5.7 % from the 8.7 in a single day for Giants vs. Lions throughout Week 2 final season. It was the bottom Week 2 in a single day ever for ESPN, Austin Karp of SportsEnterprise Daily reported.
Monday’s numbers continued a troubling pattern for “Monday Night Football.” Overnights for ESPN’s Week 1 doubleheader of Jets-Lions (7.5) and Raiders-Rams (7.0) have been “historically low,” SBD’s Karp reported.
During the 2017 common season, ESPN’s Monday evening games averaged a record-low 10.Eight million viewers, according to SBD. That was down 6 % from the earlier season. Meanwhile, NBC Sports’ “Sunday Night Football” ranked because the No. 1 prime time show in all of TV for the ninth straight year.
Bears’ 24-17 win over the Seahawks final evening marked lowest Week 2 “MNF” in a single day rating but for ESPN (8.2). Previous low was 8.three for Eagles-Bears in 2016. Had Emmys competitors final evening, however that additionally hit new low at 7.four in a single day on NBC
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) September 18, 2018
ESPN has completed as a lot it might probably to spice up “Monday Night Football,” hiring the new 2018 broadcast team of Jason Witten, Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters, then including bells and whistles such because the shifting “Boogermobile” crane that offers McFarland a greater view of the sector. But what ESPN realy must return “MNF” to its glory days is just not new announcers however higher game match-ups and versatile scheduling. Right now, these benefits lie with rival NBC.
ESPN pays $1.9 billion yearly for the rights to “Monday Night Football.” That’s practically twice what NBC pays for “Sunday Night Football.” But the league treats “SNF” as its premiere prime-time package deal, giving it the most effective game schedules and the only proper to “flex” in higher matchups from ESPN, Fox and CBS. If ESPN will get caught with weak games, it has no selection however to smile and bear it. Plus, ESPN would not get the rights to a Super Bowl, not like the league’s different TV companions.
That’s why some Wall Street analysts suppose ESPN ought to minimize “Monday Night Football” unfastened through the subsequent round of rights negotiations and go laborious after NBC’s superior Sunday evening package deal (NBC’s contract for “SNF” expires after the 2022 season). A research report by MoffettNathanson referred to as ESPN’s current Monday evening contract a “rotten deal” financially, famous John Ourand of SportsEnterprise Journal. Said the report:
“One of the more interesting theories that we still think has a higher probability of playing out is if Disney instead targets the more valuable, but lower-priced Sunday Night Football package, currently at NBC. We believe Disney should reclaim the Sunday primetime package by paying a significant premium to the existing costs. Even if they pay $900 million more per year, it is a better economic outcome than keeping MNF.”
Wall Street’s not the one entity questioning the monetary viability of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” deal. Sports media insider James Andrew Miller speculated that ESPN could abandon dwell NFL game rights in favor of a cheaper highlights package deal after the 2021 season. Why pay by the nostril for a Monday evening package deal, requested Miller, when at the moment’s “Monday Night Football” is a pale shadow of ABC’s outdated model with John Madden and Al Michaels? Much much less the unique Monday evening crew of Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford? As Miller wrote:
When ESPN agreed to pay $15.2 billion for its current Monday Night Football deal, a few of its key executives believed they have been shopping for the schedule of the earlier MNF package deal, i.e., as a rule, the most effective game or not less than one of many high games of the week. But Sunday Night Football acquired that pedigree, and Fox and CBS games since then have additionally typically been extra fascinating than ESPN’s matchups. With the arrival of Thursday Night Football a number of years in the past, ESPN’s Monday evening schedule has been additional diluted of high quality matchups, and the community hasn’t been shy about voicing dissatisfaction.
New ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro has maintained that he desires to enhance the community’s troubled relationship with the NFL. Like multiple execs at Disney, Pitaro realizes ESPN did not actually get on the map till it landed a partial Sunday evening NFL game package deal in 1987. With opponents such as Turner Sports and Amazon ready within the wings for “Monday Night Football,” ESPN could call an audible and return to Sunday Night Football.