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No more Monday Night Football?


CrookedThumb

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Monday Night Football will remain - not necessarily on ABC. One rumor is that Disney will keep MNF in the family and move it to ESPN. ABC loses tons of money on MNF, while ESPN has made a good profit on the Sunday Night package (advertising revenue + cable fees = $$). NBC could also get back into football by getting MNF, but they would have the same problem ABC has in that they would probably lose millions. If ESPN gets Monday Night Football, the NFL would auction off the Sunday Night package, which could easily become a Thursday Night package.

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ABC does not want to get rid of Monday Night Football or move it to cable. Why would the network want to lose the only respectable (in terms of ratings) programming it has?!

During the current season, ABC is solidly entrenched in fourth place among the broadcast networks ... a position it holds only because WB and UPN don't have enough affiliates reaching enough households to bring them up high enough.

For at least the past two years, MNF has been the only ABC prime-time programming to crack the top 25. CBS is a solid #1, with NBC and Fox battling for second not too far behind.

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It's annoying for me, especially because I live in Atlantic Canada. The games are late as hell.

I think ABC should adjust the start time of MNF based on where the game is played. If the game is in the eastern half of the US, the start time should be 8:00 eastern. If the game is in the western half of the US, the game would start at 9:00 eastern.

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Monday night Football will not be gone. If abc dumps it another network will pick it up. I doubt the NFL will let the monday games go to cable, and if ABC doesn't re up another network will. MNF made ABC, the NFL made Fox and let's remember how CBS was before regaining the NFL their ratings were horrible but when they got the NFL back it allowed them to have better promotion for their shows and now CBS is now the top network. IF ABC dumps MNF football another network (UPN, maybe WB) wil pick it up hopeing to have simular effects.

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ABC does not want to get rid of Monday Night Football or move it to cable. Why would the network want to lose the only respectable (in terms of ratings) programming it has?!

During the current season, ABC is solidly entrenched in fourth place among the broadcast networks ... a position it holds only because WB and UPN don't have enough affiliates reaching enough households to bring them up high enough.

For at least the past two years, MNF has been the only ABC prime-time programming to crack the top 25. CBS is a solid #1, with NBC and Fox battling for second not too far behind.

To quote the LA Times article Unimaniac linked to:

In recent years, though, the struggling Disney-owned network has been losing about $150 million annually on "Monday Night Football." ABC pays the National Football League $550 million a year for the rights to air the Monday matchups, but advertising revenue doesn't come close to covering the costs.

Now, with Disney executives under pressure to prove to Wall Street that they can reverse the fortunes of the fourth-place network and turn a profit by next year, they must decide whether the benefits of "Monday Night Football" outweigh the financial losses.

I don't think ABC can afford to lose it, either. Look at what happened to CBS when they lost the NFC contract to FOX.

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MNF is an institution. It's like the U.S.'s not-quite-as-historic version of HNIC.

Michaels and Madden are great. The only reason ABC is losing money on it is because they were that dumb to pay so much to host it.

The solution isn't to get rid of MNF, but to pay less for it.

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ABC has been talking about dropping MNF for 15 years now. Hasn't happened yet, but actually it could at just about any time. My prediction: an ABC/ESPN switch.

- ESPN gets Monday Night Football. Unlike ABC they can afford it thanks to the subscriber rates charged to cable/sat operators. ESPN would drop the Sunday night package, which would go to...

- ABC. Yep. ABC keeps the MNF crew (Michaels, Madden, et al) and simply moves the games to Sunday night. ABC pays a lower rights fee than for MNF, but still keeps a prime-time football presence on its network. It also frees up Monday nights for 'standard' programming, eliminating certain logistics hassles within the network.

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Moving Monday Night Football to an earlier time slot just doesn't make sense. With most large East Coast Cities and their traffic and commute time (NY, Bos and Washington I can personally vouch for, I don't know about Philly, Bal, Det etc) if someone leaves work at 5:30, by the time they fight through the commuter traffic, eats dinner and then sit down to watch the game there is almost no way they get all that in by 7:00 kickoff or even 8:00 kickoff.

From what I've been told almost every market in the Pacific Time Zone also tape delays the games until 9:00 local time, so if those affiliates have always had the choice of showing the games live at 6:00 or tape delayed an hour, two or three and they still pick 9:00 there must be plenty of people willing to make the commitment to staying up to midnight.

Is it sad that my 12 year old can't stay up and watch a whole game on Mondays? sure, but someone's favorite team will play a max of 3 times on a Monday Night. There are at least 100 Yankees baseball games in each season that go too late for a young fan to watch in it's entirety. At least the NFL starts the Superbowl at 6:30 (granted with extended halftime crap it runs until about 11:00), better than every World Series game starting at 8:00 or 8:30 and not ending till midnight.

ABC tried 8:00 start times a few years back, not well recieved. Leave Monday Night at 9:00. Move it to ESPN if it makes more sence for Disney/ABC but don't move the time because a small majority can't afford to miss an hour or so of "beauty sleep"

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