The Walt Disney Company and the NFL have reached a five year rights agreement for ESPN to present the Monday night Wild Card game beginning with the 2021 season and continuing through the 2025 season, announced today by Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content, at the CAA World Congress of Sports.
The inaugural Monday night NFL Wild Card game will be played on January 17, 2022, (8:15 p.m. ET), marking the grand finale of the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend and the first scheduled weekday prime time NFL Playoff game.
To launch the new initiative, ESPN’s MegaCast production will provide fans multiple ways to watch. ABC and ESPN will air the traditional telecast with Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry on the call. On ESPN2 and ESPN+, Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli will be available and ESPN Deportes will air the Spanish-language telecast. Additional MegaCast production offerings will be announced at a later date.
The Monday Night Wild Card game will be streamed across devices on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ABC and NFL digital properties, and on mobile via Yahoo Sports and the mobile properties of the two participating teams.
The 2021 season’s Wild Card game will be ESPN’s eighth NFL Playoff game, having begun airing an annual Wild Card game following the 2014 regular season. Beginning in the 2023 NFL Season, ESPN will add an NFL Divisional round game to its postseason slate, while continuing to air its existing Wild Card game. In the regular season, Monday Night Football has aired on ESPN since 2006 and beginning this season, ESPN and ABC will air a Week 18 doubleheader (January 8, 2022) to conclude its regular season coverage.
Monday Night Football viewership is averaging 14 million viewers through the first five weeks of the NFL season (five games), up 20% from both the 2020 and 2019 seasons through five weeks (six games).