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Basketball - 14 Oct 2021
ESPN, the US media giant owned by Disney, has secured domestic coverage rights to the Monday Wild Card playoff game from American football’s NFL, for the next five years.
The broadcaster, it announced yesterday, will cover the league’s first scheduled weekday playoff game in prime-time, on 17 January next year, with the rights deal running until 2026.
ESPN already covers the regular-season NFL games on Mondays (MNF) and has done since 2006, so this deal represents the addition of a supplementary set of rights.
As well as being shown on ESPN’s linear channels, the Monday playoff game will also be streamed on the Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s sister network ABC and the NFL’s own digital and social media platforms.
The NFL first announced last month that it would include a Monday game during the 2022 post-season’s opening round – for the first time ever. It will be the sixth contest of the Super Wild Card Weekend, which was first brought in last year after the league expanded to a 14-team playoff system.
The Monday game will be the finale of the Wild Card Weekend. Two games will take place on Saturday 15 January, three on Sunday 16 and the last one on Monday.
For the other five encounters, aside from the Monday game, national networks CBS and NBC will air two each, with rival Fox to show the other.
In terms of the NFL’s regular-season domestic rights agreements, ESPN/ABC shares live game rights with CBS, Fox, NBC and internet giant Amazon, with the current arrangement running until the end of the 2033 campaign.
ESPN, through its international network, also covers the league in Australia, Latin America and New Zealand.