ESPN wanted better ‘Monday Night Football’ games. Did it get them?
Of the 17 Monday Night Football games played on ESPN in 2016, just two featured teams that would both go on to make the playoffs. NBC’s Sunday Night Football package, meanwhile, got five such games thanks in part to the network’s league-awarded ability to flex out less-appealing contests for more meaningful matchups.
This is the part where we’ll remind everyone that ESPN’s deal with the NFL has been a disaster, comparatively: In exchange for $1.9 billion annually, the network gets the set-in-stone Monday Night Football matchups, one playoff game (usually the least appealing of the wild-card matchups), no Super Bowls, the right to show highlights and the draft (for which it competes for viewers with the NFL Network).
ESPN has an expansive multimedia rights agreement with the NFL that includes Monday Night Football games as well as year-round NFL studio programs, digital, international and other rights, Bill Hofheimer, ESPN’s senior director of communications, said in a statement emailed to The Post.
Although he did not name Commissioner Roger Goodell by name, Schnatter said that the practice of players kneeling during the anthem to raise awareness of police brutality and social injustice could have been stopped back when Colin Kaepernick began doing it during preseason games in the summer of 2016. Instead, players continued to do so in response to violence across the country and President Trump ramped up the conversation, calling for NFL owners to fire any son of a bitch who did not stand for the anthem.
Papa John’s president and chief operating officer Steve Ritchie said Wednesday (via ESPN) that his company has been the most recognized NFL sponsor for the past two years, suggesting that its success is linked to that of the league. He said that he expects the earnings decline for Papa John’s to persist until a solution is put in place by the NFL for its player protests.