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Rams, Cardinals Deliver Biggest Monday Night Football Audience Of 2021

The franchise is now averaging 13,389,000 viewers season-to-date, up 11% from 2020 and 6% from 2019.

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Monday Night Football on ESPN has been extremely successful to date this year, and this past week’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams was no exception.

The game delivered nearly 15.9 million viewers across ESPN Networks (ESPN, ABC, ESPN Deportes), as the franchise continues to drive a successful 2021 campaign.

The 15,895,000 viewers on ESPN and ABC represent MNF’s best audience since the season opener this season and its second best audience in 27 games, dating back to Week 3 of the 2020 season.

The game was the best Week 14 numbers since 2014, and the second best in the ESPN era (2006 – present).  The audience represents an increase of 23% and 35% from 2020 respectively. Similar to Week 14, Monday Night Football aired nationally on both ESPN and ABC twice in December of 2020, and this season’s Rams-Cardinals game topped both of those audiences.

In back-to-back weeks, ESPN’s Monday Night Football has delivered two of its three largest audiences. Week 13’s New England-Buffalo matchup delivered 15 million viewers. 

The franchise is now averaging 13,389,000 viewers season-to-date, up 11% from 2020 and 6% from 2019.

The broadcast was the most-watched telecast of the night among key demos: Men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 as well as persons 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 on ESPN.

We will see if ESPN can continue to build on these solid ratings this season with a matchup next week between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears.

Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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Return of Bob Iger Puts Pac-12 ‘Not Exactly In A Great Place’

“I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12.”

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The Pac-12 is currently in a media rights negotiation with partners for its next TV deal after the departure of USC and UCLA. The conference has remained committed to the stance that it feels it can match the dollar amount given to the Big 12 from FOX and ESPN. However, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post isn’t so confident.

During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Marchand said the recent return of Bob Iger as Disney CEO, coupled with recent layoffs from Amazon, could spell bad news for the PAC 12’s quest to match what the Big 12 received.

“Do I still think they can get the same number as the Big 12? I do, but you start thinking about where this is going and that’s not exactly a great place to be if you’re the Pac-12. They might get the number, but the idea that they’ll get a lot more than the Big 12 — which I’ve already said is not gonna happen — I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12…I think there’s some rough waters out in the Pacific.”

Marchand said if the University of California Board of Regents won’t allow UCLA to join the Big Ten as expected, the conference would then set its sights on Washington and Oregon, which would continue to decimate the Pac-12.

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