I can’t remember the last time I actually watched it, so this doesn’t affect me. But it might affect others, so here it is!

‘Monday Night Football’ to Move to ESPN from ABC
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Monday Night Football,” a landmark of U.S. broadcast television since 1970, will move next year from Walt Disney Co.’s ABC to sibling sports cable network ESPN in an eight-year deal industry sources said was worth nearly $9 billion.
The agreement, announced on Monday by the National Football League, ESPN and ABC, came as the league and rival broadcaster NBC said they had reached a separate six-season deal for NBC to acquire Sunday NFL games now aired on ESPN.
Individuals familiar with both packages said ESPN will pay the NFL $1.1 billion a year for the “Monday Night Football” franchise — the league’s weekly marquee matchup — while NBC, a unit of General Electric Co. GE.N, has agreed to pay $600 million a year for 16 regular-season Sunday night games and the annual Thursday season opener.
The NBC package will also include two playoff games and three prime-time preseason games each year, as well as the 2009 and 2012 Super Bowl championship contests, the NFL said.
Both deals go into effect starting with the 2006 football season.
“Monday Night Football” was hosted in its early years by Howard Cosell and also gave second careers in the announcer booth to such retired NFL greats as Frank Gifford, O.J. Simpson, Joe Namath and John Madden.
The show has been a keystone of ABC’s prime-time schedule and the most watched weekly sports event on American television since its launch in 1970.
The program, a Monday evening tradition for pro-football fans, is billed as the most anticipated NFL contest each week, and the telecast still ranks ninth in household ratings among all prime-time programs for the 2004-05 TV season, drawing 16.3 million viewers.
Although ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson had said months ago that he expected his network to renew its “MNF” contract, the new ESPN deal was not entirely a surprise.
Despite its ratings success, advertising revenues have never covered the show’s costs. ABC, which pays $550 million a year for the games under its current contract with the NFL, has been losing roughly $150 million a year on the franchise, according to a person familiar with the contract.
By contrast, ESPN has managed to turn a profit while paying $600 million a year for the NFL package by sharing the financial burden with cable companies that carry the Sunday games.
George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports, said the cable network would continue “to deliver double-digit growth to Disney over the next five years, and we couldn’t do that without a sound economic deal with the NFL.”
He also said ABC, rebounding from a ratings slump thanks to such new hits as “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” remained on target with its improved financial projections.
Money-losing ABC has dragged down Disney earnings for years, but the company says the broadcaster may return to profit this year.
“It’s tough for ABC to say goodbye to a landmark institution like this, but with the progress we’re making on our entertainment programing, we’re not looking back. It’s been a wonderful 36-year run,” Bodenheimer told reporters in a conference call.
NBC executives suggested they got a better deal than ESPN, casting the reshuffling of NFL broadcast rights as setting the stage for Sunday evenings to become the new premier night for televised football.
“It’s really ABC’s broadcast package on Monday night going to Sunday night,” said NBC Television Network Group President Randy Falco said, noting that NBC would pay about 9 percent more per year for Sunday games than ABC paid for Monday night.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue seemed to concur, saying in a statement, “Sunday is now the better night for our prime-time broadcast package.” NBC added that it expected to draw a bigger audience to its new Sunday night football lineup than ESPN has in the past, because the broadcaster has a wider reach.
But Bodenheimer insisted that “Monday Night Football,” while filling the last big hole in ESPN’s schedule, would remain the weekly NFL game that “the fans, the players and viewers look forward to” most.