ABC Bids Farewell to Monday Night Football after 35 years
One door closes and another is opened. Tonight, the NFL bids farewell to ABC, with the New England Patriots playing the New York Jets. This is the second longest-running series on network TV and it will shift to ESPN beginning next season. ESPN is reported as paying approximately $1.1 billion over eight seasons for the Monday night contract.
This is a true win for Cable for ratings and advertising revenues. As the industry continues to gain more high profile programming, hopefully they will also improve their ability to sell out premium inventory.
UPDATED - 12/27/05: Although Frank Gifford stated during the broadcast that "It's going to cable, what's the difference?" Madden disagreed and argued that the shift to ESPN is a milestone. "It's a big deal"! ABC Sports was once what new generation thinks of ESPN. It was the most innovative and biggest force in Sports Television. But those days are gone and the pass off of this program marks the final torch being handed down to ABC's younger sibling and new King of Sports TV.
(Picture above - Courtesy of Mike Segar/Reuters) Fans at the Jets-Patriots game paid tribute to the late Howard Cosell as ABC broadcast its final "Monday Night Football" game last night. ABC hands off the franchise to ESPN next season.
Link: New York Times Dec 27 - With a Dandy Curtain Call, ABC Signs Off on 'Monday Night Football'