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BIZ

ESPN To MegaCast Its January Wild Card Playoff Coverage

ESPN plans to MegaCast its coverage of their NFL Wild Card playoff game this season, offering viewers at least four different presentations across five Walt Disney Co. networks.

ESPN and ABC will simulcast the Wild Card game, currently scheduled to be played on either Jan. 9 or 10. Both networks will air the telecast featuring ESPN’s Monday Night Football announce team of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry.

ESPN2 and Freeform, a Disney cable network aimed at teens and young adults, will also offer their own distinct telecasts, while ESPN Deportes will have its own Spanish language production of the game.

The Wild Card production will be the first time the multi-channel MegaCast coverage concept has been utilized during the NFL postseason. ESPN has previously done MegaCasts for the College Football Championship.

The NFL’s TV partners ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and NBC Sports are currently competing to forge new TV rights deals with the league after the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Under its current deal for MNF, ESPN gets a Wild Card playoff telecast but is shut out of the lucrative Super Bowl TV rotation. In this upcoming rights cycle, Disney is pushing hard for ABC to land its first live game package in 15 years.

The NFL would like ABC, the original home of MNF from 1970 to 2005, to return to live games, said sources. The network’s return would give NFL games a clean sweep of all four broadcast channels:  ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox.

With these broadcasters reaching more than 100 million U.S. homes, they’re more immune to cord-cutting than cable channels such as ESPN.

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Nicholas Durst

Nicholas Durst

Nicholas Durst is a sports media professional who has worked as an on-air personality and producer with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Bleacher Report, MSG Networks, WFAN Radio and MTV. He has experience in TV, radio, social/digital media, short-form and live video across sports and entertainment. He is also a NCAA Division II broadcaster for CSI SportsNet. Nicholas hosts You Know I'm Right, right here on InTheZone.io. Follow him on twitter @Nick_Durst

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