Tue. Sep 25th, 2018

ESPN Acquires Monday Night Football Streaming Rights

Earlier in the week NBC announced they acquired the rights to stream Sunday Night Football to mobile phones, following Verizon losing exclusivity for mobile streaming of NFL games. With the growing trend of cord cutting, the NFL recognized the value of adding more avenues for mobile streaming.

ESPN has now followed suit, announcing they reached an agreement with the NFL to stream Monday Night Football for ESPN subscribers to mobile phones. In past seasons, Monday Night Football was able to be streamed on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and others, but due to Verizon’s exclusive mobile streaming deal, ESPN subscribers were unable to use the network’s app to stream the game via their cell phone.

“Every day, tens of millions of fans turn to ESPN to stream events, view highlights and connect with the latest sports news and stories, so we’re thrilled that they will now be able to enjoy Monday Night Football and the latest NFL highlights as part of their experience on mobile phones as well,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president, programming and scheduling.

In September, ESPN transitioned to using Nielsen’s “total audience number” to provide more accurate program ratings. The “total audience number” is a measurement which combines linear television viewers and the digital streaming audience. Nielsen also announced they will include digital viewers with a delay of up to three minutes as part of a broadcasts live audience. Previously, a delay of more than 25 seconds (which can be common with mobile streaming) would negate that viewer from being counted as part of the live audience.

The combination of ESPN’s ability to stream to mobile phones and having those viewers added to Nielsen’s audience measurement should provide Monday Night Football with a ratings boost in 2018.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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