ESPN announced a new eight-year multimedia rights agreement with the National Football League today. The deal features an expansion of ESPN’s already robust highlight rights, as well as rights to more than 500 new hours of NFL programming each year, the latter starting this season.
Beginning this week, ESPN is adding new NFL-branded shows and expanding several existing programs, including its signature Sunday NFL Countdown pregame – now three hours on NFL Sundays (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET), beginning this Sunday, Sept. 11. The significantly expanded ESPN studio programming lineup, combined with ESPN’s presentation of sports television’s signature series, Monday Night Football, will continue to provide fans with comprehensive year-round coverage of the NFL.
ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer said: “With a multitude of shows, networks and platforms, ESPN will continue to cover the NFL like no other media company can.”
Notable additions to ESPN’s new NFL programming lineup include:
Sunday NFL Countdown … expands to three hours this weekend
- ESPN’s award-winning Sunday morning preview show expands to three hours (previously two), beginning Sunday, Sept. 11, at 10 a.m. ET with longtime host Chris Berman and analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter. In addition, MNF sideline reporter Suzy Kolber will move to a studio-based role this fall where she will work alongside two-time Super Bowl champion coach Bill Parcells and analyst Merril Hoge on Countdown. The show will include even more analysis, news, discussion and features.
NFL Live … expands to one hour, starting today
- ESPN’s year-round weekday NFL news and information show hosted by Trey Wingo will expand to one hour (previously 30 minutes), beginning at 4 p.m. this afternoon, the day the 2011-12 NFL season kicks off.
NFL32 … new show debuts Tuesday
- This new year-round one-hour daily weekday show at 6 p.m. on ESPN2, starting Tuesday, Sept. 13, will feature hosts Kolber and Senior Insider Mortensen and a rotating cast of ESPN NFL analysts and guests in a highly interactive, unscripted format, discussing the biggest topics of the day from all 32 NFL teams.
- This new one-hour weekly Friday night show at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 will help kick off football weekends at ESPN with a look at every NFL matchup. Berman will host the first two episodes (Sept. 16 and 23) before Wingo assumes the permanent host position, where he will be joined by Mark Schlereth and another ESPN NFL analyst each week as they cover the team news, strategies, injuries and fantasy information that NFL fans need to know.
Audibles … becomes weekly Thursday night show
- The pro football-themed discussion show driven by fan-generated questions that was first introduced in a limited run last season becomes a part of ESPN’s weekly Thursday night fall lineup beginning tonight at 7 p.m. Originating from ESPN’s Los Angeles studios, the show features four analysts from a rotation that includes Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerry Rice and Steve Young, plus Keyshawn Johnson, Herm Edwards, and Trent Dilfer, among others, without a formal host. Fans control the content by submitting questions and conversation topics on ESPN’s Facebook and Twitter pages for the analysts to discuss and debate.
In addition to ESPN’s NFL-branded shows, at least 30 additional ESPN programs across multiple networks and platforms will utilize NFL highlights as part of the agreement, including SportsCenter, First Take, Around the Horn, Pardon The Interruption, Jim Rome is Burning, Mike & Mike In the Morning, Outside the Lines, SportsNation, The Sports Reporters, ESPN Deportes’ NFL Esta Noche, new ESPN2 shows Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable and Numbers Never Lie, ESPN.com, Mobile ESPN and more.
ESPN’s 2011 NFL TV Program Lineup:
|3 a.m., 7:30 a.m.8:30 a.m. (ESPN2)||NFL Matchup(30 minutes)|
|10 a.m.||Sunday NFL Countdown(3 hours)|
|11:30 a.m.(ESPN2)||Fantasy Football Now (90 minutes)|
|7 p.m.||SportsCenter +|
|11 p.m.||“The Blitz” on SportsCenter ^|
* All shows on ESPN unless noted
+ NFL highlights segments with Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Trent Dilfer and John Saunders
^ NFL highlights segments with Berman and Jackson
Mondays on ESPN:
|3 p.m.||NFL Primetime|
|4 p.m.||NFL Live|
|6 p.m.||SportsCenter Monday Kickoff|
|7 p.m.||Monday Night Countdown|
|8:30 p.m.||Monday Night Football|
|11:30 p.m.||SportsCenter ~|
|1 a.m.||NFL Primetime (updated)|
* Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption air between 5-6 p.m.
~ Includes significant MNF postgame coverage
|4 p.m., Mon.-Fri.(ESPN)||NFL Live (1 hour)|
|6 p.m., Mon.-Fri.(ESPN2)||NFL32 (1 hour)|
|7 p.m., Thurs.(ESPN)||Audibles (1 hour)|
|7 p.m., Fri. (ESPN2)||NFL Kickoff (1 hour)|