ESPN Lands NFL’s New Monday Night Wild Card Game, Capping “Wild Card Weekend,” In 5 Year Deal

2021 NFL Schedule

The NFL has set another multiplatform deal for this season’s wild card playoff games.

ESPN owner the Walt Disney Company and the NFL announced a five year rights agreement for ESPN to present a new Monday night Wild Card game beginning with the 2021 season and continuing through the 2025 season. The agreement was announced today by Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content at the CAA World Congress of Sports.

The inaugural Monday night NFL Wild Card game will be played on January 17, 2022 at 8:15 p.m. ET, marking the grand finale of the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend. It will be the first scheduled weekday prime time NFL playoff game.

As part of the deal, ESPN’s MegaCast production will provide fans multiple ways to watch. ABC and ESPN will air the traditional telecast with Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry on the call. On ESPN2 and ESPN+, Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli Manning will be available. ESPN Deportes will air the Spanish-language telecast. Additional MegaCast production offerings will be announced at a later date.

The Monday Night Wild Card game will be streamed across devices on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ABC and NFL digital properties and on mobile via Yahoo Sports and the mobile properties of the two participating teams.

CBS and Nickelodeon announced last month that a graphics- and kid-commentary-filled telecast will accompany the regular broadcast of the Sunday Wild Card game on CBS. That will take place Sunday, January 16, at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The 2021 season’s Wild Card game will be ESPN’s eighth NFL Playoff game, having begun airing an annual Wild Card game following the 2014 regular season. Beginning in the 2023 NFL Season, ESPN will add an NFL Divisional round game to its postseason slate, while continuing to air its existing Wild Card game.

In the regular season, Monday Night Football has aired on ESPN since 2006 and beginning this season, ESPN and ABC will air a Week 18 doubleheader — on January 8, 2022 — to conclude its regular season coverage.

Monday Night Football viewership is averaging 14 million viewers through the first five weeks of the NFL season, according to ESPN.

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