Why did the NFL and ESPN decide to simulcast Monday Night Football games in Week 14?

Welcome to the third phase of the NFL’s “Monday Night Football” viewing experience this season.

This game includes two games on two channels at the same time, but under the same company umbrella. Week 14 will feature the Green Bay Packers at the New York Giants on ABC and the Tennessee Titans at the Miami Dolphins on ESPN with both contests beginning at 8:15 PM ET.

The games were originally scheduled when the league released the 2023 roster earlier this year. But recently ESPN announced that it added “Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli. Or the ManningCast for less formal audiences, to be simulcast on ESPN2.

(All three broadcasts can be watched on ESPN+. The Titans vs Dolphins game can also be watched on ESPN Deportes.)

The NFL has already gone with two Monday night games in Week 2 (New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers) and Week 3 (Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals). However, there was an hour gap between the start times of the two games each evening.

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But why does the league double down when it comes to MNF? According to the league and ESPN, it’s about getting real-time data on viewer interests regarding start times for the “Monday Night Football” doubleheader.

“We’ll learn more about what works best, and I think come next year we’ll continue to focus on getting the biggest viewership between the two games,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN’s chief content officer. The athlete Richard Deitch in September. “We’ll learn if it’s better to start with the ABC game, or the ESPN game, or vice versa. … In Week 14, we’ll play both games at the same time. The idea is, can we combine the total audience and do a little bit like we used to do in the days The good old days of college football where we create simultaneous national and regional appeal and use our networks to do it in one window?and then combined to resemble the total super audience count.

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Hans Schroeder, the NFL’s executive vice president of media distribution, called it a unique opportunity with one broadcast partner to study the possibilities.

“We have a unique opportunity with one partner, with two really strong national distribution assets in ESPN and ABC, and what we want to do is continue to innovate and create a new viewing experience,” Schroeder told Deitsch in September. “So you’ll see more searches between games. You’ll see more coverage between games, and you’ll see stuff at halftime in the first two weeks as they go to the other game. Our whole desire is, how do we create a new, different, compelling way for fans to watch games, and how do we continue to test and innovate during We’re really excited for those who work alongside Disney.

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When viewership data is analyzed, as with all games, there will be additional factors beyond start times, including how competitive each game is, the size of the market for each team playing, whether the game features national stars or traditional popular teams, and estimated value. Access to every port.

Then there’s the ManningCast wrinkle.

Peyton and Eli will watch both matches simultaneously and will comment on what is happening. The show usually introduces guests, but that element could be eliminated this week since they are playing two games.

So why throw ManningCast into the fray? It’s an opportunity to expand that brand. ESPN views ManningCast as an additional broadcast, so any way to expose more viewers to MNF is worth exploring. The week is really unique and experimental, so it’s a good thing to do.

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(Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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