The Walt Disney Company and NFL Reach an Agreement Bringing the Super Bowl Back to ABC and More

A deal between the NFL and The Walt Disney Company has officially been reached, with ABC and ESPN joining the Super Bowl rotation and more.

What’s Happening:

NFL Agreement Details:

  • ABC/ESPN will carry two Super Bowls — 2026, 2030. The last Super Bowl to air on ABC was in 2006.
  • ESPN+ will get one annual exclusive game beginning in the 2022 season. The game will take place internationally and will be aired live in the Sunday morning ET window.
  • ESPN will have the opportunity to simulcast all ESPN/ABC game telecasts on ESPN+.
  • ESPN will increase its regular-season schedule by 35% — six more games per year (from 17 to 23). It will include an ESPN game on Monday nights (including three weeks with a separate game on ABC), a Saturday doubleheader the season’s final week, and the Sunday morning game on ESPN+.
  • ESPN will add an annual divisional round game to its schedule, which will continue to include a wild-card matchup.
  • The NFL will be able to swap a more meaningful game into the Monday Night Football slot with 12 days’ notice from Week 12 on.
  • ESPN will continue to have the rights to the annual Pro Bowl.
  • ESPN will also continue to obtain the rights to NFL Drafts.
  • You can read the full ESPN media conference call transcript here.

What They’re Saying:

  • Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company: “This landmark agreement guarantees that ESPN’s passionate fan base will continue to have access to the best the NFL has to offer. Bringing all the considerable and unique capabilities of The Walt Disney Company and ESPN to the table opens up so many opportunities across our industry-leading direct-to-consumer, broadcast, cable, linear, social and digital outlets. Special thanks to Roger Goodell and the NFL owners for continuing to embrace new ways to appeal to their fans, especially through increasingly important platforms like ESPN+.”
  • Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content: “When ESPN and the NFL work best together, the results are transformational for sports fans and the industry.  Some of the most remarkable collaborative examples have occurred in the past 12 months and have demonstrated the extraordinary range of The Walt Disney Company that is fundamental to this agreement. There are so many exciting new components, including Super Bowls and added playoff games, new end-of-season games with playoff implications, exclusive streaming games on ESPN+, scheduling flexibility and enhancements, and much more. It’s a wide-ranging agreement unlike any we’ve reached with the NFL, and we couldn’t be more energized about what the future holds.”
  • Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner: “We are thrilled to extend and expand our partnership with Disney far into the future, as ESPN will continue to host cable’s most-watched series, Monday Night Football, and ABC is returning as a Super Bowl broadcaster. We look forward to working with Disney as they use new platforms, including ESPN+, in innovative ways to reach even more NFL fans.”
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