Details are trickling out on how the NFL is shaking up its broadcast schedule this Fall. According to NBC Sports’s Peter King, ESPN’s doubleheader format for week one Monday Night Football broadcasts is coming to an end. Instead, the league will shift ESPN’s doubleheader to the brand new week 18.
ESPN usually broadcasts two games on Monday night to kick off the season. The league is now showing one ESPN game on Monday during the first week of the season, while the doubleheader moves to the Saturday of week 18. The trade adds games to ESPN’s broadcast schedule and gives them exclusive real estate on the NFL’s final regular-season weekend.
The ratings for the back half of ESPN’s week one doubleheader had been disappointing in recent years. Airing a primetime doubleheader on Saturday of the final weekend means that Sunday’s slate will include 13 afternoon games and one Sunday night contest.
Expectations are the ESPN Saturday games will kick off in the late afternoon and evening on Jan. 8, 2022.