The BBC has reached agreement to broadcast the National Football League’s iconic Monday Night Football for the 2012 season.
Monday Night Football, which launched in the 1970s and helped build the popularity of the NFL in the United States, will be aired live by the BBC on the Red Button and will be streamed live on the BBC Sport website.
The deal means that MNF is now available to fans in the UK on a free-to-air basis. The season kicks off with a double-header next Monday (September 10), with the Cincinnati Bengals travelling to the Baltimore Ravens (kick-off at 12 midnight UK time), followed by the San Diego Chargers facing the Oakland Raiders (kick-off 3.15 a.m.)
Viewers can access BBC’s Red Button service by pressing the red button on their remote from any BBC TV channel on their digital TV (including cable, satellite and Freeview). BBC Online’s coverage will be available via the BBC Sports website at www.bbc.co.uk/sport.
David Murray, Head of Rights, BBC Sport, said: “We look forward to bringing Monday Night Football to our audience, who this summer have shown a great appetite for sport content via our online and red button streams. We’re delighted that our relationship with the NFL continues to grow and we look forward to a great season.”
In addition to MNF, BBC TV will continue to air live coverage of the Super Bowl, which is played in New Orleans on February 3, 2013; highlights of the International Series game between the New England Patriots and St Louis Rams at Wembley on Sunday October 28; and weekly playoff highlights in January. BBC Radio will air at least one live game commentary per week on 5Live Sports Extra, beginning with the season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and Super Bowl champion New York Giants at 1.30 a.m. this Wednesday night.
“We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with the BBC in this way,” said Alistair Kirkwood, Managing Director of NFLUK. “Monday Night Football is one of the jewels of the NFL season and the ability for our fans to see it free of charge is very exciting.”
From Week 2 of the season, Monday Night Football will revert to its usual 1.30 a.m. start time. In Week 2 (September 17), viewers will be able to see Peyton Manning lead the Denver Broncos into battle at the Atlanta Falcons, while Week 3 features NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers taking on the Seattle Seahawks.
The full Monday Night Football schedule is:
Week 1 – Cincinnati at Baltimore; San Diego at Oakland
Week 2 – Denver at Atlanta
Week 3 – Green Bay at Seattle
Week 4 – Chicago at Dallas
Week 5 – Houston at NY Jets
Week 6 – Denver at San Diego
Week 7 – Detroit at Chicago
Week 8 – San Francisco at Arizona
Week 9 – Philadelphia at New Orleans
Week 10 – Kansas City at Pittsburgh
Week 11 – Chicago at San Francisco
Week 12 – Carolina at Philadelphia
Week 13 – NY Giants at Washington
Week 14 – Houston at New England
Week 15 – NY Jets at Tennessee
Week 16 – Atlanta at Detroit (Saturday night)
Plans for the broadcasts are still being formulated but along with the ESPN game coverage, featuring Mike Tirico and Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden, specific UK-related content will be developed. This includes possible incorporation of NFLUK’s popular Inside The Huddle podcast, which regularly ranks in the Top 5 of the iTunes’ chart for professional sports podcasts.
The Monday Night Football deal completes the package of NFL coverage in the UK for the 2012 season, following previous announcements that:
- Sky Sports will carry Sunday double-headers and all Thursday night games throughout the regular season, plus all postseason games live, as part of a new three-year deal
- Channel 4 will air Sunday Night Football live, this year in HD
NFLUK would like to acknowledge and apologise for the frustration and uncertainty that many fans have experienced due to the late finalisation of this year’s UK television line-up and thank everyone for their patience and continued support of the NFL. NFLUK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood is inviting fans to send in questions for a Q and A that will explain some of the issues involved in this year’s TV negotiations. Further details of that will follow soon.