Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The ABCs of Monday Night

I think my dad and I had one of those "we must be from different generations" conversations last night. He asked me what I thought about "Monday Night Football" moving from ABC to ESPN. I realize that's probably not big news to most of you. But my dad thought it was worthy of bringing it up on the phone. To me, it's big news for as long as it takes you to read the sentence "'Monday Night Football' is moving to ESPN."

I suppose the move is notable in that "Monday Night Football" will have been on ABC for 35 years after its final upcoming season. 35 years = sort of a TV institution. But I think this means more to people like my dad who remember watching Howard Cosell broadcast the games. Back in those days, before cable and satellite TV, that might be one of the few NFL games you'd get to watch in a given week. It was an event. Now, you can see any and every game you want. You can go to a sports bar on Sunday and watch 'em all. And how many people don't have cable these days? (I'm not talking about those who choose not to have cable. I don't think people like that watch TV.)

But I am surprised ABC is letting go of the NFL. Having NFL football on your network is a big deal. Don't believe me? NBC just ponied up $600 million to broadcast NFL games on Sunday nights. (One cool thing about that NBC game for football fans: NBC will get to decide which game it wants to broadcast later in the season, so it's not automatically stuck with a suddenly meaningless match-up that was chosen before the season began.)

Dad, what can I say? The world is changing around you.