Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. General Sports

ESPN to air an NFL Wildcard Playoff Game

See also

The NFL touts itself as being the last US professional sports league that puts every playoff game on free TV. That claim is no longer true.

More Photos

ESPN will air its first-ever playoff game on Wildcard weekend next January. The rights agreement between ESPN and the NFL, which extends through the 2021 season, allows ESPN to air one Wildcard playoff game each year.

It will most likely be one of the Saturday games that NBC has aired as part of a doubleheader. NBC had already announced it would be airing one of the Divisional Round games the following weekend. So instead of broadcasting two contests on Day 1 of the playoffs and then bowing out, the peacock will air one game that day and one the following week.

That means, in essence, ESPN's addition is a loss for either CBS or Fox.

There is no word on whether ESPN's telecast will be brokered to broadcast stations in the cities where the involved teams are located. But one has to assume, since both ESPN's Monday Night, and NFL Network's Thursday Night telecasts are, it will be done in this case as well.

ESPN will also resume airing the Pro Bowl, which beginning this upcoming season, will be moved to the site of Super Bowl.

Once again, it's another example of a telecast moving from free broadcast TV to cable or satellite. But this time it's courtesy of the NFL, the league that prides itself on having the most contests on over-the-air TV. More on that in the next article. Stay tuned.




  • Stephen A. Smith apologizes
    Stephen A. Smith: Ray Rice rant was 'most egregious error of my career'
    Domestic Violence
  • Maria Kirilenko slideshow
    Feast your eyes on the former fiance of Alex Ovechkin: The newly-single Maria Kirilenko
    20 Photos
  • New York Yankees fan returns lost Red Sox World Series ring to owner
    MLB News
  • Peyton Manning dancing
    Peyton Manning shows off his formidable dancing skills at training camp
    NFL News
  • Bagwell becoming porn star
    Buff Bagwell has the stuff, but his Vivid dreams have not come true just yet
    Fight Sports
  • Grave defiler identified
    Die-hard Browns fan identified in Art Modell’s grave defiling video
    Crimes & Court