The NFL has reportedly struck a deal with Disney that would keep Monday Night Football on ESPN -- and herald the return of ABC to the rotation of networks tasked with broadcasting the Super Bowl.
A deal was not official but "very close at hand," according to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, who added that the broadcast rights package was worth somewhere around $2.6B total for the two networks.
The hefty value of the two-network deal would mark a 30% increase over the previous agreement, the SBJ report said, though it was a smaller hike compared to the other networks, whose rates more than doubled in some cases.
The Disney deal was the "final linchpin" for the NFL in its dealings with the major TV networks, according to Ourand, and executives from around the industry were hopeful that the league would announce the deals next week.
The league has long had deals with Fox and CBS to air non-primetime regular-season games, with NBC getting the showcase game on Sunday Night Football. The legendary Monday Night Football primetime game, long a staple of ABC, moved to ESPN in 2006.
Super Bowl XL, a Steelers victory over the Seahawks in February 2006, was the last time the Big Game aired on ABC.