For the second straight year, ESPN will simulcast its NFL Wild Card playoff game on ABC. It will air during Wild Card Weekend on January 7-8, 2017. The announcement was made today at the ESPN Upfront presentation to advertisers.
In addition to the game, ABC will simulcast ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown pregame show prior to the Wild Card game.
Earlier this year, ESPN and ABC came together for the Kansas City Chiefs-Houston Texans AFC Wild Card game which turned out to be a 30-0 blowout. The 2016 Wild Card game marked a return to the NFL for ABC and was its first pro football game since Super Bowl XL in February 2006.
KC-Houston resulted in a combined 14.7 rating and 25.171 million viewers. According to Nielsen, it was the third most-watched Saturday afternoon NFL Wild Card playoff game.
For ESPN’s very first NFL postseason game in 2015 between Carolina and Arizona and aired solely on cable, the average audience was 21.67 million viewers and rexulted in a 12.5 rating. So adding ABC brought added viewers and a higher rating.
This will mark the first Wild Card game for Sean McDonough who was named earlier this month as the new voice of Monday Night Football.
The game will also air on ESPN Deportes and be streamed on computers, tablets and connected TV devices via WatchESPN.
If the past two seasons are an indication, the ESPN/ABC Wild Card game will air in the early afternoon window on January 7, 2017, although that is certainly subject to change.