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ESPN's Burke Magnus Says Network Has "High Expectations" For '17 "MNF" Schedule

ESPN's Burke Magnus Says Network Has "High Expectations" For '17 "MNF" Schedule

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Magnus predicted NFL ratings will be up in '17 for all of the league's broadcast partners
ESPN Exec VP/Programming & Scheduling Burke Magnus has “high expectations” for the ’17 “MNF” schedule, set to be announced tonight with the rest of the NFL slate. In recent seasons, the “MNF” schedule has been widely viewed as the NFL’s weakest national package. But Magnus said yesterday at the ’17 CAA World Congress of Sports he is optimistic for a series of strong matchups. “We’ve had very candid conversations with the NFL, particularly in the last six months, about our expectations from a quality perspective,” said Magnus, who added he has not yet seen the schedule. Magnus: “We have high expectations because we’ve been as engaged with the league as we ever have been in terms of what the results are going to be. We’ve done everything we can possibly do to communicate with the league and guide them in terms of our preferences, and now we’ll see.” Magnus went on to predict that NFL ratings will be up next season for all of the league’s broadcast partners, and praised NFL Senior VP/Broadcasting & Media Operations Howard Katz for “taking a very limited set of inventory and dispersing it across all of his broadcast partnerships" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio writes the effort to improve the schedule "underscores the challenges ESPN currently faces." In past years, before tens of thousands of people who were "paying the monthly subscription fee for the multiple versions of the four-letter network without ever watching any of them cut the cord on cable, the quality of the NFL contests wasn’t an issue." Now, the net "needs better matchups in order to lure customers back to the product, regardless of how they pay for it." Florio: "Here’s the problem: The NFL schedule is a zero-sum game." With 256 finite matchups, the league will have to "rob" CBS, Fox and NBC to give ESPN some better games, and those nets "won’t like that" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 4/20).

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