US sports broadcaster ESPN will televise its first NFL Wild Card Playoff game during the American football league’s 2014 season.
ESPN will broadcast the game during the Wild Card Playoff Weekend in January 2015. The game will be simulcast on stations in the primary markets of participating teams. Viewers can also access coverage via WatchESPN, the live streaming application of ESPN.
The Wild Card game broadcast is under the terms of an eight-year extension to a Monday Night Football rights agreement between the NFL and ESPN. The deal, which comes into force this spring and extends through the 2021 season, allows the NFL to broadcast a postseason Wild Card Playoff game on ESPN – an option the league has now exercised.
ESPN president John Skipper said: “This game will be among the highest-rated programs of the year on cable and it is compelling content that will help us better serve football fans during the postseason.”
Elsewhere, the NBC network will broadcast an NFL Divisional Playoff game this season and each season thereafter through 2022.
The broadcasts are part of NBC’s nine-year extension to its Sunday Night Football rights deal which comes into effect this year.
In the 2014 season, NBC will broadcast a Divisional Playoff game on the weekend of January 10-11 as well as a Wild Card Playoff game on the weekend of January 3-4. NBC will broadcast a Division Playoff for the first time since acquiring the Sunday Night Football package in 2006.
NBC will also broadcast Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, 2015.