ESPN and the National Football League have reached an agreement to allow the network's subscribers to stream Monday Night Football (MNF) on their mobile devices. This change will be in effect beginning with the NFL Wild Card weekend between January 6-7, which means that it will be available during Pro Bowl on January 29. ESPN subscribers will be able to watch NFL highlights and stream MNF across all platforms including mobile after signing in with their accounts and going through a standard authentication process.
ESPN Digital is one of the world's largest sports digital platforms with an average monthly user base of roughly 117 million, and with that in mind, having the ability to stream content to mobile devices is a pretty big deal, especially considering the fact that smartphones are more popular and widespread today than they've ever been. Not to mention the fact that the ESPN mobile application is the most popular sports app in the world. Granted, ESPN did have the ability to stream its NFL-branded studio shows, i.e. Sunday NFL Countdown, NFL Live, Monday Night Countdown etc. across a wide variety of devices including mobile phones, however Monday Night Football (MNF) was missing from the list primarily because the number one carrier in the US – Verizon Wireless – used to have exclusive rights on streaming NFL content on mobile devices until recently. This changed earlier this month when Verizon and the NFL reached a new agreement in which the network operator will drop its exclusivity rights. Evidently, this allows companies like ESPN to pick up the slack and deliver new content to its subscribers on the mobile platform.
ESPN's Monday Night Football has averaged 10.8 million viewers across 14 weeks and 15 games this season on devices including TVs and tablets. Since August 2017, 10.6 million NFL fans on average have consumed NFL-related content on EPSN, registering 3.0 billion visits (up 13 percent year-over-year), 30.4 billion minutes of streamed content (up 14 percent), and 1.4 billion video views (up 198 percent). Over the course of 2017, the sports platform has averaged 2.1 billion minutes of streaming across 9.6 million unique devices every month. This represents an 18 percent increase in unique devices and a 33 percent increase in minutes compared to the previous year.