The NFL has successfully used flexible scheduling for Sunday Night Football for years, switching some games from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night to ensure good matchups in prime time. The next TV contract may allow for flex scheduling on Monday nights, too.
Sports Business Journal reports that the NFL has asked teams for feedback on moving games from Sunday to Monday during the season. The league asked teams questions like how much notice they think they would need to prepare a move from Sunday afternoon to Monday night.
Any such change would not be made until new TV contracts are agreed upon. The NFL’s current Monday Night Football deal with ESPN runs through the 2021 season, while the league’s Sunday deals with NBC, CBS and FOX all run through the 2022 season.
The network that gets Monday Night Football on the next contract would obviously prefer not to have any games late in the season between two teams already mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. But to switch out a bad game, the NFL would have to give it to one of its Sunday afternoon broadcast partners, and take a good game off the Sunday afternoon plate. Flex scheduling would make the Monday night package more valuable, but might make the Sunday afternoon packages less valuable.
Teams have also shown concerns about the logistics of moving games from Sunday to Monday, both for the home team having its venue available both days, and for the road team needing to have hotels available for an extra night. Working out those issues won’t be easy, but if Disney or another media conglomerate bidding on Monday Night Football is willing to pay the NFL enough money, those issues will get worked out.