MNF is coming off its lowest-rated season ever (per SportsMediaWatch), and ESPN recently laid off many well-known staffers as it struggles to cope with the financial hit from a significant loss of subscribers.
Overpaying for rights fees and cord-cutting consumers are likely the largest factors in ESPN’s struggles, but an increasing injection of (generally liberal) politics into the network’s discourse has also been cited by some (often conservative) critics.
Replacing most of its news and analysis with mindless debate probably hasn't helped either.
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Politics being any factor has been met with vehement denials from network and other (generally liberal) commentators, but the truth likely lies somewhere in between.
Last season, the the combination of a spate of bad games and increased attention on the tumultuous Presidential election also no doubt played a role in the declining ratings of prime-time NFL games.
The return of Williams could help the network’s image with conservatives, and it serves to dip into the seemingly hot market for 1990s nostalgia that’s been building over the past few years.