ESPN 'Not Concerned' About Possible NFL Shutdown

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An executive says the network, which holds rights to cable's top-rated "Monday Night Football," will simply swap football games for other athletic contests should players and owners not reach a deal.

If NFL players and owners can't figure out a contract in time to save the upcoming season, then ESPN will swap football games for other athletic contests, Disney CFO Jay Rasulo said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Credit Suisse Global Media and Communications Convergence Conference, the CFO went so far as to say, "We're not concerned," despite ESPN's having the rights to Monday Night Football.

ESPN knows how to reach NFL fans whether there's a season or not, Rasulo suggested, therefore advertisers will still flock to the sports network.

A work stoppage is far from a certainty and players and owners are headed for mediation. Plus, Rasulo said ESPN's plan is to keep paying fees to the NFL even if games aren't being played, and they'll figure out later "what happens to those fees."

Disney sells an estimated $200 million in ads annually for its Monday Night Football games, according to analysts.