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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' trailer: Why is it airing during 'Monday Night Football'?

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(Read caption) 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' stars Adam Driver.

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For fans who have the first clips memorized, the wait is almost over – a new trailer for the upcoming movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” debuts today. 

The new clip will debut during ESPN's "Monday Night Football." The upcoming “Star Wars” movie is set after the events of the preceding movies and features new stars like John Boyega and Daisy Ridley, as well as the return of original players like Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill. “Force” is scheduled to debut this December. 

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Tonight’s game will be between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants and the new “Force” trailer will air during halftime.

What made Disney debut the new “Force” clip during "Monday Night Football"? For one, Disney also owns ESPN, the network on which "Monday Night Football" airs, so there’s synergy working there.

The first official trailer for “Force” debuted almost a year ago in November 2014. It was shown at various movie theaters and also debuted on iTunes. 

Disney has tried this strategy of debuting a trailer for a highly-anticipated property during a TV program before. This past fall, the company planned to air a new trailer for the Marvel movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron” during an episode of the TV show “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” However, the trailer leaked online early. Disney is no doubt hoping to avoid the same problem this time and perhaps give a ratings boost to "Monday Night Football" as well, though the program doesn’t really need it, considering its usual performance.

In addition, because "Monday Night Football" performs so well in the ratings, Disney is bringing the new “Force” trailer to a program that will have a lot of viewers anyway. Anyone unfamiliar with “Force” or “Star Wars” in general will see the clip.

Disney may also be thinking there will be an overlap in demographics with “Star Wars” fans and "Monday Night Football" viewers. Who is the "Star Wars" fan today? Well, for the last new “Star Wars” movie, 2005’s “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” 58 percent of the moviegoers who went to see “Sith” on its opening day were male and 48 percent were under 25.

"Monday Night Football" also traditionally does well with viewers 18 to 49, with the program landing in the top 10 of the most-watched programs for that age group for the 2014-2015 TV season, and for 2014, "Monday Night Football" was in the lead over other networks for male demographics whenever it aired.

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Interestingly, Disney may be hoping to woo young viewers over to "Monday Night Football" as well. While "Monday Night Football" still does well with the 18 to 49 demographic, the age of the NFL viewer has risen over the last few years, going from a median age of almost 46 in 2006 to a median age of more than 48 in 2013. Remember, that valued demographic ends at 49. 

And “Star Wars” has proven it can attract young fans. Those under-25 moviegoers that made up almost half of the audience for the opening day for “Sith” would have been at the most toddlers when the final movie in the original series, “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” was released. These are fans that came to the series after the original films hit theaters and they (and perhaps their parents) made the newer trilogy some of the highest-grossing movies in the years in which the newer movies were released.


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