The Madden NFL Championship Series is getting a new broadcasting base. EA Sports and the NFL signed a multiyear deal with ESPN and Disney (its parent company) that will move the broadcasting of the popular tournament to new platforms.
This deal includes broadcasting for leagues and competitions linked to Madden 18 and future titles.
First multiyear exclusive esports deal for ESPN
This agreement marks the first exclusive broadcast agreement for ESPN regarding an esport. It encompasses the Madden NFL 18 Club Championship and the Madden NFL 18 Ultimate League, which kicks off Feb. 2.
“We’re thrilled to continue and expand our relationship with EA and the NFL in not only showcasing to our audiences these world class esports competitions for multiple years, but using the myriad of ESPN and Disney global platforms to tell the incredible stories of these competitors,” said ESPN Digital Media Programming VP John Lasker.
The Club Championship debuted last Friday in Orlando, Florida, at the NFL Pro Bowl. After running for about a week, it will culminate this week in the lead up to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. The competition sees players representing all 32 NFL franchises.
Once the Club Championship has crowned its winner, the Ultimate League will kick off. Starting Feb. 2, the multi-week tournament will run until April 28, which is also the end date of the NFL Draft. The league will feature 16 top Madden players competing in a one-on-one format. Six of those will be determined during the three Madden Majors: Classic, Challenge, and the Club Championship. The remaining 10 will be the series’ top points earners.
“We are … thrilled to be the first major professional sports league to have every team represented in a premier esports event,” said NFL Chief Strategy Officer Chris Halpin. “We are confident our fans will love the competition and action.”
Increasing reach through a global network
The deal includes broadcasts on several ESPN and Disney networks, a strategy for reaching a broader audience. For instance, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will broadcast the finals during Super Bowl Week. ESPN 2 will also show the Ultimate League Championship final.
To deepen the whole experience, Disney XD and ESPN VOD will also feature episodes following players and their stories.
“The Madden NFL Ultimate League is purposely designed to focus on our best professional players, allowing viewers to develop player loyalties and follow competitor rivalries,” said EA Competitive Gaming Division GM Todd Sitrin.
Overall, it’s safe to say Madden fans have an exciting three months ahead of them.
Editorial credit: Mike Morbeck / Flickr.com / CC BY-SA 2.0