ESPN, Disney, NFL ink multi-year deal for Madden broadcast rights (

ESPN, Disney, NFL ink multi-year deal for Madden broadcast rights

ESPN, Disney and the NFL announced on Friday a multi-year deal to broadcast the Madden NFL 18 Championship Series and future leagues surrounding the popular Madden franchise. It’s the first multi-year exclusive competitive gaming broadcast agreement for ESPN.

"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," John Lasker, VP of ESPN Digital Media Programming, said in a statement.

The agreement will broadcast two Madden-based leagues: The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship and the Madden NFL 18 Ultimate League. The club championship tournament, which features players representing all 32 NFL franchises, will begin at the NFL Pro Bowl today in Orlando, Florida, and end with the finals during the week of Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis at the Super Bowl Experience on Feb. 1.

Following the crowning of the club champion, the Madden NFL 18 Ultimate League kicks off on Feb. 2 and runs through April 28 at the NFL Draft. The Ultimate League is a multi-week tournament featuring the 16 top Madden players in a one-on-one format. Six players qualified by finishing in the top 2 at one of the three EA Majors: The Madden NFL 18 Classic, Madden NFL 18 Challenge and Madden NFL 18 Club Championship, with the remaining 10 selected as top series points earners.

"We are excited to partner with EA SPORTS and ESPN to bring the Madden Club Championship and Madden Ultimate League to the millions of Madden NFL fans globally and to broadcast these competitions from our key fan events, like the Super Bowl and the Draft," Chris Halpin, Chief Strategy Officer of the NFL, said in a statement. "We are also thrilled to be the first major professional sports league to have every team represented in a premier esports event. We are confident our fans will love the competition and action."

The agreement encompasses several ESPN and Disney networks. The Madden NFL 18 Club Championship at the Pro Bowl will be on ESPNNews, the finals at the Super Bowl will be on ESPN2/Deportes and Ultimate League Championship final will be on ESPN2. In addition, episodic series featuring the players and the stories behind them will air on Disney XD and ESPN VOD.

"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. Putting the focus on them will allow viewers to develop player loyalties and follow competitor rivalries," Todd Sitrin, SVP and GM of the Competitive Gaming Division at EA, said in a statement. "Through this partnership with ESPN and Disney XD, we’ll provide ongoing coverage for fans worldwide across a variety of ESPN and Disney platforms."


January 26, 2018 at 04:17PM

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