The National Football League (NFL) and Electronic Arts (EA) have announced that coverage of their upcoming EA Sports Madden NFL 18 Championship Series will be shown in the US by ESPN and Disney XD.
Both channels’ coverage of the competitive gaming tournament will begin with the final rounds of the EA Sports Madden NFL 18 Club Championship, which features representatives of all 32 NFL teams, and the all-new EA Sports Madden NFL Ultimate League.
The deal will run for a multi-year period, and marks ESPN’s first-ever long-term, multi-event competitive gaming agreement, according to an official statement.
“The Madden NFL Ultimate League is purposely designed to make superstars of our best players, allowing viewers to develop player loyalties and follow competitor rivalries,” said Todd Sitrin, the general manager of EA’s Competitive Gaming Division.
“Through this collaboration with ESPN and Disney XD, we’ll provide ongoing coverage for fans worldwide across a variety of ESPN and Disney platforms, but also digitally through our own Madden streaming and social channels.”
Under the terms of its deal, ESPN will show quarterfinal action from this week’s Madden NFL 18 Club Championship via its ESPNews service on Saturday, with subsequent rounds shown live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
Between next month’s Super Bowl and the 2018 NFL Draft in April, the ESPN app and Disney XD will then become the weekly home of all Madden NFL 18 content, including episodic series and other programming.
The Madden NFL Ultimate League features one-on-one competition between 16 of the best Madden NFL 18 players. It begins on 2nd February and culminates at the NFL Draft on 28th April, when the overall champion will be crowned at the Madden Bowl live on ESPN2.
EA and the NFL have also struck similar broadcast agreements with overseas networks including BT Sport in the UK and Ireland, TSN in Canada, and ESPN International in Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Brazil and Latin America.