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ESPN mad for ‘Madden’

Cabler to QB a 'NFL' promo event

ESPN is convinced that pent-up demand for the Aug. 22 release of the videogame “Madden NFL 07” is so enormous that it has created an hourlong pay-per-view special about the game to kick off on Aug. 4.

Spec “Inside Madden NFL 07,” produced by ESPN Original Entertainment, will be available for purchase right up to Aug. 22 for $19.95.

ESPN said it’s the first time a network has produced a PPV event to promote a vidgame.

Electronic Arts, which created the game, will make its designers available to talk about the game and what makes it different from the previous bestselling Madden/NFL videogames.

Winners of previous Madden Challenges will be shown playing the new game and talking about its features. And NFL players like Warrick Dunn, Eddie George, Steve Hutchinson and Marshall Faulk will weigh in with their opinions of the new title.

People can buy the PPV special through their cable systems, their satellite distributors or the ESPN Web site.

Electronic Arts and ESPN have a 15-year marketing agreement that gives EA the right to use the network’s programming and personalities in its vidgames. EA has exclusive videogame rights to the Madden NFL franchise, and Madden will be calling the NFL Monday-night games for the first time on ESPN beginning this fall. ABC formerly carried the Monday games but relinquished the rights to ESPN in the most recent NFL contract.

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