Electronic Arts will partner with ESPN and Disney XD, the cable network that skews toward teen and pre-teen boys, for exclusive broadcasts of the coming EA Sports Madden NFL 18 Championship Series. The parties characterized the deal as the first “long-term multi-event competitive gaming agreement” struck with ESPN.
“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,” said Todd Sitrin, senior vice president and general manager of the Competitive Gaming Division at EA, in a prepared statement.
The Madden NFL Ultimate League features one-on-one competition between 16 of the best “Madden NFL 18” players and is expected to run starting Friday, February 2 through the NFL Draft on April 28th. Six players qualified by finishing in the top two at one of three previous sessions, and the remaining ten were selected as top series points earners.
The “Madden NFL 18″ Club Championship tournament, meanwhile, kicks off at Pro Bowl on Friday, January 26. Fans can watch ESPNEWS starting on Saturday, January 27 to see the quarterfinal action. The next broadcast will allow fans to follow the Club Championship Final on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes live from the Super Bowl Experience in Minneapolis, MN, on Thursday, February 1.
Between Super Bowl LII and the 2018 NFL Draft, Disney XD and the ESPN App will become the weekly home to “Madden NFL 18” competitive gaming content, showcasing the latest action from the Madden NFL Ultimate League each week. The Madden NFL Ultimate League champion will be crowned at the Madden Bowl, live from the 2018 NFL Draft on ESPN2.
Beginning in April, ESPN2 will also broadcast an Ultimate League Episodic Series. The content will focus on character and storylines through an exclusive entertainment style, following the best players in the Ultimate League on Tuesdays at 9pm ET until May 1. Episodes will also be available on demand on the ESPN App.
“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 also using the myriad ESPN and Disney global platforms to tell the incredible stories of these competitors,” said John Lasker, vice president of ESPN Digital Media Programming, in a statement.
Broadcasts will also be available in the UK and Ireland via BT Sport, Canada via TSN and Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and Latin America, including Brazil via ESPN International networks.