ESports are about to get a tad more mainstream as Electronic Arts enteres into an agreement with The Walt Disney Company for exclusive broadcasts of the upcoming EA Sports Madden NFL 18 Championship Series.
EA says the Madden NFL Ultimate League is the "first ever" competitive gaming sports league that features one-on-one competition between 16 top Madden NFL 18 players. The competition will run from Friday, Feb. 2 for two and a half months and culminates at the NFL Draft on Apr. 28.
The tournament kicks off at Pro Bowl on Friday, Jan. 26 and fans can tune-in to ESPNEWS beginning on Saturday, Jan. 27 to catch the quarterfinals. 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, Feb. 1st.
"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, SVP and GM of the Competitive Gaming Division at EA. “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.”
Between Super Bowl LII and the 2018 NFL Draft, Disney XD and the ESPN App air weekly Madden NFL 18 competitive gaming content. The Madden NFL Ultimate League champion will be crowned at the Madden Bowl, live from the 2018 NFL Draft on ESPN2.
Also, beginning in April, ESPN2 will broadcast an Ultimate League Episodic Series. The series' content will focus on character and storylines, following the best players in the Ultimate League. That program is scheduled to on Tuesdays at 9pm ET until May 1st. Episodes will also be available on demand on the ESPN App.
EA says 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.