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ESPN buys stake, gains TV rights to AFL

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by tommyp, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. tommyp

    tommyp Member

    I know NBC had a partial stake in the league when it televised Arena League games (I refuse to call it AFL), but can you picture what ESPN will do to this league because it now has a stake?

    I can picture it now: When ESPN/ABC flashes a bio of a Little Leaguer, one of his reveals will be his favorite Arena League player.


    ESPN acquires minority stake in Arena Football


    ESPN buffeted its year-round football programming lineup and Monday night presence, acquiring minority ownership in the Arena Football League as part of a five-year agreement announced Tuesday.

    The deal includes extensive multimedia rights and a minimum of 26 televised games per season beginning in 2007.

    "We are committed to the Arena Football League and its exciting brand of football," John Skipper, executive vice president for content at ESPN, said in a statement. "We will help grow the league across all of our multimedia platforms. As the league grows, so will our business, and we see a bright future for us both."

    Similar to recent major ESPN content acquisitions, the agreement entails a broad range of rights among the network's 15 platforms, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPN Classic, ESPN.com, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes and ESPN360. ESPN also gains the right to both air and syndicate AFL games through ESPN International.

    ESPN will televise a minimum of 17 regular-season games and nine playoff games -- including a minimum three wild-card games, three divisional playoff games, both conference championships and the Arena Bowl -- on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

    ESPN will also have an exclusive window for weekly Monday night primetime games on ESPN2 -- continuing to establish Monday night as a "football night" for fans.

    "This is the longest and most comprehensive media partnership in AFL history," AFL commissioner David Baker said. "ESPN's brand is ingrained in sports fans, who watch, read and listen to its multiple media properties. Through its equity purchase, ESPN now owns a piece of the AFL and has the ability to provide exciting football content on Monday nights for fans on a year-round basis.

    "There is no better partner to help grow the AFL into a leading global, multimedia property."

    The network's 2007 coverage will kick off on ABC with a pair of regional games -- Chicago Rush at Kansas City Brigade and Dallas Desperados at New York Dragons -- on March 4. ABC will broadcast ArenaBowl XXI on July 29 from the New Orleans Arena; it will be the city of New Orleans' first host team championship event since Hurricane Katrina.

    The 2007 AFL television schedule on ESPN (all times Eastern):

    • March 4: Chicago at Kansas City; Dallas at New York, ESPN on ABC (regional), 12:30 p.m.
    • March 12: Los Angeles at Orlando, ESPN2, 7 p.m.
    • March 22: Colorado at Philadelphia ESPN2, 7 p.m.
    • March 26: Dallas at Orlando, ESPN2, 7 p.m.
    • April 1: Los Angeles at Chicago, ESPN2, 1:30 p.m.
    • April 9: Georgia at Philadelphia, ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.
    • April 16: Philadelphia at Dallas, ESPN2, 8 p.m.
    • April 23: Philadelphia at Columbus, ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.
    • April 30: Philadelphia at Chicago, ESPN2, 8 p.m.
    • May 7: Colorado at Chicago, ESPN2, 8 p.m.
    • May 14: New York at Philadelphia, ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.
    • May 21: New Orleans at Philadelphia, ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.
    • May 28: New York at New Orleans, ESPN2, 8 p.m.
    • June 4: Colorado at Utah, ESPN2, 10:30 p.m.
    • June 11: Los Angeles at Arizona, ESPN2, 10 p.m.
    • June 18: Chicago at Colorado, ESPN2, 10 p.m.
    • June 25: Dallas at Colorado, ESPN2, 10 p.m.

    Postseason television schedule
    • June 29: Wild card, ESPN, 7 p.m.
    • June 30: Wild card, ESPN, noon
    • June 30: Wild card, ESPN, 3 p.m.
    • July 2: Wild card, ESPN2, 10 p.m.
    • July 7: Divisional playoff, ESPN, 3 p.m.
    • July 7: Divisional playoff, ESPN, 8 p.m.
    • July 8: Divisional playoff, ESPN2, 9 p.m.
    • July 9: Divisional playoff, ESPN2, 7:30 p.m.
    • July 14: Conference championship, ESPN, 3 p.m.
    • July 15: Conference championship, ESPN2, 12:30 p.m.
    • July 29: ArenaBowl XXI, at New Orleans, ESPN on ABC, 3 p.m.
    Note: ESPN will carry a minimum of three wild-card games and three divisional playoff games
  2. Pancamo

    Pancamo Active Member

  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    It's Arena Football... Nobody gives a shit...
  4. spnited

    spnited Active Member

  5. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    No one cares unless it's the team in Iowa or some BFE place.
  6. nafselon

    nafselon Well-Known Member

    I will say that Arenaball has had a pretty remarkable 10-year run of growth and this pretty much adds to that.

    But it's also ESPN's, 4th or 5th go round with this entity.
  7. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    I got some free tickets to an arena-football game one time and both my son and I were bored. we left before it was over.

    I suppose since ESPN has a stake, we'll now get "Arena Football Tonight."
  8. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member


    I assume you're bothered by this from a media bias angle, tp. That's admirable, but in this case it's a waste of energy. First, it's not like ESPN is a paragon of journalistic virtue (hey, if they're going to lift from everyone else, why not take the next step of owning its subject), and second, media companies owning sports entities isn't new and hasn't been for a long time. Third, as has been noted, it's arena football, and nobody gives a shit (source: Mizzougrad96), though I'm surprised it has lasted this long.
  9. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    Here's the story ...

  10. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

  11. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    Yeah, Zeke, the title Does this bother anyone else? really tells me that ESPN and the AFL are together now.
  12. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Well, for that discussion, talk to whoever started the other thread...
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