Author Topic: ESPN Acquires Minority Stake +TV Rights for Arena Football  (Read 1192 times)

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Offline JMW IV

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Updated: Dec. 19, 2006, 3:05 PM ET
ESPN acquires minority stake, TV rights in AFL
ESPN.com

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.

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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


this is a VERY good look for the Arena Football League.  It's gonna give them a LOT more exposure.

Offline 2k6nats

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This is great news for Arena Football.  The only intelligent thing I can say for Arena football is that the video game is great :)

Offline Dave B

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Arena football has survived a while probably like 20 years.  I dont know how much bigger it will get.  It had some decent exposure on NBC.  Although prior to this year people probably forgot about NBC because it had no major sports

Offline UMDNats

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Anything to get poker off the damn TV

Offline JMW IV

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http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=14034

from the Horse's mouth.

Quote
Charlie (DC): In an article a DC expansion team was mentioned. Is it possible for this upcoming season, or will it be more likely in future seasons?

SportsNation David Baker: Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, has purchased the rights to an AFL team in DC. We're talking to his people right now about the potential about having a team in that area in 2008. It's not done yet, but we are encouraged.


David Baker is the Commissioner of the AFL.

Offline Dave B

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Quote from: "JMadisonIV"
http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=14034

from the Horse's mouth.

Quote
Charlie (DC): In an article a DC expansion team was mentioned. Is it possible for this upcoming season, or will it be more likely in future seasons?

SportsNation David Baker: Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, has purchased the rights to an AFL team in DC. We're talking to his people right now about the potential about having a team in that area in 2008. It's not done yet, but we are encouraged.


David Baker is the Commissioner of the AFL.


Are you going to jump allegiances from the NY Dragons?

Offline JMW IV

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Quote from: "Dave B"
Quote from: "JMadisonIV"
http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=14034

from the Horse's mouth.

Quote
Charlie (DC): In an article a DC expansion team was mentioned. Is it possible for this upcoming season, or will it be more likely in future seasons?

SportsNation David Baker: Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, has purchased the rights to an AFL team in DC. We're talking to his people right now about the potential about having a team in that area in 2008. It's not done yet, but we are encouraged.


David Baker is the Commissioner of the AFL.


Are you going to jump allegiances from the NY Dragons?


whoever said I cared about the New York Dragons?

Offline Dave B

  • Posts: 6036
Quote from: "JMadisonIV"
Quote from: "Dave B"
Quote from: "JMadisonIV"
http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=14034

from the Horse's mouth.

Quote
Charlie (DC): In an article a DC expansion team was mentioned. Is it possible for this upcoming season, or will it be more likely in future seasons?

SportsNation David Baker: Dan Snyder, the owner of the Redskins, has purchased the rights to an AFL team in DC. We're talking to his people right now about the potential about having a team in that area in 2008. It's not done yet, but we are encouraged.


David Baker is the Commissioner of the AFL.


Are you going to jump allegiances from the NY Dragons?


whoever said I cared about the New York Dragons?


i was joking because i knew you were a giants fan and seemed excited about arena football in DC.  so i jokingly presumed you like NY+arena football = dragons

Offline JMW IV

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nah.

i don't follow the AFL seriously enough to claim a team.

though that could change if DC gets one.

Offline PC

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Unless Dan Snyder builds his own arena, he likely wouldn't have a place to play.  Verizon Center already has two occupants during the Arena League season.

Actually, Washington would probably benefit from a second, smaller indoor sports arena.

Offline 2k6nats

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Columbus Destroyers
Dallas Desperados
New York Dragons
Philadelphia Soul
Austin Wranglers
Georgia Force
New Orleans VooDoo
Orlando Predators
Tampa Bay Storm
Chicago Rush
Colorado Crush
Grand Rapids Rampage
Kansas City Brigade
Nashville Kats
Arizona Rattlers
Las Vegas Gladiators
Los Angeles Avengers
San Jose SaberCats
Utah Blaze

These are all the teams in the AFL.  I'll be rooting for Philadelphia if I decide to become a fan of the AFL, because they're close, and because they are by far the most featured on the new ESPN deal.

Offline JMW IV

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Quote from: "PC"
Unless Dan Snyder builds his own arena, he likely wouldn't have a place to play.  Verizon Center already has two occupants during the Arena League season.

Actually, Washington would probably benefit from a second, smaller indoor sports arena.


technically....the AFL season barely overlaps basketball/hockey season.

the AFL starts in March this year.

so I could see them playing at the Verizon Center.

but if not, there is always the Comcast Center as well.