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The Madden NFL series has a strong following and are huge sellers every single year. Gamers love the games, EA loves putting them out, and even some of the actual NFL players are into it. Well, I suppose it makes sense that Madden NFL competitions would be eligible for airing on television, right?
According to Game Informer, EA signed a deal with ESPN and Disney XD, where some Madden NFL eSports competitions will air on national cable television. In fact, during Super Bowl LII on February 1st, it's being reported that you'll be able to pop on your tele and tune into ESPN2 to check out the Madden NFL 18 Club Championship finals. So there will be two big football sporting events happening over the course of the Super Bowl weekend.
Additionally, the report notes that Disney XD will also be airing Madden NFL 18 games at some undisclosed point in February, giving gamers and sports fans an opportunity to check out the eSports division of some of the industry's most popular games. Disney XD also is shy in airing other popular games on the network as well, such as Overwatch, which actually seems to fit right in line with Disney's content given how similar the entire visual aesthetic of the series is to Disney's Pixar branch.
There's also going to be special coverage of Madden NFL's Ultimate Challenge, which is a one-on-one competition between the 16 very best players of the game around the world. The tournament will be broadcast across ESPN2 starting February 2nd. The broadcasting deal for this particular tournament isn't for very long, though, and will run for only two and a half months to the middle of April.
However, ESPN already has a line-up of other content set to air for Madden NFL following the conclusion of the Ultimate Challenge. Starting in April, there will be an episodic program based around the Ultimate League, which will chronicle the journey some players make toward the big time in the eSports league for EA Sports' premiere football game. This series will air on ESPN every Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern Standard Time. The series will only run for a few weeks up until May 1st the following month. And given that this will air during the downtime of the football off season, there shouldn't be too many complaints from fans of the real-life NFL about eSports clogging up the programming, especially considering that the electronic sports pastime gets a lot of flak from fans of real sports because they claim that eSports isn't a real sport.
EA Sports is also apparently rearranging the way the in-game quality of life features work so that players will be able to easily follow the eSports action taking place through the broadcasts with an update for Madden NFL 18.
Of course, EA wouldn't pass up an opportunity to also get in on the Ultimate Team action, which is why there will be special Madden Ultimate Team content packs made available for a limited time to coincide with the Ultimate League broadcasts that will air on ESPN.