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ESPN Suits Up for ‘Madden’ TV Special

Apr 17, 2006  •  Post A Comment

ESPN is set to reteam with game developer Electronic Arts for a prime-time special based on the best-selling video game series “Madden NFL Football.”

Dubbed “Madden Bowl,” the special will cover the 12-year-old Madden Bowl event, billed as the longest-running video game tournament. The event is held annually, two days before the Super Bowl.

In the special, eight NFL players will play EA’s “Madden NFL ’06” head-to-head, using their own virtual likenesses, in the latest version of the annually updated game.

The event is hosted by ESPN’s Trey Wingo and will run over two nights-April 20 and 27.

The coverage marks ESPN’s second “Madden” programming effort. The first was a six-part gaming reality series, “Madden Nation,” which pitted expert home-game players against real-life NFL players. The series debuted in December and averaged 400,000 households, according to Nielsen Media Research.

ESPN is planning more “Madden”-based programming, but network officials declined to elaborate on the details of their plans.

“Madden NFL Football” has sold more than 46 million copies in the game franchise’s 16-year history, according to ESPN.

Last year ESPN announced a long-term partnership with Electronic Arts to produce ESPN-branded games under the banner of EA Sports. The first title, “MVP ’06 NCAA Baseball,” was released in January.