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Disney to Air ‘Madden’ E-Sports Series

January 26, 2018, 6:32 PM UTC

One of the video game industry’s most popular titles is headed to Disney XD.

Electronic Arts, Disney (DIS), and the National Football League have signed a deal that will have the children’s channel and ESPN2 broadcast e-sports tournaments centered around the popular Madden franchise.

Madden isn’t the best-selling title every year, but it’s typically among the top 10 annual sellers, has a long history, and boasts a dedicated player base that spans far beyond the world of core gamers. The deal covers broadcast rights to the upcoming Madden NFL 18 Championship Series, an e-sports tournament of the game’s best players that begins Feb. 2.

The broadcasts will fill the gap between Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 and the NFL draft in late April.

It’s a move that could boost ratings at Disney XD, a channel aimed at the tween audience. E-sports are increasingly popular among young audiences and offer publishers a chance to reach potential new players. Competitive gaming is being considered as a part of the 2024 Olympics, primarily to bring in a younger audience. And a number of colleges are now offering e-sports programs.

ESPN2, meanwhile, will air an episodic series centered on the championship, focusing on characters and storylines that emerge. It will launch in April and run for one month.