For the last decade, ESPN involvement in video games has been pretty limited. In the early 2010s, the worldwide leader in sports was the broadcast partner for the EA Sports NCAA Football series until it ended in 2013. Aside from that, the only place you saw ESPN branding was in NBA Live.
ESPN and EA Sports signed a 15-year agreement in 2005 that recently came to an end with no official extension announced. However, that doesn’t mean ESPN wants to be out of lending its broadcast to sports gaming.
According to sources within the Bristol-based network, ESPN has begun the process of opening negotiations with EA to bring full broadcasts into more EA Sports video games. With ESPN now the home of UFC and NHL coverage, the company wants its branding out in as many properties as possible.
ESPN is looking to bring its broadcast package to future UFC, NHL, FIFA, and even Madden NFL and College Football games. Currently, all games feature custom broadcast packages, though UFC does feature a close-to-broadcast feel with its broadcast team of Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier. For FIFA, there is a Premier League broadcast package for the league.
Where Do Things Stand With ESPN Video Games?
Talks are in a very early stage, SGO is told, with a deal nowhere close to being completed. For the most part, all talks are taking place at a very high level with only certain executives involved. That said, ESPN is serious about trying to get things done in time for the 2022-2023 release cycle.
The company was said to be interested in working with 2K Sports to bring its presentation into NBA 2K. Those talks, though, didn’t make it off the ground due to 2K Sports being happy with where the broadcast is at this time. A partnership for other products could still be worked out in the future, however.
Should ESPN not be able to bring broadcasts into games from EA Sports and/or 2K Sports in the near future, the company is said to want to be a part of video games again in some way, shape, or form.
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