With the recent addition of the LA Kiss franchise, The Arena Football League showed the desire to make “high-octane” football relevant once again and not just in the markets that its 14 teams call home like Los Angeles, but globally as well.
On Tuesday a major step was made in that direction when it was announced that ESPN had acquired the rights to air more than 85 AFL games on the ESPN family of networks.
“ESPN has a long history of working with the Arena Football League and this new agreement is a great opportunity to showcase the AFL as part of our year-round commitment to football,” said Matthew Volk, ESPN director, programming and acquisitions.
But this will not be the first time that the games will be aired on ESPN — The very first ArenaBowl in 1987 between the Denver Dynamite and the Pittsburgh Gladiators was aired on the network and featured College Gameday’s Lee Corso as one of the game announcers.
“The AFL’s return to ESPN is the latest example of the strides our sport has made in recent years,” said AFL Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz. “Having the ArenaBowl on the ESPN family of networks for years to come puts our Championship game alongside some of the most prominent events in television.”
Regular season and playoff games were subsequently covered by the popular sports network in the ’90s and into 2000’s as well.
10 regular season and postseason games will be covered on its television networks and the other 75 games will be accessible through ESPN3, ESPN live multi-screen sports network, or WatchESPN.com (if applicable through your internet provider)