By Evan DeSimone
The NFL is continuing to grow its content offerings for digital fans. The league has partnered with game streaming outlet Twitch and video game publisher Electronic Arts to build a streaming live show around EA’s popular Madden gaming franchise.
The show, which carries the brand-heavy name “EA Sports Madden NFL Live,” debuted today on Twitch and NFL.com. The live streams will begin every Friday at 12 p.m. Eastern, with a rebroadcast on the NFL network on at 4 p.m. Clips will be made available on the NFL mobile app.
Fans that tune in will be treated to an hour of tips, tricks, and live game play from the wildly popular game. The show will be hosted by NFL Media presenter Adam Rank and former Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew. The sports media pros will be joined by Scott “Coltrane” Cole, a top ranked Madden player in the world of competitive eSports and one of Twitch’s most popular streaming personalities. The gang will be playing and commenting on “Madden NFL 16,” the latest iteration of the franchise, which hit shelves just one month ago.
The NFL’s embrace of digital entertainment and gaming culture doesn’t end there. The league is also teaming with EA for a second project. The stop motion animated series, “The Madden 16” was developed for the NFL by advertising agency Heat as a way to engage millennial audiences with content that bridges the worlds of professional sports and competitive gaming. The series will be produced by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the digital studio best known for its work on the web series incarnation of perennial millennial favorite “Robot Chicken.” Inspired by the latest iteration of EA’s Madden NFL franchise, which dropped in August, the series will release weekly episodes featuring the voices and likenesses of some of the NFL’s biggest stars.
The new programming comes at a time when the NFL is actively building up its digital content catalog and consolidating its digital outlets. The league recently shuttered its streaming platform NFL Now and pulled much of its premium content from destinations like NFL.com and NFL mobile in order to centralize its most attractive digital content on NFL GamePass, a new premium streaming outlet priced at $100 per month. Despite the rush to consolidate, the NFL is cautiously embracing the distributed content landscape by re-upping its deal with Snapchat. In a signal that demand for NFL content remains nearly insatiable, the NFL Players Association has formed its own media outlet, ACE, to produce content for web and traditional outlets.