WSJ reports on a media company’s investment in the product it covers.
ESPN acquired national TV rights to the Arena Football League on Tuesday and also will have a minority stake in the 19-team indoor league.
The network will have a regular Monday night slot in which it will televise 14 games from March through June. The ArenaBowl title game in New Orleans will be July 29 on ABC, which also will show two regional season openers March 4 on Sunday afternoon.
ESPN also will have extensive multimedia rights in the five-year deal that includes everything from Internet to radio to publishing to international distribution.
“This isn’t dating; this is getting married,” AFL commissioner David Baker said. “They are officially an AFL owner.
“It is good for our fans,” added Mr. Baker, who is 10 years on the job and has seen franchise values increase from $400,000 each to about $20 million. “We have extremely young demographics who generally turn to [ESPN] as the first place to find sports information.”