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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

FXFL signs an ESPN deal

Forbes excerpt 

ESPN Agrees To Broadcast New FXFL Professional Football League 

The National Basketball Association has the NBA Developmental League (D-League).  Major League Baseball has Minor League Baseball. The National Football League has no true “minor league” system where players not fortunate enough to find themselves on a 53-man roster or team’s practice squad can continue to perform in conditions similar to NFL-style game play.  The Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL) hopes to become that “minor league” for the NFL and a broadcasting agreement with ESPN will help the FXFL achieve its goals.

The FXFL and ESPN have signed an agreement that will obligate ESPN to broadcast the FXFL’s inaugural season on the ESPN3 network. The deal will provide the FXFL national coverage on ESPN, which serves as ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network on the Internet.

FXFL Commissioner Brian Woods says that the arrangement with ESPN is a welcome addition to the existing relationships that the FXFL has cultivated with regional networks.  He says that the FXFL’s current distribution with regional networks will put the FXFL in front of 80-90 million cable subscribers, including SportsNet New York (SNY), New England Sports Network (NESN) and Comcast Chicago.  Woods adds that the FXFL seems to pick up another regional partner every three or four days and remains optimistic that the FXFL will land a few more partners before the inaugural season kicks off on October 8 at 8:00 p.m. EST when Boston plays at Omaha.

The FXFL wishes to become a true developmental platform for players, coaches and prospective NFL referees.  Opportunities are few and far between for NFL franchises to develop young players that cannot make the cut onto a 53-man roster or practice squad.  The NFL knows it needs a developmental league for those players as well as to test out proposed rules changes and additionally prepare prospective referees before throwing them into regular or preseason NFL match-ups.

“We have kept an open line of communications with the NFL and I definitely think there are interests on their end,” Woods said who has spoken to NFL executives throughout the formative process of the FXFL.  ”The long-term goal of this league is to establish an official relationship or be recognized by the NFL as its official developmental league.  ESPN has a very close tie-in with the NFL and I think many people including John Clayton, Mike Golic and others have really shown me their support on this.  Having an affiliation with ESPN is something that is going to enhance us with our efforts to build that bridge into the NFL.”

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