ESPN Returns to Arena Football League

The Arena League is coming back to ESPN, thanks to a new multiyear agreement that starts next year.

The new deal grants ESPN rights to more than 10 regular-season and postseason contests per year, including ArenaBowl and one conference championship game, as well as 75 or more games annually on ESPN3. ESPN’s video player will also be available on the AFL website, Financial terms were not disclosed.

CBS Sports Network will remain the AFL’s primary regular-season network during the 2014 season, and will also air some playoff action.

“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.

ESPN televised the very first ArenaBowl live in 1987; since then, the network aired a combination of AFL regular season and playoff games for five years (1995-99), AFL playoff games from 2000-02 and both regular season and playoff games from 2007-08. Additionally, ABC presented the ArenaBowl for five years from 1998-2002.

The LA KISS, owned by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS, will begin play this year in the AFL.