Arena Football League on ESPN
Presented by(see below)
Country of originUnited States
Running time3 hours
Original release
NetworkESPN (1987–2002, 2007–2008, 2014–2019)
ESPN2 (1995–1999, 2007–2008, 2014–2019)
ESPNEWS (2014–2019)
ESPN3 (2014–2019)
ABC (1998–2002, 2007–2008)
ESPN Deportes (2016–2019)
Release1987 (1987) –
2019 (2019)

Arena Football League on ESPN was a presentation of the Arena Football League with games airing on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes. As with all other sports broadcasting on the ESPN family of networks, all Arena Football games had aired on The WatchESPN App. It was previously aired from 1987 until 2002 and then again from 2007 until 2008. When the league folded in 2019, the contract was over.


1987–1988, 1992–2002

ESPN was the original broadcaster for Arena Football games, showing games live in the league's first two seasons, 1987 and 1988. ESPN signed a six-year contract with the AFL in 1987, but was given the option to opt out of the contract if they were not getting the rating they wanted.[1]

Partially because of turmoil within the league itself, ESPN did not broadcast Arena Football again until 1992, when they broadcast six games and the ArenaBowl on an overnight, tape delay basis. Starting in 1993, ESPN started showing games live or at least not during overnight hours.

When ESPN2 was formed, the telecasts began to air more frequently on the new network. ESPN2 began televising a more standard schedule of Arena Football League regular season and playoff games from 19951999.

ESPN subsequently began televising AFL playoff games from 2000-02.

It originally had aired the inaugural ArenaBowl live in 1987, while ABC (under the Wide World of Sports umbrella) aired the ArenaBowl five consecutive years from 199802.

2007-2008 agreement

On December 19, 2006, ESPN and the Arena Football League agreed to a five-year agreement that includes extensive multimedia rights and a minimum of 26 televised games per season, beginning in 2007 and lasting until 2011. As part of the deal, ESPN purchased a minority stake, reportedly ten percent, in the AFL. The network will gain privileged financial information, but insists that it will not give the AFL more favorable coverage on shows like SportsCenter as a result.[2] ESPN televised a minimum of 17 regular-season games and nine playoff games—including a minimum of three Wild Card games, three Divisional Playoff games, both Conference Championships and the ArenaBowl on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. ESPN had an exclusive window for weekly Monday night prime time games on ESPN2. Both the season opener and ArenaBowl were on ABC, where three wild card games, two divisional games and one conference championship were on ESPN and the seventeen regular season Monday night games, one wild card game, two divisional games and one conference championship game was all on ESPN2.

2007 schedule

Week Date Time Game Score Network
Week 1 Sunday, March 4, 2007 12:30pm Chicago Rush at Kansas City Brigade KC 54, CHI 41 ABC
Sunday, March 4, 2007 12:30pm Dallas Desperados at New York Dragons DAL 60, NY 7 ABC
Week 2 Monday, March 12, 2007 7pm Los Angeles Avengers at Orlando Predators LA 44, ORL 37 ESPN2
Week 4 Thursday, March 22, 2007 7pm Colorado Crush at Philadelphia Soul PHI 71, COL 47 ESPN2
Monday, March 26, 2007 7pm Dallas Desperados at Orlando Predators DAL 70, ORL 42 ESPN2
Week 5 Sunday, April 1, 2007 1:30pm Los Angeles Avengers at Chicago Rush CHI 66, LA 31 ESPN2
Week 6 Monday, April 9, 2007 7:30pm Georgia Force at Philadelphia Soul GA 57, PHI 49 ESPN2
Week 7 Monday, April 16, 2007 8pm Philadelphia Soul at Dallas Desperados PHI 41, DAL 51 ESPN2
Week 8 Monday, April 23, 2007 7:30pm Philadelphia Soul at Columbus Destroyers PHI 21, CLB 44 ESPN2
Week 9 Monday, April 30, 2007 8pm Philadelphia Soul at Chicago Rush PHI 43, CHI 54 ESPN2
Week 10 Monday, May 7, 2007 8pm Colorado Crush at Chicago Rush COL 48, CHI 59 ESPN2
Week 11 Monday, May 14, 2007 8:30pm Chicago Rush at Dallas Desperados* CHI 48, DAL 52 ESPN2
Week 12 Monday, May 21, 2007 7:30pm New Orleans VooDoo at Philadelphia Soul NO 34, PHI 78 ESPN2
Week 13 Monday, May 28, 2007 8pm New York Dragons at New Orleans VooDoo NY 69, NO 63 ESPN2
Week 14 Monday, June 4, 2007 10:30pm Colorado Crush at Utah Blaze COL 14, UTA 51 ESPN2
Week 15 Monday, June 11, 2007 10pm Los Angeles Avengers at Arizona Rattlers LA 55, ARI 52 ESPN2
Week 16 Monday, June 18, 2007 10pm Chicago Rush at Colorado Crush CHI 66, COL 57 ESPN2
Week 17 Monday, June 25, 2007 10pm Dallas Desperados at Colorado Crush DAL 77 COL 58 ESPN2
Wildcard Friday, June 29, 2007 7pm Orlando Predators at Philadelphia Soul ORL 26, PHI 41 ESPN
Saturday, June 30, 2007 12pm Columbus Destroyers at Tampa Bay Storm CLB 56 TB 55 ESPN
Saturday, June 30, 2007 3pm Colorado Crush at Kansas City Brigade COL 49, KC 42 ESPN
Monday, July 2, 2007 10pm Utah Blaze at Los Angeles Avengers UTA 42, LA 64 ESPN2
Divisional Saturday, July 7, 2007 3pm Colorado Crush at San Jose Sabercats COL 67 SJ 76 ESPN
Saturday, July 7, 2007 8pm Columbus Destroyers at Dallas Desperados CLB 66 DAL 59 ESPN
Sunday, July 8, 2007 7pm Philadelphia Soul at Georgia Force PHI 39 GEO 65 ESPN2
Monday, July 9, 2007 8:30pm Los Angeles Avengers at Chicago Rush LA 20 CHI 52 ESPN2
Conference Championship Saturday, July 14, 2007 1pm Columbus Destroyers at Georgia Force CLB 66 GEO 56 ESPN*
Saturday, July 14, 2007 4pm Chicago Rush at San Jose SaberCats CHI 49 SJ 61 ESPN*
ArenaBowl XXI Sunday, July 29, 2007 3pm Columbus Destroyers at San Jose SaberCats CLB 33 SJ 55 ABC

[1] *Schedule change


Some AFL fans complained that the TV schedule “inequitably favored teams” such as the Philadelphia Soul, Chicago Rush, and Colorado Crush, teams whose ownerships include, respectively, Jon Bon Jovi, Mike Ditka and John Elway. 14 of the 17 ESPN games had at least Chicago, Philadelphia or Colorado playing. The Soul (whose part-owner and team president is former AFL on ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski) have appeared in seven of the 17 regular season games on ESPN platforms, more than any other team in the league.[3] This criticism was also present when NBC went out of their way to not let some teams appear on their schedule. In 2008, the Chicago Rush have nine regular season games on ESPN and ABC, while the 2007 Arena Bowl Champion San Jose SaberCats have just one, week one against the Chicago Rush, and the New York Dragons had 1, a 10:30 game versus the Colorado Crush. Other criticism includes the scheduling of games on various days and times, as opposed to a weekly AFL gameday.[citation needed]


ESPN returned to the AFL (in 2014) as broadcast partners, with weekly games shown on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, and all other games available live and free on ESPN3.[4] ESPN Deportes and ESPN Latin America had broadcast AFL games in Spanish from 2016 to 2019, when the league folded.[citation needed]


Former broadcasters of the AFL on ESPN and ABC included Mike Gleason, Gary Danielson, Brent Musburger, Merril Hoge, and Holly Rowe.


Early on, ESPN said they would use "some prominent faces in the broadcast booth" and ended up going with the duo of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic from ESPN Radio and ESPN2's Mike and Mike in the Morning for their number one team. The second team will consist of NFL Live's Trey Wingo and Mark Schlereth with the third being Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge. On May 2007, Mark Jones replaced Jaworski, who focuses on his new Monday Night Football role. Jay Rothman, producer of Monday Night Football, and Bryan Ryder will also produce the Monday night Arena Football games on ESPN2. The announcements were made on January 16, 2007.[5][6]

Team Play-by-play Analyst(s) Field reporter Producer(s)
1 Mike Greenberg Mike Golic Jay Rothman
Bryan Ryder
2 Trey Wingo Mark Schlereth
3 Mark Jones Merril Hoge
4 Dave Pasch Ray Bentley

The other play-by-play announcer used on playoff games is Bob Wischusen.


Pasch, Wischusen, and Bentley returned to their respective roles while Marcellus Wiley and Shaun King joined as color commentators. The tandems of Greenberg-Golic and Wingo-Schlereth would not reprise their roles as play-by-play men in 2008.

The replays of classic Arena Football games that had aired on ESPN Classic in 2007 would also be dropped in 2008.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Linda Young (July 10, 1987). "Espn Holding The Line On Arenaball". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 11, 2013.
  2. ^ ESPN Buys Stake in the Arena Football League - 19 December 2006 11:35:00 AM - Broadcasting & Cable
  3. ^ CableFAX
  4. ^ Vaughn Johnson (2013-12-03). "Leaked document reveals ESPN as new national television partner for Arena Football League". Interstate General Media, LLC. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  5. ^ Topic Galleries -[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ ESPN MediaZone - A Resource for Media Professionals
  7. ^ ESPN announces 2008 AFL talent[dead link]. Arena Football League. 26 February 2008.