SBJ/January 16 - 22, 2006/E Sports

EA takes it inside with its first AFL game

Electronic Arts will launch its first Arena Football League title next month, just after the Jan. 27 start of the league’s 20th anniversary season.

A TV spot will debut in the first week of February from Wieden & Kennedy, which depicts some AFL fans literally ripping apart their homes with an indoor pickup football game. The tag line is, “It’s different indoors.”

The ad will run on ESPN, BET, MTV and other cable outlets.

Additional support for the game includes online ads on ESPN.com and video-game sites. At AFL venues, the game will be promoted on video boards via a Champs-sponsored “Pick the Play’’ contest.“At minimum, we want to make sure every AFL fan knows about the game,” said Kendall Boyd, EA product manager for the title. “It’s now our introductory game, so the consumer is younger and we made it more accessible to younger consumers and the marketing reflects that.”

John Dutton, quarterback of the champion Colorado Crush, is on the cover of the $29 EA Sports Arena Football. It will be available for PlayStation 2 and Microsoft XBox consoles.

The title is also thought to be the first to include a commissioner. Players can have AFL boss David Baker read the league’s “Fans Bill of Rights’’ during timeouts.

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