The eight-episode series will pit the nation’s top 13 Madden NFL 08 gamers – each representing a real-life NFL player sponsor – against each other in elimination-style tournaments. NFL stars Matt Leinart, Larry Johnson, and Steven Jackson will be among the players featured during the gamers’ nine-city bus tour. The finale, which takes place in New York City’s Times Square, will be televised Tuesday, Oct. 30, with the Madden Nation winner claiming a $100,000 prize.
“After seeing the enthusiasm of fans from last year’s competition, we look forward to bringing them another action-packed series with this year’s Madden Nation, featuring more NFL players and some unforeseen plot twists,” said Ron Semiao, senior vice president, original events, ESPN Content Development.
With scenarios designed to test players’ skills, the tournament features the gamers competing in teams of two to maintain their place and make it to the next round of play. However, each round-one player from the losing team must face a "free agent" vying for his or her spot on the bus and in the competition. Tour stops include NFL cities Dallas, Kansas City, St Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Buffalo, Boston and New York – all en route to the finale in Times Square.
“Madden Nation is a great window into the passion and spirit of competition that lives in the Madden community” said Brandon Barber, Director of Entertainment Marketing at EA. “This year's Madden Nation is proof that video games can make great television and of the great collaboration between EA and ESPN in pursuing that goal."
This year’s contestants were selected for the series from a pool of more than 7,000 applicants and the top levels of competitive gaming, including 2007 EA SPORTS Madden Challenge Regional Tournaments and online competitions. The 13 finalists represent nine states and feature the series’ first female contestant. Each gamer is matched with an NFL player and meets him along the tour.