Russell Athletic will sponsor Arena Football for the next five years starting this season on all regular and post season telecasts on ESPN networks and ABC. Russell Athletic will also be the exclusive uniform provider for the league and will debut its innovative performance technology, the Xtreme Compression (XC) jersey, during the March 4th season opener.
The official title of the telecast will be Russell Athletic ESPN Arena Football, which debuts with a pair of ABC regional telecasts on Sunday, March 4 at 12:30 p.m. ET — Dallas Desperados at New York Dragons and Chicago Rush at Kansas City Brigade.
“Not only will you hear the Russell name during AFL telecasts, you'll see this exciting league's talented players wearing our uniforms,” said Doug Kelly, President of Russell Athletic. “This unique 5-year naming rights entitlement agreement with ESPN is a natural extension of our strong commitment to the AFL.”
Russell Athletic will also entitle a special one-hour AFL season preview show on ESPN2 Tuesday, February 27 at 7 p.m., as well as a playoff preview show on ESPN2 Friday, June 29 at 7 p.m.
Russell said its state-of-the-art XC jersey includes compression fit material that is difficult to grab, ventilator technology to accelerate body cooling, Dri-Power technology to wick moisture away from the body, and Anti-Microbial technology to help eliminate odor.
The Russell Athletic ESPN Arena Football Preview Show will feature ESPN's AFL commentators Mike Greenberg, Mike Golic and Merril Hoge with guest appearances by Philadelphia Soul President Ron Jaworski and team owners Jon Bon Jovi (Philadelphia), Mike Ditka (Chicago) and John Elway (Colorado). The program will take a look back at ArenaBowl XX and some of the top plays in league history and breakdown the upcoming season.