Electronic Arts recently announced that Calvin Johnson, Jr., wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, was selected by millions of fans across the country to grace the cover of Madden NFL 13, which will hit store shelves August 28. Johnson, a No. 6 seed, defeated fellow NFL Pro Bowler Cam Newton, a No.1seed, in a thrilling matchup culminating in a live unveiling on ESPN’s SportsNation and a cover photo shoot for the winner in New York City’s Times Square. This year’s vote campaign surpassed last year’s totals by 54% (19.6 million vs. 12.7 million), ending with Johnson triumphing over Newton by a final margin of 52% to 48%.
Nearly 20 million votes were cast during the seven week campaign (March 7 to April 25) through SportsNation online and via the mobile web, marking a new engagement record for an ESPN poll. Supported by integrations across multiple ESPN platforms, including TV, radio, online, mobile, social media, ESPN Deportes and more, fans rallied and supported Johnson as he beat teammate Matt Stafford in the newly introduced play-in round. He carried his strong momentum through the bracket of 32 all the way to victory beating No. 11 seed Dwayne Bowe, No. 3 seed Arian Foster, No. 2 seed Rob Gronkowski and No. 1 seed Aaron Rodgers in the final four before triumphing over Newton in the finale.
“The Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote has been bigger and better than ever thanks to all of our fans voting in record-setting fashion to honor Calvin Johnson, Jr. and we are thrilled to have him be the next face of the Madden NFL franchise,” said Anthony Stevenson, Madden NFL 13 director of marketing. “This year’s cover voting campaign had more rounds, more players and more votes than ever before, generating great conversations and debates amongst the fans and NFL players across multiple ESPN platforms and throughout social media. The amount of support that Johnson generated nationally and in his home market of Detroit was staggering.”
“This is the second year SportsNation was the home for the Madden NFL Cover Vote and it has been even more engaging than expected,” said Jamie Horowitz, VP of Original Programming and Production, ESPN. “SportsNation created a cross-platform experience like no other at ESPN, launching a play-in round on Facebook with more than 4 million votes, driving traffic to ESPN.com for a month of record-setting voting, and culminating with a live reveal show from New York City that was an exciting way for Johnson to learn of the fan’s ultimate decision.”
“This campaign is the latest example of what ESPN and EA have been doing for years together to serve sports fans,” said Raphael Poplock, Vice President, Games and Partnerships, ESPN. “From in-studio technology with Virtual Playbook, to authentic ESPN broadcast treatments within EA franchise games, and cross-platform social campaigns for the Madden NFL Cover Vote, our relationship continues to produce successful integrations and activations that engage fans in new and innovative ways.”
Madden NFL 13 will be available for the Xbox 360, Kinect, PlayStation 3, Wii, and PS Vita on August 28.