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Sharks gain ESPN coverage, lose Markee White

WR Markee White, trying to catch a pass against his former team, will face them again next season as a member of the LA KISS.
WR Markee White, trying to catch a pass against his former team, will face them again next season as a member of the LA KISS.
Erik Watkins

In a case of good news and bad news for Sharks fans, Jacksonville will get more television and internet exposure starting next season, but they'll do so without one of their star wide receivers.

Today, the Arena Football League announced a multi-year broadcast deal with ESPN. This means that ESPN will broadcast AFL games for the first time since the end of the 2008 season; and in conjunction with CBS Sports Network, more than 100 Arena Football League games will be televised throughout the 2014 season.

CBS Sports Network will air 20 regular season games, including playoff games and their NET10 Wireless Arena Football Saturday package. ESPN will air more than 85 games across multiple networks, ESPN3, and the WatchESPN app. Both CBS Sports Network and ESPN2 will each carry a Conference Championship game, and ArenaBowl XXVII will air on ESPN.

Although CBS Sports Network will remain the primary broadcast partner of the Arena Football League, securing this deal with ESPN will give the league coverage that they haven’t enjoyed since ESPN and TNN were partners in the early to mid-2000s. Along with ESPN’s digital platforms, this will undoubtedly be the greatest broadcast presence the Arena Football League has ever had.

However, with more exposure comes a bit of a blow. The Jacksonville Sharks announced that they traded WR Markee White to the Los Angeles KISS. The transaction also sees the two teams trade claim-order positions for players on waivers.

White (6’7”, 215 lbs.) spent just one season in Jacksonville, catching a career-high 105 passes for 1,133 yards and 19 touchdowns as a complementary #2 receiver to Jeron Harvey. The KISS will be White’s fourth team in five seasons in the Arena Football League after graduating from Texas State University. He made his league debut with the Spokane Shock in 2010, catching 95 passes for 1,228 yards and 20 touchdowns during his Seattle tenure. He was named Offensive Player of the Game for his four-touchdown performance against the Tampa Bay Storm in ArenaBowl XXIII.

He continued his career with the Arizona Rattlers, catching 30 passes for 425 yards and eight touchdowns on his way to winning ArenaBowl XXV. The following March, Jacksonville acquired him in a preseason trade with the Rattlers.

For more of the latest news and transactions leading up to the 2014 Jacksonville Sharks season, log on to www.jaxsharks.com. For more on the rest of the Arena Football League, log on to www.arenafootball.com and www.arenafan.com.