ESPN to expand TV and digital coverage of NCAA Division I wrestling championships
For the First Time, All Six Sessions on TV and Every Match on ESPN3
ESPN will expand its TV and digital coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on March 20-22 by televising all six sessions and carrying every match on ESPN3, both for the first time. ESPN will televise the semifinals and championship finals whileESPNU willair the preliminary sessionsand medal round.The entire tournament will be available on WatchESPN.
The tournament from Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., will begin Thursday, March 20, with the first and second sessions– never before televised – on ESPNU. ESPN3’s individual mat feeds will allow fans to watch every match, including the wrestle-back bracket, accompanied by live commentary throughout the tournament. Additionally, for computer users, ESPN3 will once again offer multi-mat simultaneous viewing which allows fans to watch up to four different mats at one time.
“We’ve seen significant audience growth in our NCAA Wrestling Championships coverage over the last few years which reflects the insatiable appetite wrestling fans have for live competition,” said Brent Colborne, ESPN director of programming and acquisitions. “The addition of the first two sessions on television, combined with our ‘every mat, every match’ digital strategy will provide the ultimate viewing experience for them.”
The 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships finals were the most-viewed since 2004, the first year ESPN televised the finals live. Overall, ESPN and ESPNU’s 2013 Wrestling Championships coverage reached 5.4 million viewers in the course of two days. Digitally, ESPN3 and WatchESPN combined to generate 12.68 million live minutes viewed throughout three days of coverage, up 13% from 2012.
2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Schedule
Date Time (ET) Session Number of Mats Network
Thu, March 20 Noon – 3:30 p.m. First Session Eight Mats ESPNU/ESPN3
7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Second Session Eight Mats ESPNU/ESPN3
Fri, March 21 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Third Session – Quarterfinals Eight Mats ESPNU/ESPN3
8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Fourth Session – Semifinals Six Mats ESPN/ESPN3
Sat, March 22 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Fifth Session – Medal Round Three Mats ESPNU/ESPN3
8:00 p.m. – 11 p.m. Sixth Session – Championship Finals One Mat ESPN/ESPN3
ESPN began covering the NCAA Wrestling Division I Championships in 1980. Live telecasts of the championship finals began in 2004 and preliminary round telecasts began in 2005. Since 2011, ESPN has provided live coverage of all six sessions on ESPN3.