Seventh Year All 63 Games on ESPN Networks; 2009 Commentator Line-Up
ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN360.com and ESPN FULL COURT will combine to present all 63 games from the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship for the seventh consecutive year. During the first-and second- rounds, ESPN and ESPN2 will present 48 games within 12 telecast windows, while ESPN FULL COURT, the out-of-market pay-per-view package, will offer complete game telecasts of all 48 games. The final 15 games from the regional semifinals, regional finals and Women’s Final Four will all have national telecast windows on ESPN or ESPN2. In all, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to present 63 NCAA Tournament games within 27 telecast windows. There will be more women’s NCAA Championship content featured across other ESPN entities, including ESPN.com, ESPNEWS, ESPN International, SportsCenter, ESPN Mobile TV and more.
For the second year in a row, ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband digital sports television network, will offer complete coverage of all 63 games, while ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will provide supplemental coverage during the first and second rounds. ESPNU will offer six of the early-round matchups, all of which are also offered regionally and/or as part of whip-around coverage on ESPN or ESPN2.
Starting with the regional semifinals, ESPN and ESPN2 will offer every game in high definition (HD). In addition to the Women’s Final Four, all four regional sites and women’s basketball studio specials will be available on either ESPN HD or ESPN2 HD.
Additionally, ESPN.com will feature robust coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, including analysis from Rebecca Lobo, in-game fan polls, chats, video highlights, features, plus bonus coverage on ESPNU.com provided by ESPN.com contributors Mechelle Voepel, Graham Hays and Charlie Creme.
Throughout the tourney, ESPNEWS will provide pre-game and post-game news conferences, pre-game and post-game live shots as well as interviews with key players and coaches. ESPNEWS will also have live look-ins as compelling games unfold on the road to the Women’s Final Four in St. Louis.
In a new twist to ESPN’s Tournament coverage, Lobo will provide behind-the-scenes insight into the world of women’s college basketball on Twitter through the NCAA Women’s Final Four in St. Louis. She’ll also share off-court thoughts about her day-to-day experiences and travels at http://twitter.com/RebeccaLobo. Trey Wingo will return for his fourth year to host all of ESPN’s studio coverage for the NCAA Women’s Tournament alongside fourth-year analysts Kara Lawson and first-year analyst Carolyn Peck. On April 5 and 7, Wingo, Lawson and Peck will take their show on the road as they host the network’s two on-site studio programs from the site of the 2009 Women’s Final Four Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. Mike Patrick, Doris Burke, Lobo and Holly Rowe will serve as the game commentators in St. Louis. A complete roster of ESPN’s talent assignments for the NCAA Women’s Tournament is listed below.
ESPN International will provide coverage of the National Semifinal games along with the National Championship to fans on ESPN in Latin America, ESPN Africa, ESPN Middle East, ESPN Pac Rim, ESPN Australia HD, ESPN Brazil, and ESPN America (Europe).
SportsCenter will present studio reports with host Wingo and analysts Lawson and Peck. Reporter Bob Holtzman will provide live reports from the Final Four in St. Louis.
FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS – REGIONALIZATION & HOME MARKET PROTECTION
Whip-around Coverage: For the first two rounds, multiple games (as many as four) will begin within one telecast window on ESPN or ESPN2 (note – games will have staggered tip times so each window will start with one particular game). During those windows, the networks plan to “whip-around” to the best action from different games for viewers in most of the nation (everywhere but the home markets of the competing teams). The networks plan frequent switches to and updates from other games as action dictates.
Regionalization/Home Market Protection: In the home markets of the competing teams, ESPN or ESPN2 will primarily televise the game of local interest. While constant updates from the other games will be provided, the networks, for the most part, will generally not switch to another game during live action, thereby establishing home market protection.
ESPNU: ESPNU will offer coverage of six early-round matchups, all of which are offered regionally and/or as part of whip-around coverage on ESPN and ESPN2. Five first-round games will be featured, while one second-round games will be televised.
ESPN FULL COURT To Feature All Early-Round Action: Viewers who want all early-round games in their entirety can receive them through ESPN FULL COURT, the out-of-market pay-per-view package. ESPN FULL COURT, available to cable and satellite customers, plans to showcase every first- and second-round game, a supplement to ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage (fans can order ESPN FULL COURT by calling local cable or satellite provider).