ESPN America Tipping Off Exclusive Coverage of NCAA® March Madness®
The pinnacle of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball season will be live and exclusive on ESPN America, as it brings European spectators extensive coverage of the NCAA Tournament.
The road to the annual tournament begins with Championship Week (6th through 13th March), when ESPN America will feature more than 25 games (live and delayed) from the Big East, Big 10, ACC, Big 12 and SEC conference tournament.
NCAA® MARCH MADNESS® tips off at 12am on 13th March with ESPN America’s live coverage of Selection Sunday, as the teams selected for the the tournament are revealed. A total of 68 teams will make the tournament “bracket” this year, 31 of which secure their place by winning their Conference Championship. The remaining 37 “at-large” teams are chosen by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Selection Committee based on a range of factors from their regular-season performances.
Among the most popular events on the US sporting calendar, NCAA® MARCH MADNESS® engages millions of fans supporting teams from colleges and universities around the country, watching on television and playing bracket games each year, predicting the outcomes of the tournament. The process is notoriously difficult, with millions – including President Obama the past two years – entering their guesses online through ESPN.com’s Tournament Challenge game.
The on-court action begins on Tuesday 15th March at 12am on ESPN America, with two first-round games and continues the next night with two additional first-round games. Two of the four first-round games will feature teams seeded 65th – 68th on the overall seed list, while the other two games will feature the last four of the at-large teams selected to the tournament. The tournament continues Thursday 17th March at 5pm, with 12 hours of live coverage featuring five consecutive live second-round games. Friday will feature the same, with five more live second-round games on the channel. ESPN America broadcasts another five third-round games both Saturday and Sunday, with the winning teams advancing to regional round of competition.
Throughout the second- and third-round action, ESPN will be delivering dynamic multi-game coverage, taking viewers around the multiple games, ensuring they see the greatest drama, action and competition from multiple games.
The regional semifinals, or Sweet Sixteen® games, start at 12am on Thursday 24th March and Friday 25th March, with the remaining teams just two wins away from the Final Four. ESPN America and ESPN America HD will again provide flexible coverage of all eight games taking place over the two days. All four regional finals, (known as the Elite Eight®), will be live across two days on ESPN America, beginning at 9pm on Saturday 26th March and 7 p.m. CEST* on 27th March.
The Final Four®, hosted this year in Houston, Texas, will bring together the victorious teams from the West, Southeast, East and Southwest Regional Finals at Reliant Stadium. The semifinals take place on Saturday 2nd April at 12am and 2:30 a.m. CEST*, and the NCAA Tournament Final will tip off at 3am on Monday 4th April – all live on ESPN America.
Teams expected to be selected to the tournament, and who will likely be highly-seeded, include Kansas, Texas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Duke, Brigham Young and San Diego State. This year, the Big East conference is expected to be heavily represented, as many of the conferences teams rank highly on the national including Notre Dame, Georgetown, Connecticut, Louisville and Syracuse.
Last year saw Duke pick up the crown with their first NCAA Tournament win in nine years, in a final watched by nearly 24 million viewers in the United States.
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT – LIVE ON ESPN AMERICA
Date Programme Start Time
Sunday 13th March Bracketology Special 11 p.m. GMT / 12 a.m. CET
Tuesday 15th March First Round 10:30 p.m. GMT / 12 a.m. CET
Wednesday 16th March First Round 10:30 p.m. GMT / 12 a.m. CET
Thursday 17th March Second Round – multi-game coverage 4 p.m. GMT / 5 p.m. CET
Friday 18th March Second Round – multi-game coverage 4 p.m. GMT / 5 p.m. CET
Saturday 19th March Third Round – multi-game coverage 4 p.m. GMT / 6 p.m. CET
Sunday 20th March Third Round – multi-game coverage 4 p.m. GMT / 5 p.m. CET
Thursday 24th March Regional Semifinals (Sweet Sixteen) 11 p.m. GMT / 12 a.m. CET
Friday 25th March Regional Semifinals (Sweet Sixteen) 11 p.m. GMT / 12 a.m. CET
Saturday 26th March Regional Finals (Elite Eight) 8 p.m. GMT / 9 p.m. CET
Sunday 27th March Regional Finals (Elite Eight) 7 p.m. BST / 7 p.m. CEST*
Saturday 2nd April NCAA Final Four 11 p.m. BST / 00 a.m. CEST
01:30 a.m.BST / 02:30 a.m. CEST
Tuesday 5th April ** NCAA Championship Game 02:00 a.m. BST/ 03:00 a.m. CEST
* Note: spring clock change occurs
** Championship Game begins in the “overnight” period – technically early morning on 5th April