ESPN plans to expand its coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship from March 20-22 at Chesapeake Energy Arena to include live coverage of every mat, the network announced Monday.
For the last five years, ESPN3 has carried a four-screen, four-mat viewing experience. The expansion will create an unprecedented eight-mat viewing experience on ESPN3 for the early rounds and six-mat coverage for the semifinals, with full match coverage continuing on ESPN3, ESPNU or ESPN and WatchESPN for the semifinal, medal and championship rounds.
ESPN began airing NCAA wrestling championships in 1980, and has provided live coverage of every round since 2011.
“There is an increasing appetite for the NCAA wrestling championship from the sport's avid fan base, especially on our digital platforms,” said Brent Colborne, ESPN director of programming and acquisitions.
The championship continues to see success across ESPN with a 55 percent increase year-to-year growth in viewers for the 2013 finals match and 12.6 million live minutes viewed on ESPN3 and WatchESPN, up 13 percent.
— ESPN's “College GameDay,” 8-11 a.m. Saturday, will make its fourth visit to College Station, Texas, to preview the No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Texas A&M game, which will air at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS (KWTV-9). The three previous visits: Nov. 4, 2006 (No. 18 Oklahoma def. No. 21 Texas A&M, 17-16); Nov. 11, 2000 (No. 1 Oklahoma def. No. 24 Texas A&M, 35-31) and Sept. 8, 2012 (No. 24 Florida def. Texas A&M, 20-17).