DES MOINES — ESPN began airing wrestling championships in 1980, its first year as a network, and the sport continues to find a home on ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN3 and WatchESPN with full coverage of the First Round, Second Round, Quarterfinal, Semifinal, Medal Round and Final match from the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, March 21-23. ESPN networks’ commitment to the championships extends through 2024 as the worldwide exclusive multi-media rights holder.
The 2013 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships begins with ESPN3’s exclusive live coverage of the First and Second Rounds on Thursday, March 21 at noon and 7:30 p.m. ET. For the fifth year the multi-screen sports network will provide an exclusive four-screen, four-mat viewing experience unique to wrestling in the First, Second and Quarterfinal Rounds. The technology was introduced in 2008 in the Quarterfinals and has expanded as coverage has grown. A growing destination for avid fan viewing, the NCAA wrestling championships on ESPN3 was up 108 percent in live minutes consumed across computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox compared to 2011.
For the seventh consecutive year, two of the four Quarterfinals, as well as the Semifinals, will be televised on ESPNU in a side-by-side format to maximize the HD viewing experience, allowing viewers to catch the action in two matches at the same time.
During the Finals on ESPN Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m., referees will wear a microphone, providing fans with even more access and understanding of the action.
In addition to enhanced viewing and audio access, ESPN wrestling analysts Tim Johnson and Anthony Robles will offer expert analysis alongside play-by-play Adam Amin on ESPN and ESPNU. Johnson has been the voice of NCAA wrestling matches for more than 25 years and brings a wealth of knowledge as a former wrestler and coach. Robles provides an in-depth understanding of the current competition as the NCAA national champion in the 125-pound division in 2011. He debuted as an announcer last year on ESPN.
• Cornell senior, Kyle Dake, is attempting to make NCAA history as the first wrestler to win a title in four different weight classes. He is currently No. 1 in the 165 lbs. weight class, and has previously won at 141 lbs. (2010), 149 lbs. (2011) and 157 lbs. (2012). Penn State’s David Taylor, No.2, is the reigning 165-pound national champion and Hodge Trophy winner.
• NCAA champion and Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs will narrate this year’s opening feature.
• This year’s features will include a special tribute in memory to longtime ESPN analyst and Olympic gold medalist Jeff Blatnick who saw national coverage of the NCAA Wrestling Championships expand from 90 minutes to 11-hours and won the NCAA Division II heavyweight championship in 1978 and 1979.
The broadcast schedule is as follows:
Thursday, March 21
Noon — First round, ESPN3
7:30 p.m. — Second round, ESPN3
Friday, March 22
11 a.m. — Quarterfinals, ESPNU/ESPN3
7 p.m. — Semifinals, ESPNU
Saturday, March 23
11 a.m. — Medal Round, ESPNU
8 p.m. — Finals, ESPN