ESPN Digital Media Tips Off for Championship Week and the Return of Tournament Challenge

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ESPN Digital Media Tips Off for Championship Week and the Return of Tournament Challenge

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Every live 2012 Championship Week men’s and women’s game on ESPN networks available via WatchESPN, 225 games on ESPN3 and 44 games on ESPN Mobile TV

Free Tournament Challenge bracket games return to ESPN.com

New 2012 ESPN Bracket Bound app now available in the App Store and Android Market

The college hoops craze is back, and ESPN will once again be there delivering all the excitement and drama on the hard court to sports fans across digital platforms.  It begins today with the kickoff of 2012 Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, with live coverage of every men’s and women’s game on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 available via WatchESPN, 225 conference tournament games on ESPN3 and 44 games on ESPN Mobile TV over eleven days of non-stop action.

Brackets are also back on ESPN.com with sign-ups now open for its popular free ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by State Farm and Infiniti USA and ESPN Women’s Tournament Challenge games.  Fans will be able to research and strategize their brackets via in-depth coverage from ESPN.com’s college basketball experts and analysts, with news and predictor and analyzer tools exclusively available to ESPN Insider members.  Additionally, ESPN College Hoops Pick ‘Em challenges fans to predict the winner of each tournament matchup and earn bonus points if lower seeded teams win games.

ESPN is also making it easier than ever to follow the games on the go, with a dedicated section on the ESPN mobile Web, real-time alerts and an all-new 2012 version of the free ESPN Bracket Bound app, now available in the App Store and Android Market that allows fans to create Tournament Challenge entries, join groups, follow brackets and get the latest news and highlights all within the app.

2012 Championship Week

Championship Week tips off today and ESPN3 will have coverage from 28 total conference tournaments — 26 of which are Division I — on the live multi-screen network, including the BIG EAST, Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and SEC.  A total of 225 conference tournament games will be carried live, including national and syndicated men’s and women’s games, numerous out-of-market games and 25 games live exclusively on ESPN3.

Fans will also be able to go to WatchESPN to catch all the ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3 live game action online at WatchESPN.com or on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.  The service – available to video subscribers of Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS TV – gives fans the ability to watch ESPN’s live networks, no matter where they are.  A total of 44 men’s and women’s conference tournament games will also be made available live on ESPN Mobile TV.

A complete Championship Week 2012 men’s schedule across ESPN platforms is available on the ESPN MediaZone website, as well as the Championship Week 2012 women’s schedule.

The Championship Week 2012 index page on ESPN.com features news, analysis, information and results for every conference tournament. ESPN.com’s Bubble Watch with college hoops writer Eamonn Brennan will give fans an in-depth look at teams on the bubble and the latest developments on NCAA tournament selection status. The site will also preview major conference tournaments, examine storylines and offer in-depth expert examinations.  ESPN.com writers will cover stories from several tournament sites, including the ACC, Big 12, BIG EAST, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. Additionally, ESPN.com’s Bracketologist Joe Lunardi will update and adjust his Bracketology projections and outlook daily.

ESPN Tournament Challenge 2012 & ESPN College Hoops Pick ‘Em

Both the Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by State Farm and Infiniti USA and Women’s Tournament Challenge bracket games return for their 15th seasons on the digital hard court and will once again be free for entrants to submit up to ten entries on ESPN.com.  Fans complete and submit a bracket of forecasted tournament game outcomes and points are awarded for each correct pick, with point values increasing as the Tournaments progress.

Last year, the Men’s Tournament Challenge game was again the most popular bracket game in the nation, with nearly 6.5 million entries, up 22 percent compared to the previous year and setting a new record.  Among the millions of participants in 2011 was President Barack Obama, who finished in the 87.4th percentile with a rank of 746,086 in the Men’s Tournament.

At the end of the Tournament, all Men’s Tournament Challenge entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for the $10,000 Best Buy Gift Card prize.  In the Women’s Tournament Challenge, entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for a $5,000 Best Buy Gift Card.  Entries for the Men’s Tournament Challenge game will be accepted until just prior to the tip-off of the Tournament’s first game on Thursday, March 15.  The Women’s Tournament Challenge will accept registration until just prior to tip-off of the first game on Saturday, March 17.

ESPN College Hoops Pick ‘Em is also available for sign-ups now.  The game challenges fans to predict the winner of each tournament matchup and earn bonus points if lower seeded teams win games.  Entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for a $5,000 Best Buy Gift Card.

2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament on ESPN Digital Platforms

ESPN.com will have complete round-by-round coverage of the tournaments from its line-up of experts and analysts including Edward Aschoff, Brennan, Kevin Gemmell, Andy Katz, Jason King, Lunardi, Myron Medcalf, Dana O’Neil, and Robbi Pickeral.  Additionally, ESPN Insider will include a number of additional exclusive features before, during and after the tournament to help break down who gets off the bubble, who is most likely to be this year’s Cinderella and who will be the breakout stars of the tournament.  They include:

  • Giant Killers: Statistical analysis showing which Cinderellas will stay in the dance and which favorites will fall early;
  • Joe Lunardi’s Tournament Team Previews: Team-by-team breakdowns of every team in the field by ESPN’s Bracketologist;
  • Bilas Index: ESPN’s Jay Bilas provides his take on how the nation’s Top 68 teams shake out;
  • The College Basketball Power Index: Dean Oliver and the ESPN Analytics department provide a new power ranking to grade out tourney teams;
  • Dance Lessons: Hoops stat guru John Gasaway and Insider’s team of analysts explain how the past and the present provide warning signs for this season’s teams;
  • College Basketball Experts Blog: Tips and insight Jay Bilas, Doug Gottlieb and Fran Fraschilla before, during and after the big dance.

ESPN Insider members will also have the added advantage of utilizing a slate of predictor and analyzer tools to help fill out their brackets, including:

  • Bracket Predictor – Tournament Edition: A “wizard” style interface leading through the process of making picks for a bracket, giving users predictions and other relevant information for every bracket matchup. Once the user completes all bracket picks in Bracket Predictor, the user will be presented with the option to transmit the completed bracket to ESPN Tournament Challenge;
  • Game Predictor: Provides users with predictions and statistical information for actual or hypothetical basketball matchups within the ESPN Tournament Challenge page, giving users tips and guidance for every matchup without leaving the screen;
  • Bracket Analyzer: Analyzes a complete bracket and predicts areas of possible improvement to better the chances for victory.  The computer generated report includes round-by-round survival odds for all of a user’s game winner picks, the expected number of user picks to be correct, a high level analysis of the risk level of the user’s picks and recommendations for changing certain picks;
  • Joe Lunardi Bracket Predictions: A tool that presents a variety of predictions and odds generated by Team Rankings and based on Lunardi’s projected 2012 tournament bracket, as published in the “Bracketology” section of ESPN.com.

Lastly, fans won’t be far from checking their brackets while on the go with the 2012 updated ESPN Bracket Bound app available now in the App Store and Android Market.  The free to download app features:

  • Nightly video highlights and analysis from ESPN’s college basketball experts;
  • Latest news columns and blogs from Katz, Gottlieb, Bilas and others;
  • Live game-following experience around the nation plus live events via WatchESPN;
  • Aggregated Twitter talent feeds;
  • Customizable with favorite teams for easy access to schedules, custom news, video, Twitter and more;
  • Bracketology by Lunardi;
  • Sign-ups for Tournament Challenge, where fans can join groups, create and manage their brackets and follow all the action in real-time on the go.

ESPN Mobile will also carry complete coverage from writers and analysts, keeping fans up to date on the latest news and highlights on mobile devices via a special section on the new ESPN mobile Web.  Additionally, fans can sign up for ESPN Alerts to receive real-time information on the game (scores, starts, etc.), breaking news, upsets and more.

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Kristie Adler

Kristie is Director of Communications. She graduated from Penn State University and is based in New York City.
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