While much of the “March Madness” focus will be on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, ESPN is elevating its game when it comes to women’s hoops. The network announced that its coverage of conference tournaments in women’s college basketball, starting Wednesday, March 4, and continuing through Sunday, March 15, will feature a record number of games.
Additionally, ESPN announced plans to cover all 63 games of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship tournament.
ESPN’s “2015 Championship Week Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods” will air across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ESPN3 and SEC Network +, with a total of 112 games to be televised. ESPN will air five conference title games — the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC on Sunday, March 8, and the American Women’s Championship on Monday, March 9.
“The networks will combine to exclusively offer game action of 112 women’s games, and will crown the champion from 21 Division I conferences. ESPN3 will have exclusive coverage of 80 conference tournament games, and will show another 20 contests available in local markets via syndication, for a total of 132 games,” the company announced.
The programming will be offered via a variety of platforms, with full Championship Week coverage accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on TVs through Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 or Xbox One to viewers with video subscriptions through an affiliated provider.
For the 10th consecutive year, the ESPN networks will also televise all 63 games of the 2015 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.
“ESPN and ESPN2 will present regionalized telecasts with home market protection through the first two rounds,” the company announced. “ESPN3 and ESPN FULL COURT, the pay-per-view package, will offer first- and second-round games in their entirety as a supplement to ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage. The final 15 games, beginning with the Regional Semifinals, will have national telecast windows on ESPN or ESPN2.”
The complete schedule for the 64-team tournament will be announced later.
Among the Championship Week highlights, four conference title games will air Sunday, March 8, on ESPN channels (all times ET):
• The ACC championship game will air at 1 p.m. with the semifinals airing Saturday at noon and 2:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
• The SEC title game airs at 3:30 p.m., with the semifinals airing Saturday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
• The Big Ten title game airs at 7 p.m. and the nightcap at 9 p.m. features the Pac-12 semifinal winners.
The announcement adds: “The American Women’s Conference Championship can be seen exclusively on ESPN platforms – the first round and quarterfinal games will be on ESPN3 on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, respectively, with the semifinals airing Sunday on ESPNU and the title game on Monday on ESPN.”
Additionally, the following championship games will be televised live on ESPNU: America East, Atlantic 10, Horizon League, MAAC, Northeast Conference, Summit League, Western Athletic Conference and West Coast Conference.
The SEC tournament will be featured on SEC Network:
• SEC Network will carry the first round, second round and quarterfinal games live from Little Rock, Ark., beginning Wednesday, March 4, through Friday, March 6.
• “SEC Now” courtside in Little Rock on Thursday with pregame and postgame coverage on Saturday.
• “SEC Now” features Host Maria Taylor and analyst Nell Fortner.
• Coach and player interviews, locker room access and coaches being mic’ed will be part of game and studio telecasts.