TAMPA, Fla. - ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, Inc., announced today the creation of the ESPNU Women’s Basketball Invitational, a one-night, women’s college basketball doubleheader to be televised live on ESPNU on Nov. 15, 2007.
The event will be held at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa Bay, Fla., and will tip off the 2007-2008 women’s college basketball season for four top college basketball programs, including Duke, Oklahoma, South Florida and Tennessee. All four schools qualified for post-season play in 2007.
“We are excited to host the ESPNU Women’s Basketball Invitational in Tampa,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television. “It’s a great way to celebrate women’s college basketball by starting and ending the year with two events in the same fantastic city.”
The Forum will also serve as the host site for the 2008 Women’s Final Four on April 6 and 8.
“We look forward to tipping off the year with this competitive doubleheader and anticipate a fantastic end to the season with the Women’s Final Four next April,” said Ron Campbell, president of the St. Pete Times Forum.
Duke qualified for the 2007 NCAA Tournament as a one seed and finished the regular season with a 31-1 record. In the first of two games, the Blue Devils, who have made three of the last six Final Four trips in 2002, 2003 and 2006, will square off against South Florida at 7 p.m. ET. South Florida has qualified for post-season play the last four years.
In a game set to begin at 9 p.m., Tennessee, a winner of three consecutive NCAA championships from 1996 to 1998 and a one seed in the NCAA Tournament this year, will face Oklahoma. The Sooners entered the 2007 NCAA Tournament as a three seed and last advanced to the Final Four in 2002 finishing as the runner-up in the tournament.
Tickets for the ESPNU Invitational will be available through Ticketmaster locations starting in July.
“We’re pleased to be able to work with ESPNU in starting the 2007-2008 women’s basketball season on the same court where the national champion will be crowned,” said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. “To be able to host these four elite level basketball programs in this setting speaks volumes to the strength of our sports community.”
ESPNU WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL INVITATIONAL
NOV. 15, 2007 (St. Pete Times Forum; Tampa, Fla.)
Duke vs. South Florida at 7 p.m. ESPNU
Tennessee vs. Oklahoma at 9 p.m. ESPNU
ESPN REGIONAL TELEVISION/EVENT OWNERSHIP
ESPN Regional Television (ERT) is the nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming. ERT produces more than 900 sporting events annually, including football, basketball, NCAA events, golf and NHRA events, which accounts for more than 2,200 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network; syndication rightsholder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences.
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several other sporting events, in addition to college basketball games. Those include the Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl, Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl, MEAC/SWAC Challenge, O’Reilly Auto Parts All College Classic, O’Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters, Old Spice Classic, Dick’s Sporting Goods Spartan Clash, ESPNU Invitational Series presented by ConocoPhillips and the ESPN National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway Golf.
ESPNU was launched in March 2005. The network features extensive studio programming and live coverage of games, including college football, college basketball and other Olympic sports from over 20 Division I conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Atlantic 10, Big 12, BIG EAST, Big South, Big Ten, Horizon League, Mid-American Conference, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), Ohio Valley Conference (OVC), Patriot League, Southland, Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and more.
In addition, the network has a wide-ranging, long-term agreement with the NCAA calling for enhanced coverage of 22 NCAA Championships, showcasing sports from each of the three collegiate seasons. ESPNU also has exclusive re-air rights to games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Regional television programming.
In addition, ESPNU.com, the companion to the ESPNU college sports television network, is the online destination for college sports content, including news, information, extensive online video and audio and more. ESPNU has secured distribution agreements with Charter, Cox, DIRECTV (Channel 609), Echostar’s DISH Network (Channel 148), Insight Communications, Mediacom, Verizon, several smaller affiliates and is close to distribution agreements with others.
The 24-hour television network is the key component of the multimedia ESPNU initiative that will also deliver college sports content across ESPN’s family of services, such as ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Radio, ESPN360, merchandising and more.
Media Contact: Doug.Grassian, (407) 566-2216; Doug.Grassian@espn.com