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NAIA and ESPN3 Strike Agreement for Five National Championships

December 05, 2013
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By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is pleased to announce a multi-year agreement with ESPN to deliver five NAIA National Championships during the 2013-14 season, which include football, Division I men's and women's basketball and Division II men's and women's basketball. All events will be carried live and in high-definition on ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and Apple TV.

“Sports fans have come to know ESPN3 as a leading destination for live college sports events, and carrying five National Championships from the NAIA will better serve this audience,” said Jason Bernstein, Senior Director of Programming & Acquisitions, ESPN.  “We continue to serve fans across all screens in today’s multiplatform world.”

The Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship will be carried on Dec. 21 at 4:30 p.m. EST from Rome, Ga. Barron Stadium will serve as the host venue for the sixth-straight time.

The basketball season will bring four national championship title games to ESPN3, starting with the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Championship on March 18 at 6 p.m. CST from Point Lookout, Mo. Later that night, the State Farm-NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship will tip off at 7 p.m. CST from Sioux City, Iowa.

On March 25, the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship from Frankfort, Ky., will be carried at 6:30 p.m. EST. The Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship will then begin at 7 p.m. CST from Kansas City, Mo.

“We are tremendously excited to create this deal with ESPN,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “The ESPN brand has a strong presence and ESPN3 offers the opportunity to reach wider audiences on more diverse devices being used by NAIA fans. We hope fans across the country will take the opportunity  to watch student-athletes perform at the highest level in college athletics -- the NAIA National Championship!"

This year marks the first time all of the events listed above will be delivered on ESPN3. During the 2012-13 season, ESPN3 carried the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship semifinals and the Avista-NAIA World Series championship game.

ESPN3 is available to 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. The high-quality national championship coverage will be accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets, game consoles and internet-enabled televisions. To access on mobile devices, download the WatchESPN App for iOS or Android  and to view on desktops/laptops, go to WatchESPN.com.

Future coverage on ESPN networks will be announced at a later date.

About the NAIA
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. The NAIA has evolved from a small college basketball tournament in 1937 to a national athletics association comprised of 260 member institutions representing 60,000 student-athlete participating in 23 national championships.

About ESPN3
• ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and Apple TV
• ESPN3 is available to 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.
• The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.
• List of ESPN3 service providers (high speed internet) | Click Here
• List of ESPN3 service providers (video) | Click Here
• You may also download the WatchESPN App for iOS or Android smartphones and tablets.

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