ESPNU to Televise the 2014 NAIA Football National Championship
By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — (Watch Announcement) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is excited to announce that ESPNU will televise the 2014 Football National Championship at 3 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec. 19. Broadcast live and in high-definition from Daytona Beach, Fla., ESPNU is carried in more than 75 million homes. The telecast will also be available on WatchESPN.com, smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Xbox, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
This announcement also means the date of the championship has been changed from Dec. 20 to Dec. 19.
Calling the action will be long-time NAIA play-by-play broadcaster Jason Knapp, with commentary from Forrest Connolly. The sideline reporter will be Tiffany Greene.
The City of Daytona Beach will serve as the new football championship host. The 59th annual game will be contested at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium. The artificial turf complex is the home field of NCAA Division I Bethune-Cookman University. From 2008-13, the championship game was played in Rome, Ga.
“The city has been working with our partners to make the NAIA Football National Championship game a great experience for the teams, their fans and our local community. The agreement with ESPNU is welcomed news because it will help showcase our special community to millions of viewers,” said Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry.
ESPNU is carried on DirecTV (Channel 208), on Dish Network (Channel 141) and also on a variety of cable packages. The 2013 football national championship game was available on ESPN3, and prior to that, the event was shown on CBS Sports Network for several years.
“We are extremely excited to expand our partnership with ESPN,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “ESPNU has been a terrific opportunity to connect the NAIA nation with the ESPN brand and has allowed us to demonstrate the loyal following of NAIA fans. The outstanding talent of NAIA student-athletes will be on display in late December and we hope you will tune in to watch on ESPNU.”
The NAIA National Championship is the culmination of a 16-team playoff called the NAIA Football Championship Series that begins on Nov. 22. The semifinal winners will collide at the 10,000-seat Municipal Stadium. Last year, the second-ranked Grand View (Iowa) Vikings captured their first-ever national title with a 35-23 victory against No. 1-ranked Cumberlands (Ky.).
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 63,000 student-athlete participating in 23 national championships.
The 24-hour college sports television network airs more than 650 live events annually and offers over 1,000 original studio shows. ESPNU, a three-time Sports Emmy nominated network, has seen a steady distribution increase since its inception on March 4, 2005 and is now in 75 million households.