ESPN has added individual apparatus streams and a new scoring interface to its first live television production of the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships airing April 15 and 16. ESPN networks have carried the competition since 2011, one of 24 NCAA Championships the network airs each year.
Both days of competition are set to air on ESPNU and stream on the ESPN app through smart phones, tablets and connected devices. The semifinal afternoon (2 p.m. ET) and evening (8 p.m.) sessions air on Friday, April 15, as the field of 12 teams is narrowed for Finals and individual winners are crowned. The following day ESPNU carries the Super-Six teams that advance at 9 p.m., with the trophy ceremony immediately following. (Full schedule below)
U.S. Olympic medalists Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clarke will provide analysis throughout the competition. Interviews with coaches and athletes between apparatuses will be conducted by ESPN’s Laura Rutledge.
“We’ve learned a great deal televising regular-season gymnastics live, and have seen some incredible opportunities for growth of the sport on television,” said Meg Aronowitz, ESPN coordinating producer. “The biggest hurdle in producing the sport live is scoring and we believe the graphics interface we’ve developed makes that challenge obsolete.”
ESPN built its first gymnastics scoring interface in 2014 for regular-season dual meets. The team went back to the drawing board this year to produce a version for a quad-style (SEC Championships) meet and a modification for the NCAA Championships, which features six-teams at a time.
ESPN tested its newest gymnastics innovations at the 2016 SEC Championships, which were produced live by ESPN for the first time.
Click here for television coverage and links to the various live streaming feeds.