PHOTO CREDIT: John Sachs/Tech-Fall
Colorado Springs, Col. and Los Angeles, Calif. - USA Wrestling and Universal Sports Network announced today a partnership to broadcast a series of Olympic-style wrestling competitions in the U.S. The multi-year deal gives Universal Sports exclusive TV rights to the Freestyle World Cup, U.S. Open, U.S. World Team Trials and additional USA Wrestling programming including an ongoing news and highlights show. This is the first multi-event network television agreement for USA Wrestling, the national governing body for Olympic wrestling.
The announcement comes in advance of the 2014 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup, the annual international dual meet championships, which will air on a tape-delayed basis on Universal Sports Network on Monday, March 24, from 8 to 10 p.m. E.T.
“This is a foundational piece in moving wrestling to a more relevant level within the American sports community. We see this as just a beginning, and something we can look back on years from now as a historic moment in the expansion of our sport,” said USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender.
“We are pleased to provide a home for USA Wrestling’s premier events and bring some much-deserved attention to a sport steeped in Olympic history,” said Universal Sports’ V.P. of Programming and Acquisitions Robert James. “This agreement plays an important role in reinforcing our commitment to delivering world-class event programming our fans crave.”
Universal Sports’ 2014 wrestling season coverage begins with the Freestyle Wrestling World Cup, which will be held in Los Angeles, Calif. March 15 and 16. The World Cup features the top 10 men’s freestyle wrestling teams in the world.
Numerous World and Olympic medalists will be featured at the Freestyle World Cup, including American star Jordan Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic champion and two-time World champion. World powers Iran and Russia are included in the field, along with Armenia, Georgia, India, Japan, Mongolia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Universal Sports will also broadcast LIVE primetime coverage of the 2014 U.S. Open Championships, set for the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., April 18 and 19.
The U.S. Open is the annual U.S. national championships in the three Olympic styles: men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and Greco-Roman. The nation’s best wrestlers will battle for national titles and All-American honors in an event with more than a century of tradition in the United States. Among the athletes expected to compete are Olympic champions Jordan Burroughs and Jake Varner, and Olympic medalists Clarissa Chun, Coleman Scott and Randi Miller.
Also included in the wrestling series will be the U.S. World Team Trials for men’s and women’s freestyle, which will be held in Madison, Wis., May 31-June 1, as well as the U.S. Greco-Roman World Team Trials, set for Daytona Beach, Fla., June 14. The U.S. World Team Trials features the nation’s top wrestlers, and serves as the qualifying events for the U.S. team which will compete in the Wrestling World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in September.
The U.S. World Team Trials will be broadcast on a taped-delayed basis with the freestyle competition airing on June 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. E.T. and Greco-Roman competition on June 23 from 7 to 8 p.m. E.T.
Universal Sports Network is now available on Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Verizon FiOS, satellite providers DIRECTV and DISH and numerous regional cable and IPTV operators in markets across the country.