OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- The Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) is pleased to announce ESPN will televise 14 hours of softball in high definition this July 16-20 at the KFC World Cup of Softball presented by Six Flags. Live from the mecca of softball at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City, the coverage kicks off on July 16 and will feature six USA Womenís National team games and one inaugural USA Menís Slow Pitch National team game on July 18 in the previously announced Border Battle.
In addition to the television coverage on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD, new this year all seven USA games will be streamed live on ESPN360.com. Selected games from ESPNís coverage will also be broadcast globally to 146 countries across ESPNís international networks including Atlantic, Pacific Rim, Australia HD, Brazil HD, Israel, Middle East, ESPN Caribbean, ESPN2 Caribbean, and ESPN America.
"The partnership ESPN brings to the sport of softball is unbelievable," said ASA Executive Director Ron Radigonda. "We are thrilled to be showcasing the KFC World Cup of Softball this July on ESPN. We are in a position to demonstrate the ability of our players and coaches worldwide especially during a critical time for international softball. This World Cup is going to be one of the best bringing the top four teams from the Beijing Olympics and very competitive newcomers in Italy and the Netherlands."
"We have a commitment to showcasing womenís sports to our viewers," said Carol Stiff, senior director, ESPN programming and acquisitions. "Extensive coverage of the World Cup of Softball, along with other marquee events such as the Womenís College World Series and NCAA Womenís Tournament, demonstrates the important role of softball and womenís sports in ESPNís programming lineup."
The ESPN networks are the exclusive domestic home of the KFC World Cup of Softball presented by Six Flags and feature over 14 hours of live coverage on ESPN, ESPN2. ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD, highlighted by multiple prime time windows including the Championship Game on Monday, July 20 at 8 p.m. CST.
The talent line up for the KFC World Cup of Softball includes analyst two-time Olympic gold medalist Michele Smith and Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play announcer Eric Collins. For the Border Battle, UNC Charlotte head menís basketball coach and former ASA Slow Pitch player, coach and National Champion Bobby Lutz will step in as the analyst. Lutz is entering his 12th year at the helm of the Charlotte 49ers menís basketball program and became the 49ers all-time winningest coach in 2007-08 and is now one win shy of 200 victories as the 49ers head coach.
The complete domestic ESPN air schedule is below. All times are local (CST).
Thursday, July 16 - USA vs. Netherlands 7 p.m. ESPN
Friday, July 17 - USA vs. Italy 7 p.m. ESPN
Saturday, July 18 - USA vs. Canada Noon ESPN
Saturday, July 18 - Border Battle - USA vs. Canada Menís Slow Pitch 3 p.m. ESPN
Saturday, July 18 - USA vs. Japan 7 p.m. ESPN
Sunday, July 19 - USA vs. Australia Noon ESPN
Monday, July 20 - Championship Game, #1 seed vs. #2 seed; 8 p.m. ESPN2
"We are thrilled that the World Cup is on ESPN again this year," said 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Monica Abbott. "Their support of the sport of softball is outstanding. They have continued to raise the bar in the World Cup broadcasts and to be able to display this teamís talent on national television as we head towards the IOC decision in August is pivotal."
The 4th World Cup of Softball and the Border Battle are sanctioned by the International Softball Federation, the governing body of softball internationally as recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).
For complete results, blogs, bios, photos, multimedia and more of the World Cup of Softball, log on to www.usasoftball.com.
ESPN, Inc. is the worldís leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. The company is comprised of six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU), ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPNU HD simulcast services, ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (45 networks, syndication, radio, web sites), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN PPV, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN360.com (Broadband), ESPN Mobile Properties, ESPN on Demand and ESPN Interactive. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nationís largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 83 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 240,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit www.asasoftball.com.
ABOUT USA SOFTBALL
USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Menís, Womenís, Junior Boysí and Junior Girlsí National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Womenís National Team is one of the only two womenís sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won eight World Championship titles including the last six consecutive as well as claimed two World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit www.usasoftball.com.
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