ESPNU will televise the No. 4 UCLA at No. 5 Utah Gymnastic meet on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 10 p.m. ET (8 p.m. MT). The Top 5 meet marks the first time the network has televised the traditional powerhouse teams in the regular season. In addition to their national standing, Utah currently holds the NCAA record for attendance and UCLA’s 2017 team features two US Olympic Gold Medalists: Kyla Ross (2012) and Madison Kocian (2016).
“Over the past three years ESPN and SEC Network have devoted significant resources to expanding and improving collegiate gymnastics on television,” said Brent Colborne, ESPN director, programming & acquisitions, college sports. “Adding a matchup of two teams that are consistently in the Top 5 deepens our regular-season schedule and further improves ESPN’s NCAA Championship coverage.”
ESPNU and ESPN3 have carried the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championship for the last five years. Utah is tied with Georgia for the most NCAA Gymnastic Championship appearances in history (17) and second in National Championship titles (9). UCLA is tied with Alabama for the third most National Championship Gymnastics titles (6).
ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network and SEC Network + will combine to carry 44 regular season meets over 12-consecutive weeks in 2017. A large portion of that schedule comes from SEC Network’s eight-week Friday Night Height series, which includes a doubleheader of Top 25 action each week. The Friday Night Heights series is part of more than 1,600 Southeastern Conference sporting events carried on SEC Network or SEC Network + annually.
Since SEC Network launched its regular-season gymnastics schedule (2015), ESPN has developed the sport’s first real-time scoring interface, enhanced illustrations to educate the viewers at home, in addition to providing quad box-viewing layouts and live apparatus feeds for Championship coverage.
The No. 4 UCLA at No. 5 Utah matchup will be voiced by US Olympic Medalists Bart Conner and Kathy Johnson Clarke, with Laura Rutledge reporting on UCLA and Holly Rowe on Utah.