Press Releases

College Basketball - Men's

Tournament Challenge Marathon Returns, Bringing 25-Consecutive Hours of Bracket Help


Posted on


ESPN’s Tournament Challenge Marathon presented by Boost Mobile returns for the second year, with a 25-consecutive hour marathon, on Monday, March 12, and Tuesday March 13, from the network’s studios in Bristol, Conn., and LA Live. The Tournament Challenge Marathon commences at 6 p.m. ET, on ESPN, and continues with the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special (7 p.m.), and a number of shows across ESPN and ESPN2, through the final one-hour show on Tuesday, March 13 (6 p.m., ESPN).

College GameDay analysts Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams will be live throughout the entire 25-hour marathon. Rece Davis will host several editions of the marathon, as well as Matt Schick, Maria Taylor and Laura Rutledge. Coverage will also include bracketology expert Joe Lunardi, Chris “The Bear” Fallica and Stanford Steve, women’s college basketball analysts Rebecca Lobo, Kara Lawson and Andy Landers and men’s college basketball analysts Dalen Cuff, LaPhonso Ellis and Sean Farnham. Sarah Spain and Jason Fitz will also host a portion of the Marathon.

Additionally, Mike Greenberg, Michelle Beadle and Jalen Rose, hosts of ESPN’s new morning show Get Up!, which premieres Monday, April 2, will appear together in the first hour of the Marathon.

SportsCenter’s Marty Smith will take the Tournament Challenge Marathon on the road, as he makes 10 stops during the duration of the Marathon. Smith will give updates from the road as the Marty Party heads to Purdue, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Xavier, Dayton, Ohio State, West Virginia, Virginia, Duke and UNC.

Tournament Challenge-themed editions of popular ESPN shows include Golic & Wingo, First Take, The Jump, SportsNation and SportsCenter. Special guests and celebrities are expected to participate over the course of 25 hours. All programs during the marathon will be streamed on the ESPN App.

Special performances include Oz Pearlman – the Mentalist, the Funky Dawgz Brass Band and Red Panda.

Additional content highlights

  • Deep analysis of the NCAA bracket (Cinderella teams, possible upsets, top players in each region, bracket predictions, film breakdown)
  • VSAs: Analyst Dick Vitale returns with his Vitale Service Announcements
  • Bracket tips: Celebrities, athletes and ESPN commentators provide tips on how to fill out brackets
  • 3-minute brackets: Katie Nolan and Cy Amundson host breakdown pop culture alternative brackets, taking us through an alternative bracket and crowning a champion in 3 minutes
  • Little Experts: a new class of Little Experts give their opinions on college hoops

Tournament Challenge on and ESPN Tournament Challenge App
The 21st iteration of ESPN’s Tournament Challenge game will again be free for fans to submit up to 25 entries each for the Men’s and Women’s tournaments at or the ESPN Tournament Challenge App for iOS and Android. Unique features in the ESPN TC App include the ability to pre-fill brackets before Selection Sunday, advanced live scoring and bracket results with Bracketcast, expert analysis and matchup previews, and opt-in push notifications for up-to-the-second bracket, news and video updates.

In 2017, the ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge closed with a record 18.8 million completed brackets, surpassing the previous mark set in 2016 by nearly 6 million. At the peak period of entries on the morning of the Round of 64, fans registered 31,184 brackets per minute. During last year’s Tournament Challenge Marathon, ESPN collected more than 10 million bracket entries and had its largest one-day total ever with 4.9 million.

At the end of this year’s tournament, all Men’s Tournament Challenge entries finishing in the top 1 percent will be entered in a random drawing to win a trip for two to the 2018 Maui Invitational and a $10,000 Amazon Gift Card prize. In the Women’s Tournament Challenge, entries finishing in the top 1 percent will be entered in a random drawing for a $10,000 Amazon Gift Card. Entries for the Men’s Tournament Challenge game will be accepted until just prior to the tip-off of the Tournament’s first game on Thursday, March 15. The Women’s Tournament Challenge will accept registration until just prior to tip-off of the first game on Friday, March 16.  Additionally, 10 fans who create a group during the Tournament Challenge Marathon and get 25 friends to join the group will be selected at random to win a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

Fans can also test out their skills by picking all NCAA tournament games and more in the ESPN Streak game, where they can compete for $35,000 in prizes each month. On both March 15 and March 16, the fan who creates the longest Streak that day can win $5,000.

Date Time (ET) Show Network
Mon, Mar 12 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Tournament Challenge ESPN
  7 p.m. – 8 p.m. NCAA Women’s Selection Special Presented by Capital One

Maria Taylor, Andy Landers, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo, Charlie Creme

  8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Tournament Challenge ESPN2
  11 p.m. – 1 a.m. SportsCenter ESPN2
Tue, Mar 13 1 a.m. – 4 a.m. Tournament Challenge ESPN2
  4 a.m. – 6 a.m. Tournament Challenge ESPN
  6 a.m. – 10 a.m. Golic & Wingo

Trey Wingo, Dan Dakich

  10 a.m. – Noon First Take

Molly Querim, Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman

  Noon – 3 p.m. Tournament Challenge ESPN
  3 p.m. – 4 p.m. The Jump

Rachel Nichols with Chauncey Billups, Zach Lowe and Jackie MacMullan

  4 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. SportsNation

Cari Champion, Marcellus Wiley, LZ Granderson

  4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Tournament Challenge ESPN2
  6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Tournament Challenge ESPN