Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ESPN shares why they're bringing the World University Games to TV

Some people may be asking "What exactly are the World University Games? Why haven't I heard of them before? How long have they been going on? Why start to cover them now?" Hopefully this blog post will answer some of those questions. The comments shared here are taken from ESPN Front Row (, the Kazan 2013 World University Games page (, and the International University Sports Federation site ( 

Most NCAA athletes are familiar with this event, but many sports fans might not be. What are the World University Games?
This is the 27th edition of the Summer Universiade games and the international competition will run July 6-17 from Kazan, Russia. It features student athletes ages 17-28 and has proven to be a platform for showcasing future stars that have gone on to be Olympians and professional athletes across the globe.

Why is ESPN interested in bringing the games to a US audience?
The World University Games are second only the Olympic Games in terms of number of participating athletes & countries represented. Some of basketball’s biggest names — like Ray Allen, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and Allen Iverson — have represented the United States in previous years. It’s become clear this is an event that showcases some of the world’s best athletes. It’s really a hidden gem in the U.S. and we’re hoping to shine a light on these phenomenal athletes.

What can fans expect to see on ESPNU and ESPN3’s coverage?
Our coverage is focused predominantly on Team USA across a number of sports — men’s and women’s basketball, beach volleyball and track and field to name a few.

What is the most challenging part of programming the event?
Each event is featuring the best athletes around the globe, so the challenge was figuring out which events to distribute live. This year we plan to distribute a little more than 100 hours live on ESPN3. I feel we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with this event. The potential is there to produce and telecast 250-300 hours live.

Which event are you most interested in watching?
Men’s basketball. The opportunity is there for Team USA to meet Team Russia in the championship game. If it happens, I will be interested to see how the [Cleveland] Cavaliers first-round [2013 NBA Draft] pick Sergey Karasev performs against the best U.S. collegians.

Which events does the World University Games contain?
The Summer Universiade contains 13 sports- 10 compulsory and 3 optional sports. The 10 compulsory sports take place every 2 years. The 3 optional sports are chosen by the host nation. This year the events taking place include: athletics (track & field), basketball, fencing, football (soccer), artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, judo, swimming, diving, water polo, table tennis, tennis, and volleyball. In 2017 taekwondo will be added as an 11th compulsory sport, and in 2019 archery will be added as compulsory sport #12. Before a limit was placed on optional sports (3), as many as 14 to 17 optional sporting events took place. 

Is there a schedule of which events will be available in the US?

Yes. most of the events will be live on ESPN3 with same-day taped coverage on ESPNU. However ESPNU will air some events live. Check out our previous blog post- for those details. 

Any other questions you want answered? Feel free to shoot me an e-mail, or post them in the comments section, and I will see what I can find out. 

If you're interested in getting an early look of where Team USA will play their basketball games, Greg Wrubell (voice of BYU Football & men's basketball) is over in Russia (following BYU's Tyler Haws), and he has posted a view of teh arena. -

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