via press release:
Brackets Are Back: Tournament Challenge on ESPN.com Returns
New 2013 ESPN Bracket Bound app for smartphones and tablets now available
Comprehensive coverage of the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament on ESPN digital platforms
Brackets are back on ESPN.com with sign-ups now open for its popular free ESPN Men’s Tournament Challenge presented by Allstate, Acura and Taco Bell and ESPN Women’s Tournament Challenge presented by Capital One games. Fans will be able to research and strategize their brackets via in-depth coverage from ESPN.com’s college basketball experts and analysts, with news and predictor and analyzer tools exclusively available to ESPN Insider members. Additionally, ESPN College Hoops Pick ‘Em presented by Black & Decker challenges fans to predict the winner of each tournament matchup and earn bonus points if lower seeded teams win games.
ESPN is also making it easier than ever to follow the games on the go, with a dedicated section on the ESPN mobile Web and an all-new version of the free ESPN Bracket Bound app, now available on the App Store and Google Play, allowing fans to create Tournament Challenge entries, join groups, follow brackets and get the latest news and video highlights all within the app.
To celebrate the return of Tournament Challenge, ESPN has once again teamed up with Funny or Die to present a new celebrity-filled video leading up to the brackets frenzy. The video – debuting this week on ESPNU and on FunnyorDie.com – will feature a roster of celebrities including Common, Melissa Joan Hart, Anthony Anderson, Takeo Spikes, Marcedes Lewis, Ronny Turiaf, Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger and other surprise guest appearances.
Additionally this week, comedian and actor Steve Carell will appear in a piece titled “Expert Bracket Breakdown with Steve Carell” that will be featured across ESPN social media platforms. ESPN’s UNITE mascot (The Wolf) will join Carell in a humorous segment breaking down teams playing in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
ESPN Tournament Challenge 2013 & ESPN College Hoops Pick ‘Em
Both the Men’s Tournament Challenge and Women’s Tournament Challenge bracket games return for their 16th seasons on the digital hard court and will once again be free for entrants to submit up to ten entries on ESPN.com. Fans complete and submit a bracket of forecasted tournament game outcomes and points are awarded for each correct pick, with point values increasing as the Tournaments progress.
Guest celebrity brackets featured on ESPN.com this year comprise of a broad array of more than 40 athletes and actors. They include Takeo Spikes, Kirk Morrison, Will Smith, Kyle Rudolph, Felix Jones, Josh Cribbs and Bryant McKinnie from the NFL; NBA players Rajon Rondo, Serge Ibaka, Al Horford, Nick Young and Mike Conley, Jr.; Swin Cash and Candace Parker of the WNBA; pro golfer Bubba Watson; X Games gold medalist Tom Wallisch; and actors Anthony Anderson, Common and Jesse Williams.
Last year, the Men’s Tournament Challenge game was again the most popular bracket game in the nation, with nearly 6.45 million brackets, up 8.9 percent compared to the previous year and setting a new record. At the peak period, fans registered 6,340 brackets per minute (105 brackets per second), among those of which was a bracket from President Barack Obama.
At the end of the Tournament, all Men’s Tournament Challenge entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for the $10,000 Best Buy Gift Card prize. In the Women’s Tournament Challenge, entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for a $5,000 Best Buy 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 21. The Women’s Tournament Challenge will accept registration until just prior to tip-off of the first game on Saturday, March 23.
ESPN College Hoops Pick ‘Em is also available for sign-ups now. The game challenges fans to predict the winner of each tournament matchup and earn bonus points if lower seeded teams win games. Entries that finish in the top 1% are entered in a random drawing for prizes from Black & Decker.
Lastly, fans won’t be far from checking their brackets while on the go with the 2013 updated ESPN Bracket Bound app available now in the App Store and Google Play. The free-to-down app features full access to Tournament Challenge brackets and new personalized “My Teams” and “My Games” sections displaying scores and schedules of favorite teams. Additionally, the app will once again include video analysis from ESPN’s college basketball experts and analysts, bracketology, exclusive clips, top stories, game previews, recaps, analysis and highlights.
ESPN Mobile will also carry complete coverage from writers and analysts, keeping fans up to date on the latest news and highlights on mobile devices via a special section on the ESPN mobile Web. Additionally, fans can sign up for ESPN Alerts to receive real-time information on the game (scores, starts, etc.), breaking news, upsets and more.
2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament on ESPN Digital Platforms
ESPN.com will have complete round-by-round coverage of the tournament from its line-up of experts and analysts including Eamonn Brennan, Andy Katz, Jason King, Joe Lunardi, Myron Medcalf, Ted Miller, Dana O’Neil, Robbi Pickeral, Rick Reilly, Mike Rothstein and Carter Strickland. From Selection Sunday through the Final Four, ESPN.com will deliver features, analysis, commentary and more on the teams, players and coaches in the tournament. Additionally, ESPN.com’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) will be available for fans to reference the latest power rankings by team to assist in their bracket picks.
ESPN Insider will also include a number of additional exclusive features before, during and after the tournament to help break down who gets off the bubble, who is most likely to be this year’s Cinderella and who will be the breakout stars of the tournament. They include:
- Giant Killers: Statistical analysis showing which Cinderella teams will stay in the dance and which favorites will fall early;
- Joe Lunardi’s Tournament Team Previews: Team-by-team breakdowns of every team in the field by a team led by ESPN’s Bracketologist;
- Bilas Index: ESPN’s Jay Bilas provides his take on how the nation’s top 68 teams will shake out;
- Dance Lessons: Hoops stat guru John Gasaway and Insider’s team of analysts explain how the past and the present provide warning signs for this season’s teams;
- College Basketball Experts Blog: Tips and insight from Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Fran Fraschilla before, during and after the big dance;
- PickCenter: A detailed breakdown of every game throughout the tournament, where users can navigate region-by-region and see who the public is taking in every matchup.
Additional predictor and analyzer tools available exclusively for ESPN Insider members include:
- Bracket Predictor – Tournament Edition: A “wizard” style interface leading through the process of making picks for a bracket, giving users predictions and other relevant information for every bracket matchup. Once the user completes all bracket picks in Bracket Predictor, the user will be presented with the option to transmit the completed bracket to ESPN Tournament Challenge;
- Game Predictor: Provides users with predictions and statistical information for actual or hypothetical basketball matchups within the ESPN Tournament Challenge page, giving users tips and guidance for every matchup without leaving the screen, and – for the first time ever – it will also be available to Insiders on mobile web;
- Bracket Analyzer: Analyzes a complete bracket and predicts areas of possible improvement to better the chances for victory. The computer generated report includes round-by-round survival odds for all of a user’s game winner picks, the expected number of user picks to be correct, a high level analysis of the risk level of the user’s picks and recommendations for changing certain picks;
- Joe Lunardi Bracket Predictions: A tool that presents a variety of predictions and odds generated by Team Rankings and based on Lunardi’s projected 2012 tournament bracket, as published in the “Bracketology” section of ESPN.com.