Press release: The American Kennel Club
The American Kennel Club (AKC) is excited to announce that the AKC National Agility Championship will air on ESPN2.The two-hour competition will be televised on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT. This broadcast comes on the heels of the three-year agreement the AKC and ESPN signed at the top of the year to give viewers a taste of the competitive world of dog sports.
This year’s AKC National Agility Championship will take place on March 26-March 28, 2021 at the Built Ford Tough Livestock Complex at Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The expo is an indoor, climate-controlled horse arena on dirt and has multiple rings set up for competition. After the pandemic canceled last year’s event, top agility canine athletes are eager to participate in this year’s event.
“We’re glad we were able to have this year’s championship with safety protocols in place, but with all the fun of an agility competition,” said Carrie DeYoung, AKC’s agility director.
Over 1,122 dogs from 49 different states and 100 different breeds will compete for the championship title. Dogs entered will compete in jump heights, according to their size. In line with COVID-19 safety precautions, the event is closed off to the public and entry is limited to exhibitors, judges, production crew and event staff. Other safety requirements include social distancing, temperature checks, wearing face coverings, and sanitizing stations.
“We are thrilled to provide ESPN viewers the excitement of agility and an appreciation of these canine athletes,” said Doug Ljungren, EVP of sports & events. “All dogs can enjoy agility and we hope watching this championship will pique the interest of dog lovers of all backgrounds, and encourage them to give agility a try,” he added.
AKC.tv will broadcast coverage of the event, beginning on Friday, March 26, including challenger rounds and preferred finals. Broadcast of the regular finals will continue live on the ESPN app and on ESPN2 on March 31. The show will be hosted by ESPN SportsCenter anchor Antoinetta “Toni” Collins, include play by play by sportscaster Carolyn Manno, and analysis by Terry Simmons, past AKC National Agility Champion.
(Photos courtesy American Kennel Club)