American Kennel Club inks multi-year agreement for dog competitions with ESPN

December 8, 2020

If we had them, our tails would be wagging already: The American Kennel Club (AKC) and ESPN have signed a three-year content agreement to bring 100% unique, high-energy dog programming to the channel—including digital rights for selected events to stream live on the ESPN App.

The agreement also brings the AKC National Championship Presented by Royal Canin, to ABC-TV for the next three years.  The three-hour show will air on Sunday, January 17, at 2 p.m. (ET). The show is the largest dog event in North America and features thousands of dogs from around the country and the world competing for the coveted title of National Champion and the prize of $50,000.

Building on the success from their collaborations “ESPN Dog Day” and “ESPN Puppy Day,” the AKC will produce championships and competitions for the leading sports network. Each show will give audiences an insight into the fun and intensely competitive world of dog sports.

Among the action-packed events that are slated to air are the following:

  • AKC Fastest Dogs USA,
  • AKC National Championship,
  • AKC Agility Premier Cup,
  • AKC National Agility Championship,
  • North America Diving Dog Premier Cup, and
  • AKC Flyball National Championship.

Each program will have two re-airs on ESPN television channels as well as re-airs on the Nat Geo WILD Channel. The agreement also grants ESPN access to the AKC’s extensive library of dog programming for potential future programming.

“We are thrilled to expand on our amazing relationship with the leader in sports  television,” said Dennis B. Sprung, president and CEO of the AKC in an official press release. “AKC Sports demonstrate the very best in canine athleticism and the strength of the human-canine bond. It is exciting to introduce new audiences to these action-packed events and showcase the stellar dogs that compete, and we cannot think of a better place to do so, than ESPN.”

Programming kicks off on Friday December 11th with the AKC Fastest Dogs USA competition live-streamed on the ESPN App from 2-4 p.m.(ET); and airing on ESPN2 on Sunday December 13th at 6 p.m. (ET). The AKC National Championship evening and group events also will be live streamed on the ESPN App on December 12 and December 13 at 4:30 p.m. (ET) each day..

The AKC is the largest purebred dog registry in the world and the leading governing body of dog sports in the United States. More than 22,000 competitions for AKC-registered purebred and mixed breed dogs are held under AKC rules and regulations each year—including conformation, agility, obedience, rally, tracking, herding, lure coursing, coonhound events, hunt tests, field and earth dog tests.

Research contact: @akcdoglovers

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