Elite men’s college water polo is returning to ESPN. On the heels of the NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championship airing on national television for the first time in more than a decade this past May, the NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championship will take center stage this December. USA Water Polo, in collaboration with the NCAA and ESPN, is presenting live coverage of the 2022 NCAA Championship final from the Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley, Calif., on ESPNU and streaming on the ESPN App on Sunday, December 4 at 6 p.m. ET.
Outside of the United States, water polo fans will be able to watch the telecast on ESPN networks and digital platforms in parts of Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and via syndication on non-ESPN networks in additional European countries.
The field for the 2022 NCAA Tournament will be determined November 20 and will feature seven teams from around the country. Two at-large bids will be awarded in addition to the automatic qualifiers from five conferences: Golden Coast Conference, Mid-Atlantic Conference, Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, Northeast Conference and Western Water Polo Association. California won the 2021 Championship, defeating USC last winter in Los Angeles.
Former Bucknell University and UC Santa Barbara coach John Abdou (analyst) joins Greg Mescall (play-by-play) on the call from the University of California, Berkeley.
“As USA Water Polo did in May, we are proud to again collaborate with ESPN and the NCAA to broadcast the Men’s water polo championship live from Berkeley, California. We are also excited to have a veteran play-by-play commentator and expert color commentator combo in Greg and John calling the game this year. With such a broad array of talented teams in the tournament, the championship will be one of the most competitive in years,” said Christopher Ramsey, USA Water Polo Chief Executive Officer.
“This is a game-changer to have ESPN take on these exciting championship events. With the water polo landscape growing and additional conferences committing to the sport this new media spotlight will help transform programs to higher levels. It is exciting to see this collaboration,” said George Nelson, Chair, NCAA Men’s Water Polo Committee.
The NCAA Men’s Water Polo Championship is one of 31 NCAA Championship events – including 16 women’s sports championships – airing across ESPN networks in 2022-23. Through this collaboration with USA Water Polo and the NCAA, ESPN will carry the men’s and women’s national collegiate championship events through 2023-24.
“Following the debut of the Women’s Water Polo Championship on ESPN platforms this spring, we are thrilled to now showcase the world-class men’s student-athletes as the Men’s Water Polo Championship becomes the 31st and latest addition to our portfolio of NCAA Championship events,” said Dan Margulis, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions.
For more information on the NCAA Championship, visit ncaa.com/sports/waterpolo-men and be sure to follow USA Water Polo on social media (@USAWP) for updates on the matchup and broadcast coverage closer to the event.
About USA Water Polo
USA Water Polo, Inc., is the national governing body for water polo in America, overseeing our United States Olympic program as well as 20 championship events annually, such as Junior Olympics and Masters National Championships. With more than 50,000 members, USAWP also is the sanctioning authority for more than 500 member clubs and more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport throughout the U.S., fostering grass-roots expansion while providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches, and officials. For more information, visit www.usawaterpolo.org.