March 3, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The University of Alabama's annual A-Day Game will be televised live to a national audience by ESPN on Saturday, April 18. A-Day is the 15th and final practice of the spring with kickoff from Bryant-Denny Stadium scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (CDT). Admission will once again be free to the public.
"This is a great opportunity to showcase the University of Alabama and our football program," said head coach Nick Saban. "A-Day is a special weekend at Alabama and our fans have responded with two of the largest crowds to ever watch a college football spring game the last two years. That positive energy and enthusiasm by our fans has had a significant impact on our success. I encourage all of our Crimson Tide fans to fill Bryant-Denny Stadium on April 18th and show everyone why we have the best fans in the land. There's nothing better than coming out of the tunnel to a full stadium, whether that is A-Day or at our home games in the fall."
Over the last two years, Alabama leads the country in spring game attendance with a combined total of 170,338. UA set a college football record in the spring of 2007 as a capacity crowd of 92,138 watched Saban's first A-Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Last year's attendance of 78,200 led the SEC and was the second-largest in the country. Florida (61,000), Arkansas (40,200), Auburn (35,000) and LSU (33,624) rounded out the top five in terms of 2008 spring game attendance in the SEC.
ESPN reaches more than 98 million households and has partnered with the SEC for 26 years. Coverage will be expanded this year as the 11:30 a.m. (CDT) league match-up will now be an ESPN Regional Television syndication game. On-air talent for A-Day has not yet been determined by the network.
"College football fans follow the sport year round and as proven in the past, Alabama has some of the most loyal and passionate followers in the country," said Dave Brown, vice president, ESPN programming and acquisitions. "We look forward to capturing the exciting atmosphere at Bryant-Denny Stadium and to provide a preview at the 2009 Crimson Tide. We thank Alabama for their cooperation in making this work."
Alabama made 10 national television appearances last season, which was tied for the most in the country. Three of those games were on ESPN (Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi State) and four Crimson Tide games were the site of ESPN Gameday (Clemson, Georgia, LSU and Florida).
Alabama starts spring practice on Friday, March 13 and then will take the next week off for spring break. The second practice is scheduled for Monday, March 23.