It's the icing on the cake of a great season, really. ESPN2 will air a DCI broadcast on Sept. 6 from 10 p.m. to midnight Eastern time, bringing to close a memorable, exciting season both on the field and in the stands. The potential audience for the broadcast is staggering -- ESPN2 is available in 88 million households and more than 80 percent of all U.S. households. And putting together the broadcast will be a stable of DCI broadcast veterans – producer Tom Blair and commentators Steve Rondinaro and Dennis DeLucia. Veteran producer Blair noted that the ESPN2 broadcast will allow drum corps fans to tune in communally. "Perhaps the biggest single benefit of being on ESPN2 is something that seems so simple. "Tune in for the Drum Corps International World Championships, Sept. 6, at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, coast to coast." Because PBS stations are all independent, we've never been able to say that. The entire country will be able to watch DCI together," Blair said. "Drum Corps International wanted to bring its exceptional television program to as many people as possible, in prime time, so that we can have a large audience watching the program simultaneously, regardless of where they live," said Dan Acheson, executive director of Drum Corps International. "ESPN2 is available in over 88 million households and more than 80 percent of all U.S. households, and can certainly help us to achieve that goal." DCI broadcast vet Rondinaro is anticipating the DCI broadcast on ESPN2 as well. "It's going to be quite a change after all of those years of saying 'You're watching DCI on PBS,' but I think this is really exciting. The potential is huge for the activity. We're not live, but at least everyone will know that for two hours on Sept. 6 they can watch DCI on TV. The numbers may surprise people." Blair is delighted with broadcasting drum corps on ESPN2. "I am very excited by the prospect of putting drum corps in front of a new and potentially larger audience. The ESPN audience is one that loves to see competition -- and drum corps is competition, not just on a physical level, but an artistic level as well. Mental toughness, a strong work ethic and the pursuit of excellence are the achievements of any world-class competitor, and drum corps is very much in that league." Blair elaborated on the format he'll use to indoctrinate the masses to drum corps. "Like we have for the past few years, I think that we need to produce a program that will be accessible to the general public and the non-drum corps fan. What is drum corps? Where does it come from? How do they do it? And, most importantly, why should I care about it? These are all questions that we need to answer for this new audience. The sports-minded ESPN viewer needs to know this ain't halftime, it's the game!" Blair said. Blair also noted the potential for DCI sponsors that the broadcast will bring about. "It's also a great opportunity for the long-term sponsors of DCI commercially. PBS has always been commercial-free. Now the sponsors can put their message directly in front of their audience. Blair said the program will be one to remember. "The show will be fast-paced and exciting. We have a great broadcast team and we're all looking forward to getting in the game!" Blair said. Chuck McCurdy, an at-large member of the DCI board of directors, said, ""ESPN has long been known as the worldwide leader in sports programming. ESPN will afford DCI their national cable presence to increase the exposure and raise the awareness of competitive drum and bugle corps. For longtime drum corps fans, corps members and alumni, the opportunity is obviously enormous, and DCI will introduce the passion, power, and pageantry of drum and bugle corps to a prime-time national cable television audience in bold fashion." Brian Setzer, also an at-large member of the DCI board of directors, said that the ESPN broadcast is the capstone of 10 years of growth. "The efforts of DCI to position the drum corps activity on ESPN should be a sign to all drum corps fans as to how far the organization has grown in the past decade, and of how exciting our future is. DCI provides drum corps members and fans with the finest performance venues, the ability to use the Internet to download/stream audio and video content, and now everyone's dream - to watch DCI World Championships on the premier cable television sports network at an established date and time. The DCI board of directors, executive committee, and the member corps will continue to focus on our goal to expand our reach to new audiences to ensure the long-term success of this activity that we all hold so dear -- drum and bugle corps.
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