ESPN and the American Kennel Club (AKC), the governing body of dog sports, have entered into a new, expanded five-year agreement, renewing ESPN’s media rights for televising of AKC-recognized dog sports events.
The agreement, which continues a relationship that began in 2019, maintains ESPN as the AKC’s exclusive dog sports media partner in the United States. AKC events will be distributed across ESPN’s television and digital platforms.
ESPN will distribute a minimum of nine AKC events per year under the renewal, beginning with the AKC Agility National Championship in February of 2023.
Among other AKC events that will be distributed on ESPN platforms under the renewed agreement:
- AKC National Championship (conformation)
- AKC Agility Premier Cup
- AKC Diving Dogs Premier Cup
- AKC Flyball Dog Challenge
- AKC Fastest Dogs USA
ESPN and the AKC first collaborated on “ESPN Dog Day” in August of 2019, a live event held on the ESPN campus in Bristol, Ct., and televised on ESPN.
Before the start of the renewed agreement, AKC programming will have a strong presence on ESPN platforms in December and January, highlighted by the AKC National Championship presented by Royal Canin, the largest dog show in North America.
Highlights of the show, held Dec. 17-18 in Orlando, Fla., will air in a three-hour special on Sunday, Jan. 1, at 2 p.m. ET on ABC. The event features more than 5,000 of the world’s top canine competitors from across the country and around the globe as they vie for Best in Show honors and the title of America’s National Champion.
Upcoming 2022 AKC programming on ESPN platforms (all times Eastern):
|Dec. 9||2 p.m.||AKC Disc Dog Challenge||ESPN2|
|Dec. 11||10 p.m.||AKC Heroes – 2022 Awards for Canine Excellence||ESPN2|
|Dec. 25||2:30 p.m.||AKC Agility Dogs Invitational||ESPN2|
|4:30 p.m.||AKC Disc Dog Challenge||ESPN2|
|Jan. 1, 2023||2 p.m.||AKC National Championship||ABC|