INDIANAPOLIS - USA track and field athletes this summer will take another step on their journey toward the 2008 Olympics with the 2006 Outdoor Visa Championship Series, whose schedule was announced Monday by USA Track & Field.
With the Visa Championship Series featuring broadcasts on NBC and ESPN, fans around the country can watch America's Olympic and world-champion athletes as they compete throughout the outdoor season, aiming for a Team USA berth for the 2006 IAAF World Cup in Athens in September.
Adding to the excitement of competition on the track and over the airwaves, the Visa Championship Series features over $1.5 million in prize and promotional dollars, including a jackpot prize going to the Outdoor Visa Champions. Visa Champions will be the top male and female performers of the Visa Championship Series, with top performances rated according to the IAAF Scoring Tables of Athletics.
The Visa Championship Series features a tour of America's track-and-field hotbeds on both coasts. It begins April 29 with USA vs. The World at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, where more than 100,000 raucous fans take in the three-day relay carnival. It continues May 21 with the adidas Track Classic in Los Angeles, annually producing some of the fastest times in the world, and moves to Eugene, Ore. - site of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials - for the internationally renowned Nike Prefontaine Classic on May 28.
New York City and the state-of-the-art Icahn Stadium host the Visa Championship Series on June 3 with the second annual Reebok Grand Prix, and the Series concludes June 21-25 with the AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Indianapolis, home of the USA Track & Field National Office and site of the record-smashing 1988 Olympic Trials.
At stake in Indianapolis are individual national titles, the overall Visa Championship and spots on Team USA for the 2006 World Cup in Athletics, set for September 16-17 in Athens. Only the champion in each event will make the team for the World Cup, a finals-only team competition that pits Team USA against continental teams from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceana. In addition, the top two national teams from the Spar European Cup Super League Final 2006 and host-country Greece will field teams at the World Cup.
Fans get involved
The 2006 Visa Championship Series features an exciting new Visa Championship Series Consumer Promotion that allows followers of The World's # 1 Track & Field Team to get in on the action like never before. Each week, fans can log onto www.visachampionshipseries.com to pick the athletes - male and female - they think will be leading the Visa Championship Series after each meet. Correct predictions will be eligible to win a weekly prize of a $250 Visa gift card and a Nike/USATF gift bag, and a grand prize of $5,000 is awarded for correct predictions of the overall Visa Champions.
The Visa Championship Series enters its second year as USA Track & Field and Visa prepare for the road to Beijing. Visa's involvement in USATF elite athlete development continues Visa's long-standing commitment to helping USATF develop the country's preeminent track and field athletes. At the same time, it helps Visa engage its Member financial institutions and merchant partners to build their business in Olympic-related marketing activities and events between Olympic Games.
For more information on the Visa Championship Series, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com
Live NCAA coverage adds to TV time
Television coverage of the 2006 Visa Championship Series features 12 hours of airtime, including 11 hours of live broadcasts. The national 2006 track telecast lineup is further bolstered by CBS's live, 2 ½-hour coverage of the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships on June 10. This marks the first time since 1982 that the meet will be broadcast live.
2006 Outdoor Visa Championship Series Event Schedule
Date Event Site
Apr.29 USA vs. The World at Penn Relays Philadelphia, Pa. (Franklin Field)
May 21 adidas Track Classic Los Angeles, Calif. (Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.)
May 28 Nike Prefontaine Classic Eugene, Ore. (Hayward Field)
June 3 Reebok Grand Prix New York (Icahn Stadium)
June 21-25 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships Indianapolis, Ind. (Michael A. Carroll Stadium)
2006 Outdoor Track & Field TV Schedule
(Broadcasts subject to change. All times Eastern; check local listings)
Date Event Network Time
Apr. 30 USA vs. The World at Penn Relays NBC 5-6 p.m.
May 21 adidas Track Classic ESPN 4-6 p.m.
May 28 Nike Prefontaine Classic ESPN2 5-7 p.m.
June 3 Reebok Grand Prix ESPN2 6-8 p.m.
June 10 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Champs CBS 3:30-6 p.m.
June 24 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships ESPN 6-8 p.m.
June 25 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships ESPN2 5-7 p.m.
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