\ The Showdown’s CBS Air Date Revealed – SUP Racer
September 11, 2014
by Christopher Parker (@wheresbossman)

The Showdown’s CBS Air Date Revealed

CBS Sports Spectacular stand up paddling

Frame grab from the Ultimate SUP Showdown broadcast on CBS Sports Network

After all the fanfare in the lead up to last month’s event, we’ll soon get to see exactly what the Ultimate SUP Showdown looks like on TV. The hour-long broadcast on CBS Sports Network – one of the Showdown’s main selling points – is happening in just 10 days.

So if you weren’t lucky enough to be on the beach in Waikiki, but you still wanna see Connor, Kai, Zane, Danny, Travis, Candice, Annabel, Jenny and a few dozen more big names battle it out, you don’t have long to wait: The Showdown will air on CBS Sports Network Sunday 21st September @ 3pm East Coast, 12 noon California and 9am in Hawaii.

Unlike your average SUP race, this TV broadcast is absolutely critical to the entire Showdown model. The organisers are literally betting everything on this first broadcast being a success: The plan is to have CBS (or any of their competitors) frothing over the coverage and wanting to order a multi-stop, full broadcast tour for next year.

A major TV deal seems to be the entire foundation of the Showdown’s business model. And, right now at least, that foundation is looking pretty good.

Ultimate SUP Showdown CBS Sports Network

Frame grab from the Ultimate SUP Showdown broadcast on CBS Sports Network

I had a sneak peek at the broadcast and it looks slick. Very slick.

The camera work, the helicopter angles, the on-board GoPro footage, the mic’d up athletes, the editing, the graphics, the commentary – it’s all very high level. It actually makes us look like a real sport for once.

Throw in the fact that a good chunk of the world’s best paddlers were in this year’s Showdown and I’d say it’ll be the most complete TV broadcast in the history of stand up paddling. And while the future of the Showdown’s TV ambitions will come down to ratings, I’ve heard through the grapevine that CBS Sports Network head honchos were suitably impressed with the first edit.

The 60-minute show will feature a lot of the action from on the water, including the Showdown finale race in full, though it’ll also include a few pieces on the paddlers themselves. The focus will be on six athletes – Connor Baxter, Zane Schweitzer, Matt Becker, Riggs Napoleon, Candice Appleby and Vanina Walsh – that have have been on contract to the Showdown for the past few months.

These six paddlers are basically sponsored by the Showdown organisers, not only to compete in this event but to spread the word about the Showdown in general. Boyd Jeffery, the main man behind this whole circus, has made it his mission to “look after the paddlers first and foremost,” which means potentially adding more Showdown Ambassadors in the coming months.

Connor Baxter Ultimate SUP Showdown TV

Frame grab from the Ultimate SUP Showdown broadcast on CBS Sports Network

That of course depends on how the TV show fares. If it scores the ratings and gets CBS execs excited, this could be the start of something big.

Keep in mind this broadcast is aimed at the general sports fan, not us hardcore paddlers, so the content (and commentary) will probably have a more general feel to it. Chuck Patterson is in the commentary booth though, so that should hold things together for the purists among us.

So if you have access to CBS Sports Network or know someone that does, tune in on the 21st. I believe this is North America only – no word yet on international broadcasts but hopefully somebody can swipe a copy for us to watch in full.

The Showdown will air as part of the network’s Sports Spectacular and you can use the channel finder to figure out when/where to watch locally.

Though, rather ironically, several of the Showdown athletes themselves won’t be able to watch the premiere: The Huntington Pro Grand Slam (part of the World Series) is scheduled the same day. So right when the broadcast is airing, guys like Zane, Connor, Kai, Riggs and the other young guns will be out in the water. Apparently this was a pure coincidence (CBS chose the air date, not the Showdown organisers) and hopefully the Huntington race will run either early morning or late afternoon in order to give these guys a chance to watch their big moment.

But either way: This definitely is a big moment.

CBS SUP Showdown

Frame grab from the Ultimate SUP Showdown broadcast on CBS Sports Network