By: Andrew Giangola
PUEBLO, Colo. – PBR (Professional Bull Riders) has announced a new 40-hour televised team competition that will run from June 5 – July 12, beginning at South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The competition will then culminate in a championship weekend that will welcome fans to ticketed events at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota July 10-12.
The PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge will feature 48 of the world’s top professional bull riders split into 12 teams and two divisions, facing off until two teams remain to compete for the championship. The competitions each Friday and Saturday will be televised on CBS Sports Network with a “Game of the Week” broadcast on CBS Television Network each Sunday. Every night of competition will feature three “games,” where each game will comprise a head-to-head matchup of three riders from one team against three riders from another on the sport’s toughest bulls.
The first four weekends of the team challenge in Las Vegas will be closed-to-the-public on June 5-28 using the safety protocols PBR debuted during three previous event weekends in April and May, including a scaled-down crew, medical testing, functional separation and social distancing.
Championship weekend in South Dakota will be held in front of fans July 10-12. To help ensure a safe environment for fans purchasing tickets, event partners Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, the City of Sioux Falls, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and PBR will institute a new series of safety protocols, including mobile ticketing, staggered POD seating, re-routed in-arena traffic flow, social distancing guidelines, enhanced disinfecting and cashless concessions options.
The event will include activation of ASM Global’s “Venue Shield”– an advanced environmental hygiene protocol that will be deployed in more than 325 ASM facilities around the world. ASM Global, which manages Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, is the world’s leading venue management and services company. Venue Shield, which reduces physical touch points, increases venue sanitization and cleanliness, and provides various health monitoring guidelines and services, will be combined with PBR’s newly announced “Be Cowboy Safe” protocols for live events.
The guidelines and protocols in place at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center will include:
To increase physical distancing, tickets available to the public for only approximately 35% of the capacity for PBR events at the arena.
• POD seating that separates fans with a minimum four- to six-foot buffer between ticketed seats and minimizes the potential for crossover for fans entering and exiting their seats.
• Complimentary facial coverings for fans entering the venue.
• More efficient “top to bottom” exit following the event to reduce aisle, hallway and exit congregation.
• Mobile ticketing to replace traditional printed tickets.
• Increased reliance on cashless, contactless concessions with prepackaged food available for sale.
• Social distancing guidelines and monitoring at restroom and concession areas.
• Limiting the number of fans who may enter and occupy restrooms at any time.
• Regular medical testing/screening for all staff as they enter the venue.
“South Dakota is working to get back to normal, and that includes the return of sports at the proper time,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “South Dakotans have been smart and innovative in responding to this crisis, and the plan for the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center shows that we can reopen arenas in safe and innovative ways. We commend ASM Global and PBR for their careful planning and will continue to work with them to ensure the safety of their fans.”
“After successfully holding closed events in Oklahoma that utilized a comprehensive wellness and safety plan now being reviewed by other leagues, we have added protocols to provide fans a secure place to enjoy a new exciting team format,” said PBR Commissioner Sean Gleason. “We want to thank our fans for their patience and cooperation, as well as our venue, city and state partners, including Governor Kristi Noem, for collaborating on these measures for bringing this new team tournament in front of fans in an environment they’ll be comfortable in.”
“We are proud to partner with PBR and excited about the addition of a team-based format to the world’s best bull riding circuit. This new competition series will provide a platform for established and upcoming talent to shine in the spotlight, and we look forward to a successful PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge,” said Mitch Covington, Senior Vice President of Sports Marketing at Monster Energy.
In the team challenge, every team will have played six regular season games after four weeks. The teams with the top three records in each division will make the playoffs, with the regular season division champion earning a first round bye. Championship weekend – a single elimination bracket – will feature wild card matchups on Friday, the semifinals on Saturday, and Championship Sunday broadcast on CBS Television Network, with the consolation game on CBS Sports Network.
The Monster Energy Team Challenge Championship Weekend at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center will begin at 7:45 pm on Friday, July 10, 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, July 11 and 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, July 12.
Tickets for this event will go on sale for PBR Rewards members on Monday, May 18 and for the general public on Friday, June 5, and can be purchased on PBR.COM, Ticketmaster.com, and at the KELOLAND box office. Ticket prices start at $15.
PBR’s most recent Unleash The Beast ticketed event for fans was in Little Rock March 6-7, 2020. When restrictions on mass gatherings from COVID-19 (Coronavirus) were put into place, PBR held closed-to-fans events for television in Georgia March 15-16, and at the Lazy E Arena in Oklahoma April 25-26 and May 9-10 with a comprehensive safety plan approved by three layers of government.
PBR will announce in the coming weeks further competition details and rosters for The PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge, which will not offer individual riders’ points toward the 2020 world standings.
PBR will handle all production for these events, which are subject to change depending on developments with Covid-19.
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