Verizon Communications and ESPN have launched a "Tournament Challenge" TV app for FiOS TV customers to access and edit their NCAA basketball tournament brackets from their TVs, tablets, computers and wireless phones.
The app, developed by New York-based ITV developer Ensequence, is free for FiOS TV subs.
"Tournament Challenge" will provide instant updates to a viewer's personalized ESPN bracket throughout the tournament. Users can create and check their brackets by clicking on the "Widgets" button on the FiOS TV remote control, selecting "FiOS TV Widgets," and selecting the ESPN Tournament Challenge icon under the Featured, Sports and Games categories.
"Verizon's commitment to improving the TV user experience and bringing Internet functionality to all screens served as a catalyst for integrating 'Tournament Challenge' across the many platforms available to Verizon FiOS customers," Matt Murphy, senior vice president of digital video distribution for Disney and ESPN Media Networks, said in a statement.
After launching the app, users will be able to navigate between live tournament games and their brackets on the TV screen. Participants can also use a tablet, computer or smart phone to fill out and view their brackets. They must make their bracket picks prior to the game's scheduled tip-off time.
"We are thrilled to be working with Verizon and ESPN on developing this innovative branded digital experience," Ensequence CEO Peter Low said. "This is another great example of how cross-platform interactivity can drive deeper engagement with television audiences."
ESPN's "Tournament Challenge" game, in its 15th year, had nearly 6.5 million entries in 2011, up 22% from the year prior.