ESPN apologizes after accidentally leaking women's basketball bracket before show

An error four hours before the NCAA women's basketball selection show spoiled the suspense for fans and players.

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An error four hours before the NCAA women's basketball selection show spoiled the suspense for fans and players.

There was no suspense when the brackets were revealed for the women’s NCAA basketball tournament Monday. That’s because the announcement was leaked several hours ahead of the selection show.

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ESPN apologized after it leaked the brackets Monday afternoon, hours ahead of the official announcement, Sports Illustrated reported.

It was the second time in three years that a basketball tournament bracket was leaked , The New York Times reported.

The selection show was supposed to air on ESPN at 7 p.m. EDT, the newspaper reported. Instead, sister network ESPNU accidentally released the information four hours early on its “Bracketology” show.

"An unfortunate technical error by ESPN revealed the 2019 NCAA Division I women's championship bracket earlier today," the NCAA tweeted Monday. "We regret the network's mistake and are working with our partners at ESPN to prevent similar errors in future years."

Basketball analysts Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams were discussing the men's bracket, which was released Sunday night, The New York Times reported. While the men's bracket was shown prominently on the broadcast, the women's bracket appeared in pieces on the side, revealing the top seeds for the tournament, the newspaper reported.

"In working with the NCAA to prepare for tonight's Women's Selection Special we received the bracket, similar to years past," ESPN said in a statement Monday. "In the midst of our preparation, the bracket was mistakenly posted on ESPNU. We deeply regret the error and extend our apology to the NCAA and the women's basketball community. We will conduct a thorough review of our process to ensure it doesn't happen in the future."

ESPN moved its selection show up two hours earlier, to 5 p.m. EDT, on ESPNU, the sports network said.

An NCAA tournament men's bracket was leaked during the middle of the CBS telecast of the selection show three years ago on Twitter, The New York Times reported.

This year’s women’s tournament begins Friday, with the Final Four to be played in Tampa, Florida, April 5. The championship game will also be played in Tampa, on April 7.

Here is the official women’s bracket:

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