2018 Puppy Bowl: new Geico stadium, debut of first Dog Bowl

January 5, 2018

Puppy Bowl XIV
(Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)

The following is a press release from Animal Planet:

PUPPY BOWL, the cutest competition in sports history, returns to Animal Planet on Feb. 4 for an epic matchup between adoptable puppy players from #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff who go paw to paw and nose to nose to win the CHEWY.COM “Lombarky” PUPPY BOWL XIV trophy. PUPPY BOWL XIV will air simultaneously on both coasts when it premieres Sunday, Feb. 4 at 3PM/ET 12PM/PT featuring two hours of fuzzy faces, sloppy kisses, incredible interceptions, puppy penalties and hard-won touchdowns. After the pup-tastic game of ear pulls and tail tugs is over, all the PUPPY BOWL puppy players end up as winners when they find their forever homes.

PUPPY BOWL XIV will be played at the all-new bone-shaped GEICO® stadium which features more than a dozen cameras, including those embedded in the end zone pylons, to help get audiences closer to the PUPPY BOWL action than ever before. The game kicks off with Jokgu the piano playing chicken from Season 12 of America’s Got Talent pecking out “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the keyboard as an adorable blended bunch of baby barnyard cheerleaders, including ducklings, piglets and baby bunnies, help excite fans on the sidelines throughout the game.

The tail-gating starts with the PUPPY BOWL Pre-Game Show at 2PM ET/11AM PT, featuring aww-nalysis and cuddly commentary from sports anchor James Hound with Rodt Weiler and Sheena Inu serving as pregame show analysts. The competitive canines will conduct their pre-game rituals from the PUPPY BOWL locker room, which includes an all-new locker room webcam. Additionally, Gordon Setter and Greta Dane will serve as pre-game field correspondents.

This year’s PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup will compete for the individual BISSELL® MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) award by scoring the most touchdowns with dog-approved toys by CHEWY.COM. And for the seventh consecutive year, America’s favorite rufferee, Dan Schachner, returns to call the puppy penalties, furry fumbles and terrier touchdowns, as his assistant referee this year, Shirley the rescue sloth, will assist him on the field.

Award-winning animal advocate Jill Rappaport introduces the Subaru of America, Inc. Pup Close and Personal segments that highlight heartwarming stories of the adorable athletes. The in-depth Pup Close and Personal profiles this season include Puppy adoption advocate and The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise alum Wells Adams and his continuing efforts to promote puppy adoption; Mango, the first-ever international PUPPY BOWL player who was rescued from Mexico by the family team behind Compassion Without Borders;  the incredible relationship between BFF pups Buttons, a sight-impaired and deaf Cocker Spaniel and Sophie, a three-legged Goldendoodle; and Tyler, a loveable pup player rescued from the flood waters of Houston during Hurricane Harvey who made his way to PUPPY BOWL XIV via a road trip with Greg Mahle of Rescue Road Trips.

As always, fans will witness PUPPY BOWL’s iconic water bowl cam, instant replays and the fan-favorite kiss cam. Animal Planet audiences won’t miss a moment of the excitement with aerial shots of the field from the SHEBA® Sky Box and the Puppy Bowl Blimp as Surge the hamster is back on his wheel powering the PUPPY BOWL scoreboard.

For PUPPY BOWL XIV, Animal Planet worked with 48 different animal shelters and rescue organizations from 25 U.S. states and territories, to fill the rosters of #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff with 90 adoptable players for this puppy pile-up – the most puppies and shelters in PUPPY BOWL history. With the help of DNA testing conducted by WISDOM PANEL™, these puppy athletes go beyond fur-deep to find out what they’re really made of and use it to their advantage.

PUPPY BOWL XIV features pups rescued from areas that were devastated by natural disasters in 2017, including Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida. A Pit Bull puppy player from Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest Pit Bull rescue in the U.S., is also featured in PUPPY BOWL XIV with Marcel from Pit Bulls & Parolees. Other special needs puppy players this year include, among other players, Ryder (a sight-impaired Husky), Chance (a deaf Dalmatian), Moonshine (a sight-impaired and deaf Border Collie) and Luna (a Pomeranian mix with a cleft palate), who won’t let anything stop them from trying to score the winning touchdown and a loving forever home.

Meep the Bird, a rescue African Gray Parrot, returns to talk sports and live tweet updates throughout the game from his iPhone and iPad. Fans can follow @MeepTheBird on Twitter and Instagram to catch the latest news, puppy drama and locker room moments from inside the stadium.

While the puppy players break for a cat nap, the ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™ Cat Litter KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW gets underway with viral video sensation Prince Michael and Phil the cat from Aaron’s Animals. These popular purrformers take to the stage as Kitt-ENSYNC sings “Meow Meow Meow” to the tune of *NSYNC’s 2000 hit “Bye Bye Bye.” All adoptable kittens on stage with Kitt-ENSYNC are provided by ASPCA NY.

And these aren’t the only cats who need to be rescued. Wild tigers are in trouble due to habitat loss and poaching, which is pushing them to extinction. Discovery Communications is working with World Wildlife Fund and others to support Project C.A.T., a worldwide effort to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. By conserving nearly two million acres of protected land in India and Bhutan, this collaboration aims to ensure a healthy habitat for future generations of tigers. To join and support Project C.A.T., please visit discovery.com/ProjectCAT. If you are in the U.S., simply text TIGER to 707070.

PUPPY BOWL digital audiences can point their paws to AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowl to view the roster of the PUPPY BOWL XIV starting lineup. For the first time, fans can create their very own digital PUPPY BOWL trading cards, using their own beloved animal as the star! Just upload your pet’s photo, choose one of 10 different frames – including the option to choose #TeamRuff or #TeamFluff – and add fun stats like “Pawsome Talent,” “Favorite TV Show” and “Naughtiest Habit.” On game day,  Sunday, Feb. 4, PUPPY BOWL XIV fans are invited to vote in the Most Valuable Puppy poll at AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowlMVP. The viewer votes determine which puppy player gets barking rights and the title of MVP, which will be revealed during PUPPY BOWL XIV.

Leading up to the game, social media users are encouraged to keep an eye out for a very special PUPPY BOWL Instagram Story that will provide an insider’s look at PUPPY BOWL – the only way to see it is by following @AnimalPlanet on Instagram. PUPPY BOWL fans can also follow all the PUPPY BOWL action in real time on Twitter via @animalplanet. Fans looking for the Puppy Bowl news and opinion that truly matter can keep an eye out for “Spot Center” and “Around the Bowl” on the Animal Planet and Puppy Bowl Facebook  pages.

PUPPY BOWL VIRTUAL REALITY gives viewers a pup’s eye view of the action, taking them inside Puppy Bowl Training Camp, where puppy trainer Mike turns our rookie players from fluff to buff! The two-part PUPPY BOWL VIRTUAL REALITY series will be available at AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowlVR, through the Discovery VR iOS and Android apps, Samsung VR and the Animal Planet YouTube channel.

Last year, PUPPY BOWL XIII dominated a field of imitators with the #1 cable telecast across the day. It was the second-highest-rated PUPPY BOWL in the history of the event, dogging all competition on cable. The single telecast averaged 2.5 million total viewers P2+, a double-digit increase (+12%) in viewers vs. the PUPPY BOWL XII telecast. PUPPY BOWL XIII also ranked #2 in ALL OF TELEVISION in its timeslot among Women 25-54 and Women 18-49 for the fifth consecutive year, no exclusions, behind only FOX and its Super Bowl coverage. PUPPY BOWL XIV will repeat all day and night for a total of 10 hours on game day.

PUPPY BOWL XIV official sponsors are PEDIGREE®, CHEWY.COM, Subaru of America, Inc., BISSELL®, ARM & HAMMER™ SLIDE™ Cat Litter, WISDOM PANEL™, GEICO® and SHEBA®.

Animal Planet will premiere the first-ever Puppy Bowl Presents: The Dog Bowl, a newly added furry football competition for adult dogs living in rescues and shelters, frequently passed over for their younger counterparts. As a companion to PUPPY BOWL, The Dog Bowl works with shelters and rescues to fill the rosters of two teams of players, Team Wags and Team Tails, for what will be a full-scale matchup. The Subaru of America, Inc. “Dogs Life” in-depth profiles of individual dog players will include NFL player Eric Decker and Jessie James Decker who run Deckers Dogs, a non-profit that trains rescue dogs to be to be service dogs for disabled vets; NFL player and animal advocate Logan Ryan; Tia Torres from Pit Bulls & Parolees; and Steve Greig aka @Wolfgang2242 on Instagram who has dedicated his life to caring for and helping to rescue senior dogs in need.

The Dog Bowl also features celebrity dogs from Instagram, including, among other celebs, Mannie the Frenchie (@mannie_the_frenchie), Chloe Kardoggian (@chloekardoggian), EllaBean (@ellabeanthedog), Rufus the Pug (@realrufuspug), and Hamilton the Pug (@hamiltonpug) who show support and cheer for players. The Dog Bowl Half Time “Pet-A-Palooza” adoption event takes place at Little Shelter in Long Island, NY. Other The Dog Bowl sponsors include SOUTHWEST, MILK-BONE, PURINA and ALLSTATE.

Animal Planet audiences can learn more about the shelters, rescues and organizations that participated in PUPPY BOWL XIV by visiting https://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppy-bowl/.

PUPPY BOWL XIV is produced for Animal Planet by Discovery Studios where Simon Morris is executive producer and showrunner and Cindy Kain is vice president of current production. For Animal Planet, Dawn Sinsel serves as executive producer and Pat Dempsey is producer.

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