The Battle Presented by AT&T – an inside look at the HBCU (Historically Black College and University) Marching Bands – will return for its second season with five 30-minute shows over five straight weeks, every Thursday from Nov. 10 to Dec. 8, on ESPNU. This year the series will focus on the training, discipline, heart, soul and sweat of the Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band.
“You can’t talk about Grambling State University football, without talking about the Grambling State Band” said the school’s head football coach Doug Williams, featured in the Nov. 10 debut.
The Battle reflects a glimpse into the rivalry and tradition that dates back decades and defines HBCU bands, like the GSU Tiger Marching Band. Established in 1926, with 17-members, the band is now 250 marching strong with a resume that includes halftime performance at Super Bowl I and IX, a parade appearance in the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976 and the inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2001, a place in the NCAA Hall of Fame and several national iconic commercials.
The band trains rigorously day-in and day-out for football games and band rivalries that date back decades as part of the HBCU tradition. The five-part series takes viewers from the very first steps at training camp to the final march at the Bayou Classic , an annual gridiron clash between Grambling State and Southern, as the students strive to meet the expectations that come with their band’s namesake.
“A large majority of HBCU football fans take as much pride in the marching band halftime performance as the other four quarters of play that surround it,” said ESPNU vice president Rosalyn Durant. “As the home for college sports we take pride in providing the content that our sports fans crave and ‘The Battle’ is a continuation of that commitment.”
This year’s HBCU journey is directed and produced by five time NAACP Image Award winner Roger Bobb, president of Bobbcat Films. Bobb was formerly the executive vice president of Tyler Perry Studios and producer of House Of Payne, Meet The Browns and 11 Tyler Perry films.
“It was an honor and a privilege to work with ESPNU on this project which gives an honest and fascinating look at what it takes to be a student and a band member at an HBCU” said Bobb. Shante Paige is the executive producer of this season.
The Battle Presented by AT&T on Thursday Nights (Schedule subject to change):