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How do you make the “Puppy Bowl” even more snuggly? Virtual reality!
Animal Planet and Geico have teamed up to bring “Puppy Bowl XII” to fans in virtual reality via four practice scrimmages. Launching today, the in-your-snout option invites viewers onto the turf for the first time ever, immersing themselves in a full 360-degree experience.
The actual “Puppy Bowl XII” airs Sunday, Feb. 7, from 3-5 p.m. ET. But, of course, there is a pregame tailgate show at 2:30, featuring analysis and commentary from a team of sports correspondents.
Once again, there is a “Kitty Halftime Show” slated for midway throughout the contest. The feline participants will use San Francisco — the site of Super Bowl 50 — as their backdrop, pawing across the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and “Al-Cat-Raz.” That pun was Animal Planet’s, by the way.
This year, Animal Planet worked with 44 different animal shelters and rescue organizations from across the U.S. to fill the rosters of #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff with adoptable players for this epic matchup. All told, 49 puppies participated from 25 different states and territories.
And 2016’s version will be a true collaboration across the animal kingdom: Beyond the dogs and cats, Stanley the Skunk will be guest “Rufferee,” assisting usual zebra, Dan Schachner. Chicken cheerleaders will strut their stuff on the sidelines, where animal advocate and television correspondent Jill Rappaport will introduce Pup Close and Personal segments, presented by Subaru, which highlight adorable animal bonds between puppy players and their best buddies — including a kitten and a hedgehog.
“Meep the Bird” returns to his perch to tweet live updates throughout the big game, obviously.
The cable channel also is partnering with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to introduce the Puppy Bowl Hall of Fame to honor legacy players throughout “Puppy Bowl” and promote the adoption of older “veteran” animals in addition to puppies and kittens.
“Puppy Bowl” XII is produced for Animal Planet by Discovery Studios. Simon Morris is the co-executive producer and Josh Wilkins is the vice president of production for Discovery Studios. For Animal Planet, Melinda Toporoff is the executive producer and Pat Dempsey is the associate producer. Other official sponsors include Bissel, Dairy Queen, Disney’s “Zootopia,” Hershey’s, Pedigree, Sheba, Subaru and “The Secret Life of Pets.”
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