Indy 500 Broadcast Crew Discusses Sunday’s Race

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This Sunday, ABC will mark a big anniversary. The network will broadcast the famed Indy 500 for the 50th consecutive year. In anticipation of the upcoming anniversary, Rich Feinberg–ESPN VP of Motorsports and Production–held a conference call with members of the media to discuss the race, its history on ABC, and much more. Feinberg was joined on the call by Allen Bestwick, who will call the race for the very first time in his career, and by Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. All three men will be in the booth for Sunday’s race. The following is the transcript of yesterday’s discussion with members of the media. From the history of the race’s broadcast to the introduction of new drivers and re-introduction of others and more, the men discuss a number of topics. That’s all here. Sunday’s broadcast of the Indy 500 begins with pre-race coverage at 11am ET. The green flag is expected to fly at 12:12pm ET. Enjoy!

RICH FEINBERG: 50 years on ABC.  For me, that starts with a ‘Wow.’  What a run.  My personal memories of the Indy 500 and ABC’s coverage of it date back to when I was a kid.  Memorial Day weekends with my family, appointment viewing.  Those days it was on a tape delay at night.  To see it come around now to the 50-year anniversary is just amazing.

Our team looks at it like it’s a privilege to produce the Indy 500.  It always has been.  It always will be.  It’s a cherished assignment that everybody embraces.  Our goal is quite simple, and that’s to uphold the tradition of excellence in coverage that’s been established by our ABC colleagues over the past 49 years.

That may sound a bit cliché, but it’s a fact.  We do that by focusing our coverage on the drivers and their stories, their team’s race strategy.  Perhaps the most intriguing thing for the casual fan, that’s the speed.  When you’re talking about cars doing over 230 miles an hour, that’s an off-the-charts number.

Through our coverage, we want to make sure our viewers feel like they’re not only enjoying the race but thirsting to be there.  I look forward to being a part of it as I do every year.

 

ALLEN BESTWICK:  The history for me, when I was a young kid, my dad had racecars at a racetrack in Seekonk, Massachusetts.  Didn’t get much racing on television then, except for the Indianapolis 500.  That was appointment television for us.  As a young boy, watching this race every year sparked my fascination with the broadcasting business, in particular as I continued to follow, watching Jim McKay, the role he played, the variety of sports he did, the excellence with which he did them, and how much you felt like even though you never met him, he was a friend through the television.

So for me all these years later to get a chance to sit in that seat on this occasion, it’s not just bucket list, it’s beyond bucket list.  It’s a little overwhelming to think about how fortunate I am and how honored I am to be part of this.

I can’t wait for Sunday.  It’s been a wonderful month so far and I really look forward to a great race.

 

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  I can certainly remember the very first time I went to Indianapolis in 1973 with my father.  It was a bit of a surprise visit because I was racing a go-kart and he surprised me on the Saturday night and said, We’re not racing tomorrow, we’re going to drive all night and go to the Indianapolis 500.  It has been a part of my life for a long time.

Then having a chance to go there as a rookie in 1990 as a driver was pretty cool.  Having some reasonable success there, and now having an opportunity as I have done for many years to be in the booth with ABC is truly a privilege.  When we get together for meetings, there’s a lot of passion and pride to being involved in this race.

For me, I view this race now from the television booth almost like a driver.  There are the super teams that you anticipate will do well, there are teams in the middle of the road that have a good shot at it, then there are teams there participating, if they’re in the top 10 at the end of the day they feel pretty lucky.

The split between group one and group two seems like it’s been shrinking for the past couple years.  This year, smaller teams winning some events, Long Beach and the Indy GP, that might be true this weekend.

Ed Carpenter, surprising everybody.  Neat to do qualifying, see the frustration on the big teams’ faces because they are missing some answers.

Indianapolis is all about the weather literally, the sense of what it can do to your racecar; emotions, what it can do to you as a driver.  That’s just qualifying.  The race is no different.

What I watched in practice yesterday from the group racing, last year practice shows it’s going to have the same thing for this coming Indy 500.  Excited about it.

Somebody asked me the other day, Pick a winner.  I don’t think I can.  I think there’s an honest 10, 12 people that can win this event.  Eddie and I were talking about it.  If you were betting in Vegas, it would be hard to put your money on somebody.  Looking forward to it.

 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  I dreamed about it as a child when I was living in Italy, I heard it on the radio.  I kept racing.  I was lucky to come here and race.  I was lucky enough to win it.  Now I’m going to be sitting in the booth with two friends calling the 50th anniversary of ABC calling the Indy 500.  I don’t know how it could be any better than that.

It’s going to be a very exciting race.  There’s too many stories to sit down and go through them one by one, so many different possibilities, that I really think it’s going to go down as one of the most exciting races we’ve ever had at Indy.  And when you consider how we ended last lap, the result would have probably changed if the race would have gone another 400 yards, and I expect we’ll see the same thing on Sunday.

 

Q.         Eddie and Scott, there’s two names that have returned this year that link back to some important moments in IndyCar recent history, with Villeneuve coming back, and Montoya being back.  What do you think about having both of those names back in the field?  Have you heard from fans?  Do you feel there’s a different vibe having them back? 

 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  They’re two totally different types of drivers.  They have been extremely successful in Formula One.  Villeneuve is a Formula One world champion, which in my books is as high as it gets in open-wheel racing.

I knew Villeneuve’s father very well when we were racing together in Formula One.  I remember driving back around in a car where I was doing the steering and — he was doing the steering and I was doing the throttle.  I was never pushing on the throttle strong enough.

I have a great interest in seeing him do very well.  I think he’ll approach the race differently.  He’s with a smaller team.  He already looks like he’s starting to think about how he will prepare himself for those last laps.

A lot of people have gravitated to him during the race.  As the race goes on, people will remember the great win he had not too long ago.

Montoya is racing for Penske.  He’s committed to the series for the whole season, whereas Villeneuve is committed for one race for the moment.

He’s had an exciting beginning, but not quite up to pace where everybody expected him to do well.  He all of a sudden laid down a very good lap on the day of qualifying.

I think you’ll really see a lot of aggressive moves from Montoya early on.  He’s going for a perfect record, having competed only twice.  I really think he has a good chance of winning.

There’s a lot of excitement whenever you mention the word ‘Montoya’ in the pits, even amongst the drivers.  Whereas Villeneuve, he’s going to have to build that back up, but there’s a lot of respect for what he has done.

 

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  I think everything Eddie said is spot on.  The interesting thing for me is I had an opportunity to spend half an hour with Jacques in the garage area a week ago.  Through all the questions I was asking him, catching up with him, I asked him, Why come back to something that you’ve won, have great memories with?  Why come back after a 19-year absence?

He said, Racing is my oxygen.  I need to race something.  I loved it.  It didn’t really interest me for quite a few years.  But I’ve been watching it for the last year, year and a half, and he said it’s something he would like to go back to.

He said he would like to come back to the series next year and run full-time, if it’s possible.  If this is an audition to get his feet wet and make sure that he can go out and let people know his interest, it may be.  I’m not sure that if everybody is running strong at the end of the day that he has enough experience in these new cars, which he says are different to drive, to be a contender.  I think finishing in the top 10 would be a success for him and the team.

With Montoya, I’ll add to what Eddie said, every driver you speak to in the paddock says that when he has enough time underneath his belt in these cars, from being in the tin tops for the last little while, they’re going to worry that he’s going to be dominating like he was before, from the factor that he’ll be one of those guys you’ll be battling with in the top 3-5.  As.

The drivers say, they have enough drivers they have to contend with.  A lot of respect for Montoya in the garage area.

 

Q.         Is it good generally for the series to have both of those drivers back? 

 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  I think it’s phenomenal, exceptional.  Montoya brings a lot of Formula One sense.  Montoya brings a lot of people back to watching open-wheel racing.

Villeneuve, I can’t repeat it enough, was a Formula One champion.  His father was, I would say, one of the top three drivers that ever drove for Ferrari.  The history, the whole amount of energy they bring is tremendous to anything they participate in.

 

Q.         This is the first time we have a youngster from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, not named Andretti.  I wanted Scott and Eddie’s take on the young Sage Karam, in high school still.  Your thoughts of his challenges, how he might add to the storyline on Sunday. 

 

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  When I met him earlier this month and spent some time with him, speaking with him in the garage, nice young man.  At 19 years of age, times have changed, because at 19, I was just finishing karting and about ready to take my first day of Formula Ford school.

We were talking about this on our conference call this morning.  They almost have harnessed him back a little bit because the team says he is very eager to get going and is trying to get so much accomplished in a short amount of time.

As a rookie here, you can be very fast.  But 500 miles is such a long, long time on the racetrack.  I always broke it up into five 100-mile races.  You have to get yourself through it and not rush.

This will be interesting for Villeneuve and Montoya.  It’s been a while since they’ve come here and run this race.  Everybody is anxious.  Seems like it happens between 250 and 300 miles.  Everybody seems like they want to get going.  I always did.

For him as a rookie, he’s going to have to be throttled back, have somebody good with him on the radio talking to him, his spotter is going to have to do well.  He has enthusiasm, good looks, an American, so he has a bright future ahead of him.

 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  Just to add to what Scott said, talent and youth and energy are wonderful things to have.  Don’t really fit in that well in how you approach the Indy 500.  Here you have to have an enormous amount of patience.  You have to be willing to listen to the pits.  You have to be able to pick yourself up from a bad stint with the tires not working or you have some sort of problem.

It will be a great testament to his ability if he can finish the 500.

We saw another youngster last year from Colombia called Munoz, Scott and I were betting which lap he was going to crash because he was almost in the grass, but he made it.

Those things that carry you forward in open-wheel racing on a street course don’t really come much into play around the Speedway.

 

Q.         Marco Andretti, your take on Marco?  Seems like he can’t get over the hump.  Very close, very much in contention for a good portion of the race last year.  It just didn’t happen for him.  Same thing happened a couple weeks later at Pocono where he had the dominant car all weekend.  Seems like he’s there every week. 

 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  He is always a threat to win.  It’s his family’s team.  He has been very quick.  His rookie year at Indy was unbelievable.  He lost by the smallest of margins.  He is unfortunate in that he has some incredibly talented teammates.

He’s really going to be judged not so much by the fact that he wins or doesn’t win, but how he compares with his teammates.  That’s a tall order.

 

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  I would be delighted to see Marco win from the standpoint that I understand what it’s like to come to win this event, but not, obviously in ’92 and ’97 being second, obviously ’95 across the line first and being disqualified.

Regardless, it’s a scenario that weighs on you every racetrack you go to.  It weighs on you when you come back here to the Indianapolis 500.  For him, I’m sure he thinks about it.  I talked to him about it.  He said, No, it’s behind me, I don’t think about it too much.

But you do.  I always looked at it like you’ll get another chance.  I’m sure he feels the same way.

When you get close to the end of your career, then when you retire, and you haven’t accomplished that goal, which is the reason your living, breathing and racing, and your last name is Andretti, and the pressure that’s on a third-generation driver, I would love to see him win.  It would be great for him, his family, and our sport to have Andretti win again.

 

Q.         Allen, from everything I understand, Kurt Busch is resonating well with the fans and other drivers at Indy.  Have you noticed anything different in his demeanor or mannerisms or attitude when he’s out there in an IndyCar than you’ve noticed when he’s maybe in the NASCAR garage. 

 

ALLEN BESTWICK:  I think anytime you go someplace and try something new and different for the first time, have a little bit of success at it, you’re going to have a little pep in your step.

Think about how much Kurt has hung himself out there by doing this.  I’ll borrow Eddie’s thought about this.  Here is a guy who is a NASCAR champion.  All the race wins he’s accumulated.  He was willing to put that reputation out there on the line for the world to step out and try and drive a type of racecar he’d never driven before.

I’ve seen nothing but good things from Kurt.  I see a guy who is determined to master it, has fit in very well with his teammates, has dug into the engineering, the aerodynamics, driving techniques, soaked it up like a sponge, acquitted himself very, very well in an IndyCar.  I’m not surprised by that.  We know Kurt is a heck of a racecar driver.

I’m not surprised he’s acquitted himself well.  He’s having fun.  He understands the challenge ahead of him.  He got a taste of the difficulty of that challenge yesterday.  You can say he’s gotten the full Indy experience now.

But I’ve seen nothing but smiles from Kurt.  Why not, right?  He had the guts to put himself out there and try this.  He’s doing well.  He has the opportunity to have a good, solid race experience on Sunday and do something he probably never thought he’d get the chance to do in his life.  I can relate to that.  It makes you smile.

 

Q.         Eddie, I’ve seen some of your comments in recent weeks.  What are your impressions of Kurt in an IndyCar? 

 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  I am totally impressed by everything he has done in the car.  Going out and turning into turn one when you’re up at speed, and engineers have told you, Don’t take your foot off the throttle, you’re talking to yourself telling yourself it’s going to be okay.  That’s a difficult moment even in a racecar driver that’s done it his whole life, to be committed to doing that.

He’s been incredibly fast.  Every hurdle he got to, other than yesterday, when he got very lucky and hit the wall at the right angle.  Other than that, I am just impressed.  When he had to go out and do his qualifying run, that’s 230, that is really moving the mail.  That’s fast.  Turning into turn one at 236 miles an hour, and everybody said that the cars were sliding at the end of their run because they were so much on the limit trying to trim them out.  He went and did it as if he’s been doing it his whole life.

He is talented and incredibly brave.  If he digests this last hit he had, it took me a long time to digest, if he can go through that, he’s in that leading group at the end of the race, I would consider him a possible top-three finisher, if he gets through all the problems during the race.  But he’s been incredible.  I’m very impressed.

 

Q.         Rich, 92 cameras planned.  Why the increase this year?  Are any of those specialty cameras? 

 

RICH FEINBERG:  The 92 is actually in concert pretty close to what we did last year.  36 of those cameras are on racecars.  We will have this year a complement of 12 different teams, including Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter, all carrying on-camera systems.  All 36 are on track, if you would.

The remaining cameras include some specialty things.  We will have a helicopter cam for the entire race.  We have several ultraslow motion cameras that we have strategically placed around the track.  We have wall cams.  We have grass cams.  We have hand-held cams.  We have robotic cams.  I think we got the place pretty well wired up.

The unique thing about this race, racing in general, is the size of the playing field is gigantic, so it takes more.  We’re always watching multiple things.  A lot of our camera systems allow us to focus on multiple battles on the track to make sure we can document as much of the action as we can for the fans.

It is a very large production, one of the largest that we do every year.  Tremendous credit to our technical and engineering staff to put together this system and ultimately I think our fans are the benefactors of it.

 

Q.         Are there any other production enhancements planned? 

 

RICH FEINBERG:  Well, we’ve made some changes since we were at the track last.  I’d start with probably the most noticeable one for our fans will be welcoming Allen Bestwick to the family.  Allen and I have worked together for many, many years.  I know not only he’s excited about doing the project, but I’m just as excited to have him along.  He’s one of the best in the business, and I think our fans will really enjoy his call.

We have some new graphic elements we’re using.  We have some good feature stories we’ll tell before we get going with the race.  As I said earlier, our ultimate job is to tell the stories of the drivers, and to the best of our ability, through the pictures and through the sounds, create that thirst for our viewers to want to be there and enjoy this very special sporting event.

 

Q.         Allen, you’ve had a very long career in calling NASCAR races.  How does it feel to be in the open-wheel world now? 

 

ALLEN BESTWICK:  It feels pretty good.  It’s been a great experience so far.  It’s funny because for as long as I’ve been around racing, I’ve spent my whole career in the month of May in Charlotte basically and watched the 500 from afar.

I’ve been at the Speedway, around the NASCAR race there since 1994, so when I walked in the gate this month, it wasn’t a new experience for me to be at the Speedway.  I knew where the gate was to get in and I knew where the TV compound was, where the booth was.  I knew where to find things.  It’s not a completely new experience at the Speedway.

Then I’ve had great support from Rich and my bosses to do the research that I needed to do.  I spent time in Indianapolis in February just after the Daytona 500.  Some of the race teams were more than gracious in welcoming me in.  I went through IndyCars from top to bottom at team shops.  Had dinners and lunches with drivers and team managers.  I’ve had plenty of time to acclimate myself – short way to say it – the same thing done differently.

It’s still an auto race.  The object is still to get the distance covered from start to finish in the least amount of time possible.  Terminology, styles, strategies are a little different.

I look forward to the race.  Obviously it’s the premiere auto race in the United States, maybe the world, every year.  To have the opportunity to call it is a fascinating thing.  I’m more excited than anything because it’s been a great experience so far.  I can’t wait to see what race day is like in person.

 

Q.         For Scott and Eddie, obviously you have a lot of experience on both sides.  There’s so many changes in TV in 50 years.  Probably what hasn’t changed much is the raw talent that open-wheel drivers share.  What special traits do you think open-wheel drivers have to be able to perform so well in what is basically a road rocket before enormous crowds on prime ABC TV? 

 

SCOTT GOODYEAR:  I think for me, now that I’ve stepped away from it, I honestly believe that you can be trained to be a very good, proficient driver that can compete at IndyCar level.  But I think the ones that are winning and are just a little bit faster have something different.  I think it might be something that you’re just born with.

There’s been that question for years and years, especially when we talk about different generations of drivers.  When you stand at a road course, you watch a guy like Will Power drive around, even his fellow competitors say that they expect him to be on pole everywhere they go to on a road course.

You go to ovals and see the smoothness of guys like Scott Dixon, and honestly a very impressive Ed Carpenter.  Ed obviously trained hard, not through the road courses, because he’s not that great on a road course, but he spent so many years doing the midgets and the dirt cars.

I think it’s training and then I think you have to have a little bit of a gift.

With that I think I am more impressed now than I was when I was doing it.  When you’re doing it, you eat, breathe and sleep it.  You expect to be good.  You expect to be competitive.  You don’t feel that you’re doing anything different than anybody else ’cause you’re getting up, going and doing your job every day.

It’s only when you step away from it like I have, and maybe Eddie feels this way, you truly understand how different your occupation was when you’re sitting in a racecar.

Our racecar happened to weigh 1500 pounds and have in our day 900 horsepower, now they’re about 725.  And, oh, yeah, as Eddie mentioned earlier, we go into turn one at 230, 240 miles an hour and don’t take our foot off the gas.

The last comment I’ll make on all that is when you’re doing it back then, it seems like it’s in slow motion.  It seems like the straightaways are long, and I guess that’s what I guess they call being in the zone in other sports.

When you’re getting ready to retire, you notice that life is going by a little quicker in the racecar than it did before.  That’s probably the first indication it’s time to go find something else to do.

I know how difficult it is, I know how brave you are when you’re doing it.  That’s the neat thing I think when I watch the cars go around today.

 

EDDIE CHEEVER:  Having raced for a decade in Formula One, Monaco, Spa, everywhere else, then coming to Indy, I don’t say this trying to make a joke of it, I think you have to be a little bit crazy when you’re racing on the limit at the Indianapolis 500.

It is, I would say by far and away, the most dangerous and most intoxicating race that I have ever been a part of.  When you have to throw a car into a corner at 235 miles an hour, two feet behind a car that’s doing the same speed, another car that’s trying to pass you, do all this and stay away from that horribly hard wall, you have to be a little bit different.

The more time I had spent with A.J. Foyt, Unser, Andretti, there’s a common thread:  they’re all capable of dealing with the danger very well and yet perform at such a high level.

More information on coverage of this weekend’s Indy 500 is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ABC Marking 50th Consecutive Year Broadcasting Indy 500

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

2014 is a big year for ABC. That’s because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the network broadcasting what has become the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

ABC started airing highlights of the annual race in 1965 on its then black-and-white Wide World Of Sports telecast. It has now become one of the longest running partnerships between a television network and sporting event. To put things into perspective, CBS has carried weekend coverage of the PGA’s Masters Tournament since 1965 as well. And ABC has carried the Little League World Series since 1963.

Allen Bestwick will make his debut anchoring the broadcast this year. He will join a very short list of individuals to ever call the race in its now ninety-eight year history. Only nine others have ever called the race in its rich history.  Bestwick said of being tapped to helm this year’s broadcast that hearing the broadcast of the Indy 500 was his inspiration for getting into broadcasting when he was younger and that he is rather excited to be helming it this year. “One of the things that sparked my fascination with broadcasting was that appointment viewing of the broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 with Jim McKay behind the microphone,” he said. “It’s one of those things that attracted me and inspired me to get into the business and to think that I’m going to have the opportunity to sit in that chair – THAT chair – is mind-blowing.” Bestwick will be joined for this year’s broadcast by analysts Eddie Cheever and Scott Goodyear, both of whom competed in the Indy 500. SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak will host the broadcast from IMS’ iconic Pagoda. Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, Vince Welch, and Dr. Jerry Punch will all be in the pits.

This year’s festivities are expected to begin with pre-race coverage at 11am ET. The green flag is expected to wave at 12:12pm ET. Viewers can get a whole different angle on the race through ESPN’s in-car cameras. The view from those cameras will stream on ESPN3 through WatchESPN and the official Verizon Indycar Series website, http://www.indycar.com. More information on coverage of this year’s race is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing and http://www.indycar.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ABC, ESPN Release NBA Finals Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ABC and ESPN will broadcast the entire NBA Eastern Conference Finals.

Officials with both networks have announced that the Best-Of-Seven series between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers will be broadcast between the two networks beginning this Sunday, May 18th. ABC will carry Game on Sunday afternoon with tipoff at 3:15pm ET live from the Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Game One will be preceded by NBA Countdown at 3pm ET. Mike Breen will anchor Sunday’s opening game. He will be joined by analyst Jeff Van Gundy and reporter Doris Burke. The trio will handle the entire series. Sage Steel will anchor NBA Coutndown. Analysts Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, and Doug Collins will be on hand as well for additional commentary. All other NBA Countdown broadcasts will air at 7pm ET on ESPN.

Spanish-speaking audiences will be able to catch the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN Deportes. Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales will have the call for the series. Claudia Trejos and Sebastian Martinez Christensen will anchor ESPN Deportes’ pre-game and halftime broadcasts.

ESPN Radio will carry both the Eastern and Western Conference finals nationally. Marc Kestecher and analyst Jon Barry will handle broadcast duties for ESPN Radio’s coverage of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Kevin Calabro and Hubrie Brown will have the call for the Western Conference Finals.

Fans around the world can catch both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals via ESPN International. The Eastern Conference Finals will be able to be seen in South America, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Oceania. The Western Conference Finals will be available throughout Oceania. The complete NBA Finals broadcast schedule is listed below.

2014 Eastern Conference Finals and NBA Countdown schedule:

Date Time (ET) Telecast Network(s)
Sun, May 18 3 p.m. NBA Countdown ABC, WatchABC
  3:30 p.m. Game One: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchABC, ESPN3
Tues, May 20 7 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. 2014 NBA Draft Lottery ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Two: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Sat, May 24 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Three: Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Mon, May 26 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Four: Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Wed, May 28 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Five: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers *if necessary ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Fri, May 30 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Six:  Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat *if necessary ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN
Sun, June 1 7:30 p.m. Kia NBA Countdown ESPN, WatchESPN
  8:30 p.m. Game Seven: Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers *if necessary ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN

 

More information on the ESPN family of networks’ coverage of the NBA Finals is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN and http://espn.com/nba. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

NNS Racing In Iowa This Weekend

Courtesy:  NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2/ABC

Courtesy: NASCAR/ESPN/ESPN2/ABC

The NASCAR Nationwide series makes a westward swing this weekend.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series is in Iowa nthis weekend for the Get To Know Newton250 Presented by Sherwin Williams. Rookie driver Chase Elliot will look to extend his current points lead over Elliot Sadler and JR Motorsports team mate Regan Smith when drivers take the green flag. The 250-lap race on the 7/8th mile track will be broadcast live on ESPN.

NASCAR Countdown will precede the race at 1:30pm. The green flag is expected to drop at 2:14pm ET. Dave Burns will have the call from the booth. He will be joined by NASCAR Winston Cup Champion and ESPN analyst Dale Jarrett and former NASCAR crew chief Andy Petree.

More information on next week’s race in Iowa is available online at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Pirates Host Cards This Weekend On ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s 25th season covering Major League Baseball rolls on this Sunday as the Worldwide Leader in Sports comes to Pittsburgh for a matchup of the Pirates and Cardinals. It all starts at 7pm ET with ESPN’s Baseball Tonight live on ESPN.

Sunday night’s 8PM ET broadcast of the Pirates/Cardinals matchup on Sunday Night Baseball is an important landmark for ESPN as it will be the first time since July 28, 1996 that ESPN has broadcasted a Sunday Night baseball game live from PNC Park and the first time since that day that ESPN has broadcasted its weekly pre-game program, Baseball Tonight. Dan Shulman will anchor Sunday’s broadcast. He will be joined by analyst John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney. Jon Sciambi will anchor ESPN Radio’s simulcast of Sunday night’s broadcast. He will be joined by analyst Chris Singleton for the game. Sunday’s matchup between the Pirates and Cardinals will also be available on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes Radio.

Jon Hamm, start of Disney’s new movie Million Dollar Arm is scheduled to appear on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight live at 7pm ET as part of the network’s lead up to Sunday night’s game. Along with being an actor, Hamm is also an avid baseball fan. He will join Baseball Tonight host Karl Ravech and MLB Hall of Famer Barry Larkin for Sunday evening’s broadcast live from PNC Park. Baseball Tonight will broadcast live on Federal Street near the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

The Cardinals will head back to St. Louis after Sunday night’s game and prepare to host Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball Presented by USAA live at 8pm ET. Dave O’Brien will anchor Monday’s broadcast. He will be joined by analyst Aaron Boone and reporter Tim Kurkjian. Monday’s game will be preceded by ESPN’s weekly Monday night pre-game show Baseball Tonight. Karl Ravech will anchor the broadcast, which begins at 7:30pm ET. He will be joined by John Kruk and Ozzie Guillen. Monday night’s game (and Sunday’s) will also be available on ESPN Deportes, online and via all mobile internet platforms.

More information on ESPN’s 25th Anniversary season of MLB coverage is available online now at http://www.facebok.com/ESPNBaseballTonight and http://espn.go.com/mlb. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Indianapolis Speedway To Host Inaugural Grand Prix Of Indy May 10th

Courtesy:  Verizon Indycar Series

Courtesy: Verizon IndyCar Series

The Verizon IndyCar Series will take to the track for a first-ever race this weekend.

The Indianapolis Speedway will play host to the Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend for the first ever running of the Grand Prix of Indy. Last week’s winner and current series points leader Ryan Hunter-Reay looks to expand his points lead when the series takes to the Indianapolis Speedway’s road course. The race kicks off the series’ biggest month. The series’ biggest race, the annual running of the Indy 500, will take place May 25th.

Allen Bestwick will anchor this weekend’s broadcast on ABC. He will be joined by analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever. The green flag is expected to drop at 3:50pm with pre-race coverage beginning at 3:30pm ET. More information on this weekend’s race and the Verizon IndyCar Series is available online at http://www.indycar.com, http://www.facebook.com/IndyCar, http://twitter.com/indycar and http://espn.go.com/racing. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Releases 2014 NFL Draft Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Officials with ESPN have announced the full schedule for its networks’ coverage of this year’s NFL Draft.

Coverage of the 2014 NFL Draft begins next Thursday, May 8th on ESPN at 8pm ET. The broadcast will come live from New York’s Radio City Music Hall and will be simulcast on ESPN Radio beginning at 7pm ET. ESPN Radio’s broadcast of the NFL Draft will be anchored by Dari Nowkhah. Nowkhah will be joined by ESPN analysts Louis Riddick, Mark Schlereth, and ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton. Freddie Coleman will host a post-first round broadcast beginning at 11:30pm ET. He will be joined by ESPN Insider Adam Caplan. Nowkhah and company will be back on the air the next morning, May 9th. The post-show broadcast that evening will come live at 11pm. It will be hosted by Kevin Winter. Winter will be joined by Adam Caplan for the broadcast. ESPN Radio’s draft coverage will also be available online at ESPNRadio.com.

ESPN will carry coverage of Round 1 live with limited commercial interruption in the broadcast’s first hour for the third straight year this year. Baltimore Ravens great and NFL veteran Ray Lewis will join NFL Draft host Chris Berman as part of ESPN’s NFL Draft commentator team for the first round of the draft. Berman, who is now in his thirty-fourth year of covering the NFL Draft, will also be joined by ESPN NFL analysts Jon Gruden and Mel Kiper, Jr. Kiper is himself in his thirty-first year of covering the draft’s first round. Suzy Kolber will be on the floor, bringing viewers live interviews with draftees throughout Round 1 while NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will have reports from an additional set.

Trey Wingo will anchor the second through seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Rounds two through seven will be carried on television on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU. He will be joined by ESPN NFL analysts Trent Dilfer, Mel Kiper, Jr., and Todd McShay as well as NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen, and Adam Schefter and ESPN Front Office Insider Bill Polian.

As an added bonus for viewers, ESPN will have a number of reporters imbedded with various teams throughout the networks’ coverage of the draft. Ed Werder will have live reports from the Houston Texans’ camp while Josina Anderson and Britt McHenry will have reports from the Rams and Jaguars respectively. Sal Paolantonio will be embedded with the Browns and Michele Steele with the Buccaneers. Bob Holtzman will have all the latest from the Minnesota Vikings camp.

The complete broadcast schedule for the ESPN family of networks’ draft coverage is available below.

ESPN NFL Draft TV schedule (May 8-11):

Date Time (ET) Show Network
Thurs., May 8 2-3 p.m. SportsCenter Special: On the Clock ESPN
3-4 p.m. NFL Insiders (from Radio City Music Hall) ESPN
4-5 p.m. NFL Live presented by Experian ESPN
6-7:30 p.m. SportsCenter Special: On the Clock ESPN
7:30-8 p.m. SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown presented by Oberto ESPN
8-11:30 p.m. NFL Draftpresented by Bud Light (Round 1) ESPN
11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. ESPNU Draft Recap: Day 1 ESPNU
Fri., May 9 2-3 p.m. SportsCenter Special: On the Clock ESPN
3-4 p.m. NFL Insiders (from Radio City Music Hall) ESPN
4-5 p.m. NFL Live presented by Experian ESPN
6-7 p.m. SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown presented by Oberto ESPN
7-11:30 p.m. NFL Draftpresented by Bud Light (Rounds 2-3) ESPN/

ESPN2

11 p.m.-12 a.m. ESPNU Draft Recap: Day 2 ESPNU
Sat., May 10 10-11:30 a.m. SportsCenter Special: On the Clock ESPN
11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. SportsCenter Special: Draft Countdown presented by Oberto ESPN
12-8 p.m. NFL Draftpresented by Bud Light (Rounds 4-7) ESPN
Sun., May 11 12-1 a.m. SportsCenterU ESPNU
1-3 p.m. SportsCenter Special: NFL Draft Grades presented by Snickers ESPN

*Schedule subject to change.

More information on the NFL Draft and the ESPN family of networks’ NFL coverage overall is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Releases Full Season Monday Night Football Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has released its broadcast schedule for the 2014 NFL season.

ESPN opened the 2013 season with a double header and will do so again for the 2014 season. ESPN will open its Monday Night Football regular season broadcast schedule with a double header on September 8th. The first game on the night will see the New York Giants on the road against the Detroit Lions. The game will be the first MNF game to be broadcast from Detroit since September 1971. Mike Tirico will anchor the broadcast and will have play-by-play duties. He will be joined by analyst Jon Gruden in the booth and Lisa Salters on the sidelines. The trio will also handle all MNF games, which will begin at 8:15pm ET. Kickoff for all of ESPN’s MNF games is scheduled for 8:30pm ET.

The second game on ESPN’s double header slate for Monday, September 8th will see the Arizona Cardinals hosting the San Diego Chargers at 10:15pm ET. It will come live from the University of Phoenix Stadium, which will also play host to the 2015 Pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIX. The 2015 Pro Bowl will be broadcast on ESPN.

Now in its 45th season, Monday Night Football’s 2014 season will feature all twelve teams from the 2013 NFL Playoffs. This includes the 2013 NFL Champion Seattle Seahawks and AFC Champion Denver Broncos. The Seahawks will take on the Washington Redskins on ESPN’s MNF broadcast October 6th while the Broncos will face off against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati on December 22nd.

Eight NFL organizations will each have two games broadcast nationally on ESPN’s MNF. Those teams are the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Washington Redskins. Speaking of the Redskins, Washington will renew its long held rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys once again in the 2014 NFL regular season. Washington and Dallas will meet on October 27th at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The meeting will be the 16th between the two teams; second only to the rivalry between the Raiders and Broncos, who have met seventeen times.

All of ESPN’s MNF games can be seen both on television on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and online via WatchESPN. Additional MNF “game around the game” content will be available daily across ESPN’s various platforms including Monday Night Countdown and SportsCenter before and after each game. ESPN’s complete Monday Night Football broadcast schedule is listed below.

ESPN’s 2014 Monday Night Football Schedule

Preseason
Date Time (ET) Teams
Aug. 14 8 p.m. Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Chicago Bears
Aug. 18 8 p.m. Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Redskins
Regular Season
Sept. 8 7 p.m. New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions
10:15 p.m. San Diego Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Sept. 15 8:15 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sept. 22 8:15 p.m. Chicago Bears vs. New York Jets
Sept. 29 8:15 p.m. New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Oct. 6 8:15 p.m. Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington Redskins
Oct. 13 8:15 p.m. San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams
Oct. 20 8:15 p.m. Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Oct. 27 8:15 p.m. Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Nov. 3 8:15 p.m. Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Giants
Nov. 10 8:15 p.m. Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Nov. 17 8:15 p.m. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans
Nov. 24 8:15 p.m. Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints
Dec. 1 8:15 p.m. Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets
Dec. 8 8:15 p.m. Atlanta Falcons vs. Green Bay Packers
Dec. 15 8:15 p.m. New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears
Dec. 22 8:15 p.m. Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals
TBD TBD NFL Wild Card Game
Jan. 25, 2015 8 p.m. NFL Pro Bowl (Glendale, Arizona)

 

 

More information on the ESPN family of networks’ coverage of the 2014 NFL season is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NFLonESPN. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

NBA Playoffs Start This Weekend On ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The NBA’s regular season is in the books. Now it’s on to the league’s second season.

Coverage of the 2014 NBA Playoffs begins Saturday, April 19th at 12:30pm ET with four opening round games. All four games are the first in their respective series. The Raptors host the Nets at 12:30pm ET on television on ESPN and online via WatchESPN. Next up is the Hawks/Pacers Game 1 at 7pm ET on ESPN and Watch ESPN. Game One between the Grizzlies and thunder rounds out the night with coverage expected to start at 9:30pm ET. Audiences will be able to catch Game One between the Warriors and Clippers at 3:30pm on television on ABC, on the radio through their local ESPN Radio affiliate, and online via ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Day Two of the NBA 2014 Playoffs starts at 3pm ET with NBA Countdown on ABC and WatchABC.  Game One between the Heat and Bobcats follows at 3:30pm ET on ABC, ESPN Radio, WatchABC, and ESPN3.  The complete Playoffs coverage schedule is available below.

Early schedule

Date

Time (ET)

Game

Commentators

Network(s)

Sat, Apr. 19

12:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors Gm.1

Dave Pasch, Jon Barry,

Chris Broussard

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

3 p.m.

NBA Countdown

Sage Steele, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins

ABC, WatchABC

 

3:30 p.m.

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers Gm. 1

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters

ABC, ESPN Radio, WatchABC, ESPN3

 

7 p.m.

Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers Gm. 1

Mark Jones, Doris Burke, Israel Gutierrez

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

9:30 p.m.

Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Gm. 1

Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Heather Cox

ESPN, WatchESPN

Sun, Apr. 20

3 p.m.

NBA Countdown

Sage Steele, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins

ABC, WatchABC

 

3:30 p.m.

Charlotte Bobcats at Miami Heat Gm. 1

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters

ABC, ESPN Radio, WatchABC, ESPN3

Fri, Apr. 25

7 p.m.

Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Gm. 3

TBD

ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

8 p.m.

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards Gm. 3

TBD

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

10:30 p.m.

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers Gm. 3

TBD

ESPN, WatchESPN

Sat, Apr. 26

7 p.m.

Miami Heat at Charlotte Bobcats Gm. 3

TBD

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

9:30 p.m.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Gm. 4

TBD

ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Radio

Sun, Apr. 27

12:30 p.m.

NBA Countdown

Sage Steele, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins

ABC, WatchABC, ESPN

 

1 p.m.

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards Gm. 4

TBD

ABC, WatchABC, ESPN3

 

3:30 p.m.

Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors Gm. 4

TBD

ABC, WatchABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN3

Fri, May 2

TBD

Miami Heat at Charlotte Bobcats Gm. 6 (if necessary)

TBD

ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

TBD

Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets Gm. 6 (if necessary)

TBD

ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

TBD

San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Gm. 6 (if necessary)

TBD

ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN

 

TBD

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers Gm. 6 (if necessary)

TBD

ESPN/ESPN2, WatchESPN

Sun, May 4

1 p.m.

TBD

 

ABC, WatchABC

 

3:30 p.m.

TBD

 

ABC, WatchABC, ESPN3

The 2014 NBA Playoffs will start and end exclusively on the ESPN family of networks, culminating with ABC’s exclusive coverage of The Finals beginning June 5th. More information on the ESPN family of networks’ NBA Playoffs coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN and http://espn.com/nba. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Boxcino Tournament Semifinals Take Center Stage Tonight On FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The semifinal matchups in this year’s “Boxcino 2014” tournament take center stage tonight on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra.

This Friday night on Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates, the Middleweights will take to the ring in the Boxcino 2014 tournament sponsored by 1800 Tequila. The card for the semifinal round is promoted by Banner Promotions. Tonight’s broadcast will air live at 9pm ET on television on ESPN2 and online via ESPN Deportes+ and WatchESPN. It will come live from Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.  The broadcast will be aired via tape delay on ESPN Deportes at 10:30pm ET.

Todd Grisham will fill in for Joe Tessitore tonight at ringside. He will be joined by Tessitore’s regular ringside partner, Teddy Atlas. The pair will have the call for ESPN2. Doug Kezirian will be in studio with all of the latest boxing news while Grisham fills in for Tessitore. Delvin Rodriguez and Pablo Viruega will be ringside for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+. Leopoldo Gonzales and Claudia Trejos will be in studio and Bernardo Osuna will have live interviews for both broadcasts.

Tonight’s semifinal round of the Boxcino tournament will feature Vitalii Kopylenko (22 – 0, 12 KOs) and Willie Monroe, Jr. (16 – 1, 6 KOs) in one of the night’s bouts. In the night’s other fight, Raymond Gatica (16 – 5, 13 KOs) will face off against undefeated Brandon Adams (13 – 0, 9 KOs). Monroe comes into tonight’s bout on the heels of a six-round unanimous decision victory over Donatas Bondas (Bondorovas) in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. Kopylenko made his way into tonight’s semifinal bout courtesy of a second-round TKO win over Cerreso fort in the tournament’s quarterfinals.

Adams advanced to tonight’s card after a fourth round TKO over Daniel Edouard in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. Gatica made his way to the semis after a fourth round TKO win over Sena Agbeko in the quarters. The remaining schedule for the Boxcino tournament is available below.

Upcoming ESPN Boxing Schedule:

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location Networks
Thu, Apr 24

 

9 p.m.

 

Josesito López (31-6, 18 KOs) vs. Aron Martínez (19-2-1, 4 KOs)—10 rounds, Jr. Welterweights Agua Caliente Casino, Palm Springs, Calif. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN

 

Thu, May 1

 

9 p.m.

 

Roberto García (34-3, 22 KOs) vs. Victor Manuel Cayo (32-4, 23 KOs)—10 rounds, Welterweights
Hialeah Park Race Track, Hialeah, Fla.

 

ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN

 

Sat, May 10 8 p.m. WBC World Heavyweight Championship: Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) vs. Chris Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs)—12 rounds USC Galen Center,
Los Angeles
ESPN, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN

More information on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf, http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF, http://twitter.com/espnboxeo, and http://twitter.com/espnboxing. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.