ESPN Reaches New TV Deal With C-USA

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

College Football fans are going to get more of their favorite sport this fall.  That is because ESPN has signed a new television deal with Conference USA.

Beginning this fall ESPN will air five C-USA football games and the C-USA Conference Championship game.  The deal currently runs through the 2017 season.  Three of those five games will feature C-USA teams hosting non-conference teams in the early portion of the season.  The last week of the regular season will be comprised of two conference matchups.  The C-USA Conference Championship is currently scheduled to be played Saturday, December 3rd.

The 2016 schedule opens with Indiana at Florida International University on Thursday, September 1st.  It is scheduled to air at 7:30pm ET on ESPNU.  Two more games will be played Friday, September 16th.  Rice will host No. 7 Baylor at 8pm on ESPN in the night’s first game.  The second, UTSA hosting Arizona State, will be at 9:30pm ET on ESPN2. ESPN’s C-USA football schedule winds down with Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss on Friday, November 25th and Western Kentucky University on the road against Marshall on Saturday, November 26th.  Times for those two games and the conference championship will be announced at a later date.  The ESPN networks’ current C-USA football broadcast schedule is noted below.

 

ESPN Network’s Conference USA Television Schedule for 2016

Date

Time (ET)

Game

Network

Thu, Sept. 1

7:30 p.m.

Indiana at FIU

ESPNU

Fri, Sept. 16

8 p.m.

No. 7 Baylor at Rice

ESPN

9:30 p.m.

Arizona State at UTSA

ESPN2

Fri, Nov. 25

TBD

Louisiana Tech at Southern Miss

TBD

Sat, Nov. 26

TBD

WKU at Marshall

TBD

Sat, Dec. 3

TBD

C-USA Football Championship Game

TBD

Rankings are per ESPN.com’s “way too early top 25” (May 10)

 

More information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of C-USA football is available online along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Local Blackout Lifted For 100th Indianapolis 500; Race Officially Sold Out

Indianapolis, IN - May 24, 2015 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500 (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

Indianapolis, IN – May 24, 2015 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500
(Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

There’s some good news today racing fans in Indiana.

It was announced today that the local TV blackout of the 100th Indianapolis 500 has officially been lifted.  ABC’s broadcast of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” will now air live across America.  The announcement comes alongside this morning’s announcement that this year’s race is officially sold out.  It is the first time that the race has been completely sold out in its now 100 year history.

The lifting of the local blackout means that Indianapolis ABC affiliate WRTV-TV will have full coverage of the race.  Along with this, the station will also run its traditional re-broadcast of the race beginning at 7pm ET.  This year’s local broadcast marks only the third time that the race will have been broadcast live in Central Indiana and the first time since 1950.

2016 marks the 52nd consecutive year that ABC will broadcast the Indianapolis 500.  It first aired on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in 1965.  The first time that it aired live was in 1986.  Anyone not near a television during the race can still catch it live online via WatchESPN beginning at 11am ET.  The green flag is set to fly at 12:17pm ET.  More information on this year’s broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 is available online along with all of the latest auto racing news at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/racing

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

 

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ABC Marks 100th Indy 500 With Most Extensive Coverage Ever

Indianapolis, IN - May 24, 2015 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500 (Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

Indianapolis, IN – May 24, 2015 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Will Power (1) and Simon Pagenaud (22) competing in the 99th Indianapolis 500
(Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)

2016 marks a very important milestone in the world of auto racing.  It marks the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500.  And it marks the 52nd consecutive year that it will air live on ABC.

The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 will take place this Sunday, May 29th.  It will be live beginning with ABC’s pre-race broadcast at 11am ET on ABC.  The green flag is currently set to fly at 12:17pm ET.  For the first time ever, it will be simulcast live online via WatchESPN.  In honor of the race’s 100th anniversary, 100 cameras will be set up around and even above the track for the most immersive coverage ever of what has come to be known as the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”  Julie Sobieski is VP of ESPN’s League Sports Programming.  She discussed the expanded coverage in a discussion with the press and the importance of that coverage.  “We’ve been pointing to the 100th Indianapolis 500 for a long time and now that it’s here, we’re more proud than ever to be associated with the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” she said.  “Producing this telecast is a labor of love for our team and this will be our biggest year ever. We’re all really looking forward to Sunday.”

ABC’s expanded coverage of the 100th Indianapolis 500 presented by Firestone includes three cameras per car on 12 of the field’s 33 cars.  There will also be four Ultra Hi Motion cameras positioned around the track that capture images 20 times slower than live action cameras.  This allows viewers to see detail of the track, cars, and even pit road not commonly visible via live action cameras.  There will also be aerial cameras mounted on a blimp, helicopter, and above pit road.  The drivers whose cars will hold those onboard cameras are: pole sitter James Hinchcliffe, defending Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, 2015 Verizon Indycar Series Champion Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter- Reay, Marco Andretti, Takuma Sato, and Helio Castroneves.  Castroneves has additional motivation this year.  He will attempt this year to be only the fourth driver to win the race four times.

A total of 287 microphones will be used to capture sound throughout the race.  26 of those microphones will be mounted on the field of 33 cars.  235 others will be mounted all the way around the track totaling 170,000 feet of fiber optic cable16 transmission points, and four uplinks.  As if all of that isn’t enough, audiences will have also have the option of a second screen experience through a choice of live streaming video from the onboard cameras via ESPN3.  ESPN3 will carry the feeds exclusively through WatchESPN.

Allan Bestwick will anchor Sunday’s broadcast.  He will be joined in the booth by analysts and former drivers Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever for additional commentary.  Jon Beekhuis, Rick DeBruhl, and Dr. Jerry Punch will be in the pits with all of the latest news and interviews throughout the race.  Lindsay Czarniak will anchor ABC’s pre-race broadcast live from IMS’ iconic pagoda.  She will be joined by Marty Smith for additional commentary and insight.

ESPN and its family of networks will offer extensive coverage of the 100th Indianapolis 500 leading up to its broadcast this weekend.  Information on that coverage is available online now along with all of the latest auto racing news at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/racing

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espn

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

John Cena Tapped To Host 2016 ESPY Awards

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Champ. Is. HERE!  Or he will be.

WWE superstar and 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena has been announced as the host of the 2016 ESPY Awards.  The appointment marks the first time that Cena has ever served as emcee for the network’s annual awards program.  Cena was humble in discussing being named as this year’s emcee opting instead to discuss those who the program honors and its philanthropic roots.  “It is truly an honor to be named host of The 2016 ESPYS,” he said.  “Not only will the biggest names in sports and entertainment come together to recognize some of the most spectacular athletic performances of the year, but we’ll also raise funds for The V Foundation to further much-needed cancer research.”  ESPYS Executive Producer Maura Mandt noted Cena’s celebrity and the positive impact that he has in and out of the ring in discussing his appointment.  “John is not only a superstar athlete and entertainer, but also a motivational force who inspires fans across the globe,” she said.  “John approaches all of his endeavors with energy, enthusiasm and passion so we expect him to bring a new level of excitement to the night’s celebration.”

Along with being one of the top names in WWE today, Cena is also host and executive producer of FOX’s new reality competition series American Grit.  That is just one of his credits outside the ring.  He has also made appearances in the hit comedies Trainwreck and Sisters.  Along with all of that, Cena also works extensively with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  He is the foundation’s most requested wish granter and has more than lived up to expectations, having granted some 500 wishes.  He was recently recognized by the USO Metro as the recipient of the organization’s 2016 Legacy of Achievement Award.  As if all of this isn’t enough, Cena is also deeply involved in Susan G. Komen and its efforts to research and fight breast cancer.

The 2016 ESPN ESPY Awards will air live on ABC Wednesday, July 13th at 8pm ET from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California.  It raises more than $1 million annual for The V Foundation, which was originally established by ESPN and Jim Valvano in order to promote cancer research.  Tickets for the ESPY Awards can be purchased online at AXS.com.  More information on The ESPY Awards is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/espys

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPYS

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Spotlighting National League In Its June MLB SNB Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has added three big matchups to its Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell MLB broadcast schedule for 2016.

On Sunday, June 5th the San Francisco Giants will face off against the St. Louis Cardinals.  The game will be the last of a long 10-game road stretch for the Giants and the closer in the teams’ 3-game weekend series.  Broadcast of the game is scheduled for 8pm ET.  It will be preceded, as always by ESPN’s pre-game broadcast of Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet.  Currently there is no word on who will take the mound for either team or on either tea’s rotation for the night.

The second game that has been added to ESPN’s June Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule is a matchup NL Central opponents Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs.  The Cubs currently lead not only the NL Central but the league overall while the Pirates are a distant second in the division and even farther back in the overall league standings.  That game, scheduled for Sunday, June 19th, will be the closer in the teams’ 3-game weekend series.  It will be preceded at 7pm ET by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet on ESPN.

The third game added to ESPN’s June Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule will see the Pirates play host to the Dodgers in yet another National League showdown on Sunday, June 26th.  Los Angeles will be well-rested coming into the game having gotten a day off after a 7-game home stand.  It will be the closer in the teams’ three-game weekend series.  And as with the previous games, will b preceded by Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown on ESPN.

Dan Shulman will be in the booth for all three games.  He will be joined by analysts Aaron Boone and Jessica Mendoza for additional commentary.  Reporter Buster Olney will also be on hand for additional news and interviews throughout each game.

As an additional bonus for fans, ESPN will also carry a special double header on Sunday, June 12th that begins at 5pm with yet another NL matchup—this time between the Pirates and Cardinals.  The Giants will play host to the Dodgers at 8:30pm ET to close out the day.  Both games, and the network’s other scheduled games will be simulcast on television on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, on Radio via ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio, and online via WatchESPN.  More information on ESPN’s upcoming June MLB broadcast schedule is available online along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN, Vice Media Reach New Broadcast Agreement

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Only months after its launch, Vice Media is branching out again.

The fledgling network, which is part of the A&E Networks family, launched this past November.  And now roughly six months after its launch, has reached a new broadcast deal with ESPN.  The deal will allow Vice Sports to broadcast select ESPN programs and will also see it produce special content for ESPN across its many platforms.  Vice Media Co-Founder and CEO Shane Smith discussed the partnership with the media noting the impact of ESPN’s programming on himself in his youth and the importance of that impact on establishing Vice Media’s deal with ESPN.  “Growing up watching ESPN I came to love the brand and their content. Maybe a little too much. The amount of manly tears shed over various 30 for 30’s throughout the years has been nothing short of embarrassing,” he said.  “To be teaming up with ESPN, creating brand new sports shows for them, and then showing 30 for 30’s on VICELAND is perhaps one of the favorite moments in my professional life. I can now die a happy man. No, wait, we have to take over the world first! Here it comes baby, VICE WORLD OF SPORTS!!”

John Skipper, ESPN President and Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks, responded to Smith’s comments saying, “Evoking manly tears from Shane Smith is no small task, and I take immense pride in that.  He went on to note the professionalism of both Smith and everyone at Vive Media in relation to the deal.  “Shane and the team at VICE do an extraordinary job presenting stories through their own, very unique lens – and working with them will help to bring a new perspective to our storytelling,” he said.  I am confident that the content borne out of this collaboration will be a win for fans of ESPN, VICE and storytelling in general. And I applaud Shane for understanding that television is the smartest path to worldwide leadership.”

The specifics of the brand new agreement between Vice Media and ESPN include:

 

  • The re-broadcast of ESPN’s 30 for 30 episodes

 

  • Digital cutdowns of Viceland’s original program Vice World of Sports on ESPN after their first run on Viceland.  Full episodes of Vice World of Sports will air on ESPN’s family of networks.

 

  • Re-broadcast of Vice Media’s The Clubhouse on ESPN’s linear and digital channels, including WatchESPN.

 

  • Creation of new content by VICE Sports and ESPN Films across both properties including a new short-form animated series.

 

 

More information on this deal is available online at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espn

 

 

Additional information on the new agreement is also available online at:

 

 

Website: http://www.vice.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VICE

Twitter: http://twitter.com/vice

 

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Cubs, Pirates Face Off In Key NL Central Matchup Tonight On MNB

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The Pittsburgh Pirates took 2 of 3 against the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, winning 4 – 1 and 5 – 1 Friday and Saturday respectively.  But the Reds got a bit of revenge Sunday night, taking the last of the teams’ 3-game series 6 – 5 in extra innings.  Now after that tough loss the Pirates look to regroup as they are set to face yet another NL Central foe this week in the form of the Chicago Cubs.  The teams face off this week in a 3-game series that begins tonight.  And ESPN will have full coverage of the series’ opener in this week’s edition of Monday Night Baseball presented by USAA.

Tonight’s game (and the series in whole) will have major implications for both teams even this early in the season.  That is because there’s more than just NL pride on the line.  The team’s cross city rivals, the White Sox, currently sit at 18 – 8 on the season so far.  The Cubs on the other hand are 17 – 6 so far on the season.  In the NL ranks, the Cubs are currently trying to hold off the second place Washington Nationals (17 – 7).  A win tonight (and wins Tuesday and Wednesday) would help the Cubs pad their lead over the Nats.  It would also help the Cubs in their rivalry with the White Sox.  On the other side of the ball, a win in tonight’s series opener (combined with wins Tuesday and Wednesday) would help the Pirates as they battle with the Phillies and the Cubs for position.

Gerrit Cole is currently expected to start for the Pirates tonight.  He is 2- 2 so far on the season.  His last time on the mound was six days ago on April 26th against Colorado.  The Pirates routed the Rockies in that game 9 – 4 with Cole pitching six innings.  Cole didn’t have the greatest game, allowing 4 runs and 2 earned runs on 8 hits, and 1 home run.  He walked 2 and struck out 3.  This was all against 27 total batters.  Thanks to good fielding on Pittsburgh’s side and just as many problems for Colorado’s bullpen, the Pirates were able to pull off the win.

Starting for the Cubs tonight will be Jason Hammel.  Hammel is currently 3 – 0 on the season.  He has had plenty of time to rest and prepare for tonight’s game.  That’s because his last time on the mound was seven days ago against the Reds.  The Cubs blanked the Reds in that game 9 – 0.  Hammel was credited with the win having pitched 6 innings.  He was in top form in the game, too, allowing 0 runs on only 3 hits.  He walked only 2 of the 23 batters that he faced and struck out 7 while allowing 0 home runs and 0 earned runs.  Red pitcher Alfredo Simon meanwhile struggled mightily in the game, pitching only 2.2 innings before being pulled.  In that short time, he allowed 8 runs, 8 earned runs, and 2 home runs on 10 hits.  He walked only 1 of the 18 batters that he faced and struck out only 3.  So needless to say that Hammel will be on his A-game tonight.

Adding to the interest for tonight’s game (and this week’s series) is that while Pittsburgh and Chicago are evenly matched in their home records—Pittsburgh is 7 – 4 at home so far this season to Chicago’s 7 – 3—the visiting Cubs are 10 – 3 on the road so far to Pittsburgh’s 8 – 6 road record.  Chicago is 7 – 3 in its last 10 games while Pittsburgh is 8 – 2 in its last 10.  So when all of the numbers are added up, they show tonight’s game to be full of fireworks for both sides.  The same can be said of Tuesday and Wednesday’s games, too.

Dave Flemming will be in the booth for tonight’s game.  He will be joined by analysts Dallas Braden and Eduardo Perez for additional commentary.  ESPN Deportes will simulcast the game for the network’s Spanish-speaking audiences.  More information on tonight’s game is available online now along with all of the latest MLB headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/mlb

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNBaseballTonight

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BBTN

 

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.