ESPN Gets NFL Wildcard Game, Will Simulcast On ABC For The First Time Ever

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The draft is done. Rookie minicamps are under way. And teams are counting down the days to the start of their annual summer camps. That can only mean one thing: Football season is almost here again. And with kickoff of the 2015 – 2016 NFL season inching closer each day, ESPN has announced another addition to its broadcast coverage schedule.

ESPN announced today that it will once again air at least one of the league’s Wildcard Playoff games this season. The game, which will be played on the weekend of January 9th – 10th, 2016, will be simulcast on ABC for the first time ever along with the network’s weekly pre-game show Monday Night Countdown. The upcoming broadcast will mark only the second time that the worldwide leader in sports has aired an NFL playoff game in its thirty-six year history. The Carolina Panthers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27 – 16 last season in the network’s first ever playoff broadcast. The game averaged a 12.5 household US rating and 21,678,000 viewers (P2+) according to Nielsen research. That made the game the ninth most-viewed broadcast in cable history.

ESPN President John Skipper noted its success in making the announcement about the upcoming game. “Our first Wild Card playoff game was one of ESPN’s highest-rated and most-watched events ever,” he said. He also noted his expectations for a similar result for the game’s first time ever simulcast on ABC stating, “By leveraging the broadcast platform we have on ABC, the upcoming Wild Card will rank among the most-watched programs of the year and we will reach even more fans during the NFL postseason.”

ESPN’s MNF broadcast team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and Lisa Salters will have full coverage of the game. They will also be live at the league’s annual Pro Bowl game at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Pro Bowl is currently scheduled to be played January 24th, 2016.

All of the latest news on ESPN’s NFL coverage is available online now at:

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

Facebook: 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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Famed ESPN Broadcaster Berman Named To Cable Hall Of Fame

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

There’s big news for one of ESPN’s biggest names today.

Chris Berman will be inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame Today. Yes, there really is such a thing. Since joining the worldwide leader in sports roughly thirty-six years ago, Berman has gone on to become the face of the network. Fellow Cable HOF inductee and former ESPN President Bodenheimer had nothing but good things to say about Berman in discussing his latest honor, noting that it is a well-deserved honor that has been a long time coming. “Chris has contributed so much to ESPN’s success in reaching sports fans for more than three decades,” he said. “It is only fitting that one of the most important figures in ESPN’s history is being inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.”

John Skipper is ESPN’s current President and Co-Chair of Disney Media Networks. He noted what Berman’s presence on air has meant not just for ESPN but for audiences of all ages throughout his career saying, “Fans love Boomer. He’s a special talent who brings sports to life for dads and daughters, mothers and sons, grandparents who remember when, and little leaguers who have big dreams for their futures.” Skipper added of Berman the impact that Berman has had not just on the growth of ESPN and the ESPN family but on the broadcasting community in whole, noting, “Chris has played a significant role in making our ESPN family what it is today, and along the way he helped build an entire industry.”

Berman is host of ESPN’s Emmy-nominated NFL pre-game show Sunday NFL Countdown and is Master of Ceremony for the NFL Hall of Fame. He has also been announced that Berman will have the call for the second of ESPN’s season-opening Monday Night Football games in the network’s double-header schedule for the night. Berman just wrapped his 35th Consecutive NFL Draft this past weekend and will even host MLB’s annual Home Run Derby this year on ESPN.

More information on Chris Berman’s induction into the Cable Hall of Fame is available online along with all of the latest sports headlines at:

Website: http://espn.go.com

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.

Hawks, Nets,Warriors, Grizzlies Hit The Hardwood This Weekend On ESPN, ABC

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has officially announced its broadcast schedule for its coverage of the 2015 NBA Playoffs this weekend.

Officials with the network announced Thursday that ESPN will carry Game Six of the First-Round Eastern Conference matchup between the Hawks and Nets Friday evening. Coverage is scheduled to begin at 8pm ET on ESPN. Mike Breen will have the call for the game. He will be joined by analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson in the booth for additional commentary. Reporter Doris Burke will be courtside with additional news and insights on the game. Those not near a TV can still catch the game online via WatchESPN.

Following Friday’s Round One matchup between the Hawks and Nets, ABC will take over broadcast duties for the weekend, with a double-header beginning at 1pm ET. Depending on the outcome of Friday’s game between the Hawks and Nets, ABC will carry either Game Seven of the teams’ First-Round Eastern Conference series in Atlanta or Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Hawks and Wizards. This depends on whether or not the Hawks finish off the Nets Friday night in Brooklyn. At 3:30pm ET, ABC will carry the Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies in their Western Conference semifinal series. Along with its broadcast on ABC, the game will be simulcast on the radio via ESPN Radio and online via ESPN3. It all kicks off at 12:30pm ET with ABC’s weekly pre-game NBA broadcast of NBA Countdown. Sage Steel will anchor Sunday’s broadcast and will be joined by analysts Doug Collins and Jalen Rose at the desk.

All of the latest scores and news from the 2015 NBA Playoffs is available online now along with all of the latest news on the ESPN networks’ coverage of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at:

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

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

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.

Smith, McCalla Headline Special Thursday Edition Of FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will air a special edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra this week.

ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra will air a day early on Thursday, April 30th instead of Friday, May 1st. The special edition ESPN’s weekly boxing broadcast comes only days ahead of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao’s hugely anticipated match. Thursday night’s broadcast of ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra will be headlined by a 10-round junior middleweight bout between former world title holder Ishe “Sugar Shay” Smith (26 – 7, 12 KOs) and Cecil McCalla (20 – 1, 7 KOs). The fight will be broadcast live from the Pearl Theatre at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fans will take special note that this week’s card is promoted by Mayweather Promotions. Smith looks to rebound this week after suffering a tough 12-round unanimous decision loss to defending junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara in his last match. “I’m training in Las Vegas for this fight, right at home at the Mayweather Gym,” Smith said. “I’ve been sparring with some pretty good guys…I don’t know much about McCalla. After being in the game as long as I have, you just treat everybody the same – you don’t take anybody lightly. You just make sure you’re prepared.” McCalla will also be hungry for a win coming into this week’s main event having taken a split-decision loss to Chrs Van Heerden in his last match. McCalla was focused on this week’s fight and confident about his chances against Smith in an interview saying, “Ishe is a rough fighter, but nothing I haven’t seen before. I’m ready for this fight.” He added, “I’m definitely looking forward to it. It’s a good fight for me. I’m really determined to get this win. I want to shine this fight.”

Ahead of Thursday night’s main event, veteran junior welterweight fighters Ashley”Treasure” Theopane” (37 – 6 – 1, 11 KOs) and Mahonri “”Rusito” Montes (29 – 4- 1, 20 KOs) will face off in a ten-round co-event. Theopane will have the home advantage in Thursday night’s fight, hailing from Las Vegas. He won his most recent match–a ten-round fight–with a unanimous decision over Hector Zuniga. Montes also comes into this week’s fight on the heels of a win in his most recent fight–an eight-round bout–that resulted in a unanimous decision over previously undefeated Diego Cruz.

Joe Tessitore will have the call for Thursday’s fight on ESPN2. He will be joined by his long-time broadcast co-host Teddy Atlas at ringside. Todd Grisham will be on hand as well for this weekend’s huge fight. Pablo Viruega will have the call from ringside for Noche de Combates on ESPN Deportes. He will be joined at ringside by Delvin Rodriguez. Leopoldo Gonzalez and Claudia Trejos will be on site with all of the latest updates and news on the night’s card and this weekend’s fight. They will be joined by Hall of Fame boxing referee and analyst Joe Cortez for additional insight. Bernardo Osuna will have live interviews and reports for the night’s broadcast both on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.

Fans not near a TV for Thursday night’s broadcast of ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra can also catch all the action online via WatchESPN. Fans can score the matches themselves right from the comfort of their home via the “Live Friday Night Fights Voting App.” It can be obtained online via the ESPN Friday Night Fights Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf. English-speaking and Spanish-speaking fans can also get all the latest FNF news via ESPN’s official website and via Twitter at

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF

http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxing

http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxeo

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.

Ray Lewis Sitting Out ESPN’s 2015 NFL Draft Coverage

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

With the 2015 NFL Draft only days away, ESPN has announced that there will be a slight change in its previously announced lineup of broadcast teams.

ESPN announced today that Ray Lewis will remain at his home in Baltimore instead of travelling to attend the Draft. Lewis will stay in Baltimore in an effort to stop the violence in the city following the funeral of Freddie Gray. Lewis released a statement today explaining in his own words his decision, noting his belief that it was just the right thing to do. “I felt that it was more important for me to stay in Baltimore and try to help the city I love,” he said. “I greatly appreciate ESPN’s understanding and flexibility at this late date. I did not feel right leaving the city at this time.” He also released a video on his official Facebook page, making a heartfelt plea to end the violence. It can be viewed now via ESPN’s website at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12781553.

Lewis, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens, will be replaced by ESPN Front Office Insider Louis Riddick. Riddick will join Chris Berman Jon Gruden, and Mel Kiper, Jr. on ESPN’s Round One coverage of the 2015 NFL Draft this Thursday evening. ESPN senior coordinating producer Seth Markman spoke on behalf of the network, supporting Lewis’ decision to remain in Baltimore saying, “Few athletes are as connected to a city as Ray is to Baltimore, having played his entire career there and based on all the work he has done in that community. While we will miss him at the draft, we completely support him in this decision and we hope his involvement will help resolve the situation there.” In regards to Riddick filling in for Lewis, he had this to say: “Louis, who was already scheduled to be at the NFL Draft, is one of our most knowledgeable and respected NFL Insiders. He will be a great addition to our main set on Thursday night.”

All of the latest updates from the NFL Draft are available online now along with the worldwide leader in sports’ coverage of the 2015 NFL Draft now at:

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

Facebook: 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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces 2015 Monday Night Football Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The NFL announced its full season schedule last night. And in accordance ESPN has announced its Monday Night Football broadcast schedule, too.

ESPN kicks off its 46th season of Monday Night Football with an NFC double-header on Monday, September 14th. The Atlanta Falcons open the night as they host the Philadelphia Eagles and their latest addition, DeMarco Murray. The broadcast is scheduled for a 7pm ET start time. The Vikings head into San Francisco to face the 49ers in the second game of the night in an NFC West/NFC North matchup. Broadcast for that game is set for 10:15pm ET/7:15pm PT. There is a strong likelihood that embattled player Adrian Peterson will be back on the field with the Vikings for the game, too, making this game even more intriguing for fans. Mike Tirico will have the call for the early game. He will be joined by analyst Jon Gruden–who just re-upped with ESPN last season–in the booth. Lisa Salters will be on the sidelines for additional commentary and interviews. The broadcast team for the late game will be announced at a later date.

The complete ESPN Monday Night Football schedule, including pre-season, is listed below.

ESPN’s 2015 Monday Night Football Schedule

Preseason

Date Time (ET) Teams

Aug. 20 8 p.m. Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns

Aug. 24 8 p.m. Cincinnati Bengals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Regular Season

Sept. 14 7 p.m. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons

10:15 p.m. Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers

Sept. 21 8:15 p.m. New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sept. 28 8:15 p.m. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers

Oct. 5 8:15 p.m. Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks

Oct. 12 8:15 p.m. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. San Diego Chargers

Oct. 19 8:15 p.m. New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Oct. 26 8:15 p.m. Baltimore Ravens vs. Arizona Cardinals

Nov. 2 8:15 p.m. Indianapolis Colts vs. Carolina Panthers

Nov. 9 8:15 p.m. Chicago Bears vs. San Diego Chargers

Nov. 16 8:15 p.m. Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Nov. 23 8:15 p.m. Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

Nov. 30 8:15 p.m. Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns

Dec. 7 8:15 p.m. Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins

Dec. 14 8:15 p.m. New York Giants vs. Miami Dolphins

Dec. 21 8:15 p.m. Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints

Dec. 28 8:15 p.m. Cincinnati Bengals vs. Denver Broncos

Every MNF game broadcast on ESPN will also be available on a variety of online platforms including: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360, and Xbox One via WatchESPN. Audiences can also access additional MNF “game around the game” content throughout day across a variety of ESPN platforms including ESPN’s MNF pre-game show Monday Night Countdown and post-game coverage on SportsCenter. ESPN will also carry its MNF broadcasts on ESPN Deportes for its Spanish-speaking audiences. All of the latest information on ESPN’s MNF schedule is available online now along with all of the latest NFL news at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl/mnf

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

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 Networks Carrying Extensive NBA Playoffs Coverage This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Round one of the NBA Playoffs is officially under way. Both the Warriors and Bulls have taken 2 – 0 leads in their series against the Pelicans and Bucks respectively. The Grizzlies, Clippers, Rockets, Hawks, Wizards, and Cavaliers each lead their series 1 – 0 over their respective opponents. And this weekend as the playoffs advance, fans will get their fill of playoff coverage thanks to the worldwide leader in sports.

ESPN and the ESPN family of networks will have extensive coverage of the playoffs this weekend beginning with a triple-header on ESPN and ESPN2. The Rockets and Mavericks kick off Friday’s triple-header coverage as they face off in Game Three of their series at 7pm ET on ESPN and WatchESPN. The Raptors and Wizards follow at 8pm ET on ESPN2 in Game Three of their Eastern Conference matchup. The Clippers and Spurs round out the night in San Antonio with tipoff scheduled for 9:30pm ET. That game will be broadcast on ESPN and WatchESPN.

The action doesn’t stop at Friday’s last buzzer. Things pick right back up Saturday night with a Western Conference double-header. First up Saturday night are the Warriors and Pelicans in Game Three of their Western Conference series at 8pm on ESPN, WatchESPN and ESPN Radio. Kevin Calabro will have the call for ESPN Radio’s broadcast. He will be joined by P.J. Carlesimo in the booth. The Grizzlies are on the road in the second of the night’s matchups as they face off against their Western Conference opponents the Portland Trailbazers. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 10:30pm ET on ESPN and WatchESPN.

ABC takes the reigns on the NBA Playoffs coverage as the weekend winds down with its own double-header presentation. First up in that schedule are the Cavs and Celtics in Game Four of their Eastern Conference series. Tipoff is scheduled for 1pm ET on ABC and ESPN3. ABC heads back out west for the second game of the day as the Spurs and Clippers face off in Game Four of their western Conference series. The game is scheduled for a 3:30pm ET start time on ABC and ESPN3. Before the first tipoff takes place Sunday, Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, and Doug Collins will have all of the latest news from around the league in the networks’ NBA pre-game show NBA Countdown at 12:30pm ET on ABC and ESPN3. The full schedule for this weekend’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs on ESPN and the ESPN family of networks is listed below:

Date Time (ET) Show / Commentators Network (s)

Wed, Apr 22

1 a.m. NBA Tonight: Cassidy Hubbarth, Brad Daugherty ESPN2, WatchESPN

Fri, Apr 24

1 a.m. NBA Tonight: Cassidy Hubbarth ESPN2, WatchESPN

7 p.m. Game 3: Houston Rockets (2) at Dallas Mavericks (7) ESPN, WatchESPN

8 p.m. Game 3: Washington Wizards (5) at Toronto Raptors (4) ESPN2, WatchESPN

9:30 p.m. Game 3: Los Angeles Clippers (3) at San Antonio Spurs (6) ESPN, WatchESPN

Sat., Apr 25

1 a.m. NBA Tonight: Cassidy Hubbarth, Bruce Bowen ESPN2, WatchESPN

8 p.m. Game 3: Golden State Warriors (1) at New Orleans Pelicans Cavaliers (8)

ESPN Radio: Kevin Calabro, P.J. Carlesimo ESPN, WatchESPN, ESPN Radio

10:30 p.m. Game 3: Memphis Grizzlies (5) at Portland Trail Blazers (4) ESPN, WatchESPN

Sun, Apr 26

12:30 p.m. NBA Countdown: Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins ABC, ESPN3

1 p.m. Game 4: Cleveland Cavaliers (2) at Boston Celtics (7) ABC, ESPN3

3:30 p.m. Game 4: Los Angeles Clippers (3) at San Antonio Spurs (6) ABC, ESPN3

Tue, Apr 28

1 a.m. NBA Tonight: Cassidy Hubbarth, Brad Daugherty ESPN2, WatchESPN

All of the latest scores and news from around the league is available online now at:

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

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

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.