Nine For IX’s Penultimate Production Airs Tuesday

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

The Nine for IX series winds down next Tuesday, August 20th with the penultimate film in the Summer-long film series from ESPN Films and espnW.  The 99ers premieres Tuesday night at 8pm ET on ESPN.  It focuses on the 1999 U.S. women’s national soccer team.  On July 10, 1999, the U.S. women’s national soccer team turned the women’s sports world on its ear when the Women’s national soccer team defeated China’s women’s national soccer team at the famed Rose Bowl to take the Women’s World Cup.  The victory came in front of more than 90,000 fans in attendance and an estimated 40 million fans watching on television.

The story of the iconic victory is told by longtime U.S. Women’s national soccer team captain Julie Foudy.   It’s through Foudy’s own words that audiences gain an understanding of the mentality that led the U.S. women’s national soccer team to victory over China.  It uses not just interviews with Foudy, but behind-the-scenes footage shot by members of the team that have never before been seen.  It reunites key players from the 1999 U.S. women’s national team for the story, directed by Erin Leyden and produced by Foudy. 

The 99ers is the second to last film in the Nine for IX series this Summer.  The series’ final film, Branded airs August 27th at 8pm ET on ESPN.  Each film will be available for download via iTunes the day after its broadcast.  A collectible gift set containing each film will be available on October 15th, 2013. 

More information on the Nine for IX series is available on ESPN’s 30 for 30 Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30 and on Twitter at @30for30 and @espnW. And 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 Films, espnW Wind Down Nine For IX Series Starting With “Runner”

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

Nine for IX, the summer-long film series from ESPN Films and espnW, continues with another new film next Tuesday.  Runner is the seventh film in the nine-film series.  The story of Runner centers on distance runner Mary Decker.  More specifically, it focuses on Decker’s Olympic debut in the 3,000 meter race at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.  The film follows Decker’s highs and lows as she rose to fame over the course of her career while still having to overcome the tribulations of missing the Olympics three times before her 1984 debut.  As the film presents, her debut was set to literally be Decker’s “Golden” moment.  But a fateful on-track accident with another runner would ultimately seal Decker’s fate.

Audiences hear from Decker herself as she explains how she had to overcome her initial feelings of anger towards rival racer Zola Budd.  It was Budd with whom she collided on track, causing both women to wipe out.  Budd would go on to finish seventh in the race.  Decker shows in the film, that despite those memories still burning in her mind, she has largely gotten past her original feelings of ill will toward Budd.

Award-winning film maker Shola Lynch directs this bittersweet story of hope and determination.  It will air next Tuesday, August 13th at 8pm on ESPN.  Lynch herself is a former track star.  She had been labeled “the next Mary Decker” at one point.  The Columbia University graduate is currently working on a companion book for her new film on Decker.  Her previous documentaries include Free Angela and Political Prisoners.

Only two films remain in the Nine for IX film series.  Those films are The 99ers (premieres August 20th) and Branded (premiering August 27th).  Each film is available online the day after its broadcast on iTunes and Amazon.  A collectible gift set will be available for audiences on October 15th.  Audiences can keep up with all the latest on the Nine for IX series on Twitter at http://twitter.com/30for30 and http://tiwtter.com/espnW.  Audiences can also keep up with all of the latest on the Nine for IX series on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30 and http://www.facebook.com/espnW.

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.

Nine for IX Continues Tonight At 8pm

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

The Nine for IX film series from espnW and ESPN Films continues tonight.  The series, which focuses on some of the most important woman in sports, turns its view tonight to the world of figure skating in The Diplomat

The Diplomat centers on East German figure skater Katarina Witt.  Witt is one of the most decorated women in the world of figure skating.  Over the course of her career, she earned six European skating titles, four world championships and back-to-back Olympic gold medals in figure skating.  For all of her accolades, Witt couldn’t escape her critics.  Some called her “the most beautiful face of socialism.”  Even in her own home of East Germany, Witt was under surveillance by the Stasi, East Germany’s own infamous secret police force.  As this film shows, Witt faced great challenges in her home nation both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  For all of her challenges, the changes in East Germany also benefitted her.  Audiences will see both sides of that coin tonight when The Diplomat airs at 8pm on ESPN.

Each film will be available online the day after its broadcast via iTunes and Amazon.  A special DVD gift set containing each film in the Nine for IX series will be available October 15th, 2013.

The remaining films in ESPN Films and espnW’s Nine for IX series are listed below.

August 13thRunner

August 20thThe 99ers

August 27thBranded

 

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.

Nine For IX Series Continues July 30th With “Swoopes”

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

espnW and ESPN Films’  Nine for IX  series continues this coming Tuesday, July 30thSwoopes, will debut Tuesday night.  The film, which centers on women’s basketball star Sheryl Swoopes, was directed be ESPN’s own Hannah Storm.  It follows Swoopes’ career from college athlete to coach at Loyola University.  It also focuses on one of her most pivotal choices – the decision in 2005 to publicly come out as being gay.

Swoopes was considered to be as good as NBA legend Michael Jordan during her time on the hardwood.  She won a national title at Texas Tech, three Olympic Gold medals, three MVP awards, and three consecutive WNBA Championships with the Houston Comets.  She was also one of the pioneering players that helped to establish the WNBA.  As if these accolades weren’t enough, She also had a Nike shoe named after her, the Air Swoopes.  Her off-court life wasn’t as successful.  After giving birth to her son, Gavin, during the WNBA’s first season, Swoopes would later divorce her high school sweetheart before coming out publicly in 2005.

Through all of her issues with relationships, finances, and her personality, Swoopes never gave up.  Viewers will see in this profile of Swoopes, how she overcame it all.  Swoopes will air Tuesday, July 30th at 8pm ET on ESPN.  The schedule for the remaining four movies in the Nine for IX  series  is listed below.

August 6: The Diplomat

August 13: Runner

August 20: The 99ers

August 27: Branded

Each film will be available online the day after its broadcast via iTunes and Amazon.  A special DVD gift set containing each film in the Nine for IX series will be available October 15th, 2013.

To keep up with all the latest news from espnW, fans can “Like” the espnW Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/espnW.  And 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.

Let Them Wear Towels Premieres Next Tuesday In Nine For IX Series

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

Next Tuesday, July 16th, ESPN will premiere the next film in its new Nine For IX series. Let Them Wear Towels is the latest in the film series.  It will air at 8pm.  The new film focuses on the challenges faced by female sports reporters as they struggled to make their own place in the largely male dominated world that is the professional sports locker room.  The film was co-directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern.  The core of the story centers on examples such as that of then twenty-five year old Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olsen’s sexual harassment case involving players with the New England Patriots and that of Sports Illustrated reporter Melissa Ludtke being barred from the New York Yankees’ clubhouse.

Olsen’s case rose as a result of Olsen being sexually harassed by members of the team, who exposed their genitals to her and made crass comments to her.  The 1990 case resulted in an investigation by the NFL.  It resulted in the finding that Olsen had in fact been “degraded and humiliated” by the players in question.  Despite her win in the case, fans of the Pats continued to chide her so harshly in public that she ended up moving all the way around the world to Australia for a period of time to restart her broadcasting career.

Melissa  Ludtke, who at the time worked for Sports Illustrated, faced her own turmoil as a female sports reporter.  She had been barred from entering the New York Yankees’ locker room over a decade ago..  Ludtke challenged the action by the Yankees organization and won.

Sundberg and Stern incorporate interviews with Ludtke, Olsen and many others within the sports universe in their examination of why the subject of female reports in the professional sports locker room remains such a hot button issue today.  The pair examines the history of women in the largely male dominated sports world as well in order to find out why this remains such an important topic even now in the twenty-first century.    This film, and all of the films in the Nine for IX series can be downloaded the day after their broadcast via iTunes and Amazon.  This October, there will be a special collectible gift set that includes all of the films in the Nine for IX series.  It will be available October 15th, 2013.

The complete Nine For IX schedule is listed below.

July 16: Let Them Wear Towels

 

July 23: No Limits

 

July 30: Swoopes

 

August 6: The Diplomat

 

August 13: Runner

 

August 20: The ‘99ers

 

August 27: Branded

 

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.

Nine For IX Series Continues With Film On Vols Coach Pat Summit

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

The next film in ESPN Films’ and espnW’s Nine for IX series airs next Tuesday, July 9thPat XO focuses on the University of Tennessee women’s legendary basketball coach, Pat Summit.  Summit’s story is told through the words of those who know the beloved coach most, including her own family.  Her son Tyler, who serves as Assistant Coach of Marquette’s women’s basketball team, serves as lead storyteller in this moving film.  Others to share their stories and thoughts on coach Summit in this film include the likes of: Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, fellow coach Geno Auriemma, country music artist Kenny Chesney, and even players Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings, and Michelle Marciniak.

Pat XO was co-directed by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters.  The pair’s first collaboration, Emmanuel’s Gift, was an award winning documentary.  The documentary followed the story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah in his fight for the rights of two million disabled citizens of in Ghana, West Africa.  They have also worked on a trio of prime-time specials for PBS, a documentary with Harpo Studios on Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls, and the film, UnmatchedUnmatched is a film included in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.  It follows the rivalry and friendship between tennis stars Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, and is told through the pair’s own experiences and words.  Robin Roberts, host of ABC’s Good Morning America, produced the new film.  It will air next Tuesday night at 8pm EST on ESPN.

All films in the Nine for IX series will be available for purchase via iTunes and Amazon the day after each is aired.  They will all be culled for a special gift set from ESPN on October 15th, 2013.

The complete schedule for the Nine for IX series is listed below.

July 9: Pat XO

 

July 16: Let Them Wear Towels

 

July 23: No Limits

 

July 30: Swoopes

 

August 6: The Diplomat

 

August 13: Runner

 

August 20: The ‘99ers

 

August 27: Branded

 

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, espnW Kick Off Nine For IX Film Series Next Tuesday

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

ESPN and espnW have teamed up for a new film series.  The pair will kick off the brand new Nine for IX series next Tuesday, July 2nd at 8pm EST.  Venus Vs. is the first film in the series.  Directed by Ava DuVernay, the film the achievements and work of Venus and how it has changed the course of women’s tennis.  One of the film’s highlights is the case of Williams challenging the issue of equal pay in men’s and women’s tennis at Wimbledon.  DuVernay won the “Best Director Award” at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature length film, Middle of Nowhere.

This case saw Williams lobby the British Parliament, UNESCO, and Fleet Street to level the financial playing field for women at Wimbledon.  In 2007, Roland Garros and Wimbledon finally gave in to Williams’ requests.  It was that same year that Williams went on to become the first female Wimbledon winner to earn equal pay as the men’s winner, Roger Federer.

A new film in the Nine for IX series every Tuesday throughout the Summer.  The next film slated to air is titled, Pat XO.  This film focuses on University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit.  The official Nine for IX trailer is available online now at http://espn.go.com/espnw/video/8959146/trailer.  The complete film schedule is available below.

July 2: Venus Vs.
July 9: Pat XO
July 16: Let Them Wear Towels
July 23: No Limits
July 30: Swoopes
August 6: The Diplomat
August 13: Runner
August 20: The ‘99ers
August 27: Branded

For more information on the debut film in the Nine for IX series, fans can go online to http://www.facebook.com/espnW.    Each film will be available via iTunes and Amazon the day after its broadcast.  A special gift set containing each film will be available October 13, 2013.

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.

In The Game With Robin Roberts Returning For Second Season

 

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

In The Game with Robin Roberts presented by Lexus returns next week.  The sports based program is produced by espnW in partnership with ABC News.  It can be viewed online at http://www.espnW.com and http://www.abcnews.com, and on TV on ESPN’s SportsCenterGood Morning America host and former ESPN anchor Robin Roberts, will be joined by NASCAR driver Danica Patrick for a one-on-one conversation in next week’s season premiere. 

When asked about Roberts returning to host the program again, espnW  Vice President Laura Gentile shared her thoughts on having her return to host again.  “Robin Roberts is a respected journalist and life-long athlete,” Gentile said.  “In the Game enables Robin to connect with today’s athletes in an intimate setting and uncover insights and stories that truly illuminate them as people. It’s a unique platform and one in which only Robin could bring such power and meaning.” 

Roberts shared Gentile’s sentiment adding, “I’ll probably always be an athlete at heart,” she noted.  “I appreciate espnW bringing me back for a second season. There’s so much we can all learn from these top athletes. I also enjoy bringing out a side of them rarely seen. Teaming up again with espnW is a perfect fit.” 

Roberts’ interviews with her guests are expected to focus on “pursuit of perfection” in each athlete’s career and personal life.  U.S. Gold Medal winning gymnast Gabby Douglas and U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan are both scheduled to appear this season on In The Game with Robin Roberts presented by Lexus along with even more guests to be announced at later dates.

Fans that miss any interviews will be able to check them out in full online at http://www.espnW.com/inthegame and http://www.abcnews.com/inthegame.  Fans can also go to these websites for bonus content including: additional clips, a video archive, and photos.  For all the latest news on what’s going on at espnW, fans can “Like” the espnW Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/espnW

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, 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.

WNBA Has Strong Start To Season

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The 2013-2014 WNBA season is off to a pretty strong start.  This weekend’s double header saw the Washington Mystics taking on the Tulsa Shock and the Chicago Sky facing off against the Phoenix Mercury.  The double header pulled in a 0.3 household coverage rating and averaged 366,000 viewers (P2+), including the most viewed regular season game on ESPN2 in nine years.  The pair of games featured the top four teams from this year’s WNBA draft presented by State Farm.  It included ESPNs “3 to See” trio of Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa) and Brittney Griner (Phoenix).  ESPN and the ESPN family of networks will focus on the “3 to See” throughout the WNBA season.  This includes coverage online at ESPN.com and espnW.com. 

The broadcast of the Mystics/Shock Memorial Day 3pm broadcast earned a 0.3 rating with 314,000 viewers.  The 5pm game featuring the Sky and Mercury pulled a 0.4 rating with 455,000 viewers.  It was the most viewed game on ESPN2 since the Phoenix took on New York on July 11th, 2004.  That game pulled in a 0.5 rating with 487,000 viewers. 

The 2012 WNBA regular season on ESPN2 averaged a 0.2 household coverage rating.  Coverage of the 2013 WNBA season returns Saturday, June 8th at 3:30pm with a matchup of the Phoenix Mercury and the defending WNBA champion Indiana Fever.  The game is the first of the 2013 WNBA regular season.  It will air on ABC.

WNBA fans can keep up with the latest scores and more from around the league when they “Like” the WNBA on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wnba.  Fans can keep up with all the latest around the WNBA on ESPN via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ESPN and on the official ESPN website at http://www.espn.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 spots and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

espnW Website Debuts Brand New Look In Re-Launch

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

ESPN and espnW have released a full beta version of its redesigned espnW.com website.  The redesigned website debuted Tuesday.  The new site incorporates responsive design and time-based feed that makes the full website much more user friendly across its screens.  The main focuses of the redesigned website are on social media and visual integration.  It will be divided into three main content sections:  News & Commentary, Athlete’s Life, and W in Action

The first of the sections, News & Commentary, will focus on the top stories of the day.  They will be featured from an espnW perspective.  That perspective includes features, columns, videos and photos.  Athletes Life will offer insight into the lives of athletes through essays, training information, videos, and photos.  Together, they will give audiences insight into “the woman behind the competitor.”  W in Action is meant to highlight how espnW and female athletes are impacting the world and their communities through sports.  This is done via essays, columns, features, and photos.

Laura Gentile, espnW Vice President, discussed the updates to the website, explaining the purpose for the changes.  “espnW.com has become the digital home for a growing community of women who love sports, and nothing is more important than continuing to enhance the way we serve those fans,” she said.  “The editorial focus and design sensibility of the new espnW.com are a direct result of our interaction and connection with fans over the last two years.” 

Along with the site re-launch, espnW has launched a new initiative called The Summer of W.  It will be made up of two main platforms.  The first of the platforms is known as 98 Days to Shine.  This platform is a social photo challenge.  The challenge is meant to inspire women and get them active.  Rewards will be given out daily and weekly for photos submitted to espnW for responses to the challenges that are presented each week.  It all culminates with one grand prize handed out at the end of the summer.  Photos submitted throughout Summer will be posted to espnW.  They will be part of the finale event that celebrates fans’ photos and creativity.  Fans can submit photos on Twitter and Instagram using Hashtag #98DaystoShine.

The second of the platforms included in The Summer of W is comprised mainly of editorial content.  That content includes the features: 10 Faces of Summer, Heart of Summer, and Hot Shots10 Faces of Summer focuses on the brightest female athletes across ten different sports.  The athletes in question will take fans into their Summer training regimes and will give fans an inside look at their lives both at home and in competition.  Among the already confirmed athletes for this addition to the revamped site are: Skylar Diggins, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Lakey Peterson, Julie Foudy, Jessica Hardy, Sarah Groff, and Aga Radwanska.  The Heart of Summer features correspondent Summer Sanders.  The column will see her travelling the nation to sporting events of all sizes from a Color Run and a Spartan Race to the MLB All-Star Game and X-games.  Hot Shots features profiles and photo essays of athletes from some of the sports world’s lesser discussed sports.  Those sports include the likes of: paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, and mountain biking.

As a final bonus to the revamped website, espnW will be the online destination for the film series, Nine for IX.  The film series focuses primarily on some of the most interesting stories of women in sports told through the lens of female filmmakers.      

To keep up with all of the latest updates to the espnW website, audiences can go online to http://espn.go.com/espnw and http://www.facebook.com/espnW

To keep up with all of 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.