2015 NBA Draft Pulls In Record Numbers

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The 2015 NBA Draft presented by State Farm is officially in the books. And even with the draft being said and done, there are still lots of story lines for basketball fans to talk about in regards to who was and wasn’t taken. Now ESPN has added another item to discuss as it has announced the ratings numbers for this year’s draft.

ESPN has announced that this year’s NBA Draft presented by State Farm is the most-watched in the event’s history. This is according to Nielsen ratings. According to Nielsen’s numbers, the 2015 NBA Draft presented by State Farm averaged 3,738,000 (P2+). That is up eight percent from ESPN’s coverage of the 2014 NBA Draft. At its highest point, this year’s broadcast had 5,131,000 viewers. That was in the fifteen minute block from 8pm – 8:15pm ET. Not only were this year’s numbers the highest in the draft’s history but they were the highest ever on ESPN, averaging a 2.4 U.S. household rating. That is up four percent from the 2014 NBA Draft. It peaked in the 8pm – 8:15pm ET block with a 3.3 rating.

Even more impressive of ESPN’s broadcast of the 2015 NBA Draft presented by State Farm is that it pushed the worldwide leader in sports to win the night across both the broadcast and cable spectrum in a number of key demos. Those demos include: P 18 – 34, M 18 – 34, P 18 -49, M 18 – 49, and M 25 – 54.

ESPN has carried the NBA Draft ever since 2003 while the draft itself has TV records dating back to 1994. More information on the ESPN networks’ NBA coverage is available online now along with all of the latest NBA news at:

Website: http://www.espn.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.

ESPN Networks To Offer Extensive Coverage Of The 2015 NBA Draft Presented By State Farm

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The 2014 – 2015 NBA season is officially in the books. But the road to the 2015 – 2016 season has already begun.

This Thursday, June 25th, ESPN will carry exclusive coverage of the 2015 NBA Draft presented by State Farm live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Coverage for this year’s draft is expected to begin at 7pm ET. This year’s broadcast marks the 13th consecutive year that ESPN has carried the draft. NBA fans that won’t be near a TV during the draft won’t have to worry about missing a minute of its coverage as they can hear all the coverage on ESPN radio and online via WatchESPN. Rece Davis will anchor this year’s broadcast. He will be joined at the desk by ESPN college basketball analyst and NBA Draft expert Jay Bilas, college basketball analyst Jay Williams, and NBA analyst Jalen Rose. Mark Kestecher will anchor ESPN Radio’s broadcast. He will be joined by Ryen Rusillo and analyst P.J. Carlesimo for additional insight and commentary.

ESPN’s coverage and insight of this year’s NBA Draft presented by State Farm doesn’t stop at the desk. ESPN NBA analyst Tom Penn will add to the network’s coverage with front office perspective while ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla have a look at international players poised to be drafted into the NBA. Heather Cox will be in the green room and Shannon Spake, new to the draft this year, will have interviews with draftees once selections are made. ESPN college basketball insiders Andy Katz and Jeff Goodman will each offer additional draft and NBA news throughout the broadcast. Brian Windhorst, Ramona Shelburne, and Chris Broussard will each be embedded with one of three teams throughout the Draft for even more coverage–Windhorst with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Shelburne with the Lakers and Broussard with the Knicks.

Leading up to the big night, ESPN2 will air a special one-hour NBA Draft preview show Wednesday night at 7pm ET. Following the Draft, ESPNU will provide Post-Draft coverage beginning at midnight. Anish Shroff, Tim Welsh, and Seth Greenberg will be on hand for commentary.

NBA fans can get more information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of the 2015 NBA Draft presented by State Farm onine at:

Website: http://www.espn.com

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.

Vitale Sticking With ESPN Through 2017 – 2018 Season

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Good news for basketball fans everywhere. Dick Vitale has signed a new contract with the worldwide leader in sports.

Officials with ESPN announced today that basketball Hall of Famer Dick Vitale has come to terms with the network on a new deal. The deal in question will keep Vitale with ESPN at least through the 2017 – 2018 basketball season. It will mark Vitale’s 39th season with ESPN. It also means that Vitale will continue to call some of the ESPN networks’ biggest basketball matchups for the foreseeable future. This includes regular-season games on ESPN and ESPN2, and the men’s Final Four on ESPN International.

John Wildhack, Executive VP of Production and Programming for ESPN noted Vitale’s love for basketball, his standout personality and his ability to connect with basketball fans thanks to both factors in signing the new deal saying, “Dick continues to connect with fans by demonstrating an incredibly successful combination of exuberance for and knowledge of the game he loves. He is a one-of-a-kind personality and the passion he brings to everything he is involved with continues to have an enormous impact.”

The deal having been completely finalized, Vitale shared his thoughts about being with the network over the years and what being part of the Worldwide Leader in Sports means to him, saying, “I am so proud to be part of the ESPN team. They have become my second family and have been a vital part of my life. It has been nothing but pure happiness working with the beautiful people at ESPN and I can’t thank them enough as they’ve been responsible for so many of the glorious days I’ve had in my life.”

Over the course of his time at ESPN, Vitale has earned quite the positive reputation. He was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. He has also been awarded for his efforts with the American Cancer Society, The National Association of Basketball Coaches (Court of Honor Award), and Seton Hall University (Humanitarian Award). His work as a board member on The V Foundation for Cancer Research has garnered him respect among his counterparts throughout the sports world as have his efforts with the Boys & Girls Club, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and many other organizations.

Vitale’s debut season on ESPN was the 1979 – 1980 season. That was just after ESPN’s debut season. From there, he went on to call ESPN’s first-ever NCAA basketball game. Wisconsin and DePaul faced off in that game with DePaul defeating Wisconsin 90 – 77. Throughout the years his play calling has become just part of why audiences have come to love him. His catch phrases (E.g. “Awesome, baby!,” “Get a TO, Baby!,” “PTP’er”) have become a part of his legacy. Off the court, Vitale has authored nine books and selected for nine halls of fame. Before joining ESPN, Vitale started his professional career teaching at Mark Twain Elementary School in Garfield, New Jersey and coaching middle school football and basketball. He coached at the high school level for eight years beginning in 1963. In 1970 he moved to the college ranks, working at both Rutgers and The University of Detroit. In May of 1978 he took the helm of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. It was from there that he eventually moved on to join ESPN in 1979.

More information on Vitale’s new deal is available online now along with all of the latest basketball news 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.

Dwayne Wade To Appear On Select NBA Countdown Broadcasts

Courtesy: ABC/ESPN/NBA

Courtesy: ABC/ESPN/NBA

ABC has added a big name to its NBA Countdown pre-game broadcast team for this year’s playoff series between the Cavs and Warriors.

ABC announced today that it has added Dwayne Wade to its team for its NBA Countdown pre-game show. Wade, a former teammate to LeBron James, will join host Sage Steel and analysts Jalen Rose and Doug Collins on NBA Countdown ahead of Game 2 and 3 of this year’s playoff series. Should things stay tight enough, Wade will also be on hand for ABC’s pre-game broadcast ahead of Game 6 and 7. Dwayne Wade holds three NBA Championships, was the 2006 NBA Finals MVP, has made 11-appearances at the NBA All-Star Game, and helped Team USA earn gold at the 2008 Olympics.

NBA Countdown airs half an hour before each playoff game and will broadcast live before each game of the NBA Playoffs. More information on ABC’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs is available online now at:

Website: http://abcnews.go.com/sports

Twitter: http://twitter.com/abcnewsSport

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.

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.

ESPN Announces MNF Pre-Season Broadcast Schedule

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Spring is one of the greatest times of the year for sports fans. The NHL and NBA are both headed into their respective playoffs. MLB is just getting started. The auto racing world is in high gear. And in the world of football, many universities are planning their annual spring football scrimmages ahead of the annual NFL draft. It also means one other thing for sports fans. It means the annual announcement by ESPN of the network’s pre-season football coverage. And make that announcement is exactly what the worldwide leader in sports did Thursday.

ESPN announced Thursday that it has two games on tap for its 2015 Monday Night Football schedule. The first of those games is a matchup of the Browns and Bills on Thursday, August 20th in Cleveland. It will be the first chance for new Bills coach and former Jets coach Rex Ryan to put his team, which now features All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy, on display. On the other side of the ball, it is believed that Johnny Manziel will be fighting for his career as the Browns host the Bills in the AFC matchup.

The second matchup on ESPN’s Monday Night Football pre-season schedule will see Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, August 24th. The Bucs struggled mightily in the 2014- 2015 season and will have the #1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft as a result of those struggles.

The MNF broadcast team of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will have the call for both games. They will be joined once again by sideline reporter Lisa Salters. Both games are schedule for an 8pm ET start time and will be preceded by an hour-long edition of ESPN’s weekly NFL pre-game show Monday Night Countdown. ESPN’s Spanish-speaking audiences will be able to catch both games on television on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s 24-hour Spanish-language domestic sports network. ESPN Deportes will also have coverage of every regular season MNF broadcast.

Along with coverage on television via ESPN and ESPN Deportes, every MNF broadcast can also be seen online through a number of outlets including: Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via WatchESPN. WatchESPN is available in more than 93 million households across the country to fans who get ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription.

More information on ESPN’s upcoming MNF broadcast schedule is available online along with all of the latest NFL headlines 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.