Verizon Indycar Series To Open Its 2017 Season Live This Sunday On ABC

Courtesy: Verizon Indycar Series

The Verizon Indycar Series opens its 2017 season this Sunday, and ABC will have full coverage of the series’ season-opening race live from St. Petersburg, Fla.

Green flag for Sunday’s 110-lap race is scheduled to fly at 12:30 p.m. ET on ABC.  Coverage of Sunday’s race will also be simulcast live online via WatchESPN.  The 1.8-mile track includes some of St. Petersburg’s streets and features 14 turns through which drivers must navigate on their way to the checkered flag.

This year’s telecast of the series’ season-opener will feature some new tech to enhance the viewing experience for fans.  One of those new improvements is a new analytics system designed for ABC and ESPN by tech company Pit Rho.

The analytics system will include everything that audiences have come to know from ESPN’s Verizon Indycar Series coverage including tickers and graphics.  Included in the tech this year is teams’ tire compound choices, laps on tired, fuel windows, optimal laps for pitting and much more.

Another new improvement that audiences will see in the network’s tech this year is the inclusion of a helmet cam that will be used during pre-race coverage.  The mini-cam will show audiences the effects of G-forces on drivers’ heads and bodies as they navigate the tracks’ tight turns.  Network officials stressed the cams would not be used during the race coverage as they might interfere with competition.

Along with its coverage of the series’ season-opening race in St. Petersburg, ESPN will carry full coverage of the 101st Indianapolis 500 on May 28 and the race’s two-day qualifying session on May 20 and May 21.  The series’ road race at the Indianapolis Speedway on May 13 and two races from Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit on June 3 and 4 are also on the networks’ schedule.

Allen Bestwick will once again anchor broadcasts of ABC and ESPN’s Verizon Indycar Series races this year.  He will be joined in the booth by former Indycar drivers Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever for additional analysis and insight.

This season marks the 16th season that Goodyear has served as an analyst for ABC and ESPN’s Indycar broadcasts.  Cheever returns for his 10th season of Indycar broadcasts.  Jon Beekhuis, Rick DeBruhl and Dr. Jerry Punch will be on pit road once again, too.

More information on ABC and ESPN’s coverage of the Verizon Indycar Series is available online now along with all of the networks’ auto racing coverage at http://www.espn.com/racing.  More information on the Verizon Indycar Series’ and its latest news is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.indycar.com

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

 

 

 

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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.

Ben Rudnick And Friends’ New Record Is A Fun Ride Through The Musical Universe

Courtesy:  Bartlett Ave Records

Courtesy: Bartlett Ave Records

Kindie rock artist Ben Rudnick is no stranger to the world of children’s music. Over the course of his roughly fifteen years making music for the whole family, he has released no fewer than ten total recordings. The latest of those recordings, the thirteen-track album Love Is A Superpower, was released in 2012. Now three years removed from that recording, Rudnick and company (Ben Rudnick and Friends as they are more properly called) have re-issued the group’s ’09 album A Frog Named Sam in a manner of speaking. The difference here is that this “re-issue” isn’t necessarily a re-issue in the traditional sense of the term. That is because it doesn’t just re-hash that album. Rather it lifts from each of Rudnick’s previous LPs to form what is in essence a ten track album that also includes five reprisals for a total of fifteen tracks. The end result is a collection of songs that Rudnick and company have playfully dubbed A Frog Named Sam: A Musical For Children. It can be safely assumed that such a title was playful in nature since there doesn’t seem to be any actual “movie” or presentation to which this collection of previously released songs is connected from Rudnick and company. That aside, the compilation in whole is a recording that listeners of all ages will enjoy and appreciate. The central reason for that is the lyrical makeup of the record’s featured songs. The topics presented in each of the featured songs vary from one to the next and each is equally positive and important. This will be discussed at more length shortly. Just as important to note of Rudnick’s new record is the equally varied musical makeup of each song. There is just as much variance in the songs’ musical content as there is in their lyrical content. Last but hardly least of note here is the record’s sequencing. As previously noted, the ten tracks that make up the body of this record are separated out by a series of short vignettes that reprise the introductory line from the album’s title track. If Rudnick and company should actually make a whole movie of sorts to connect to this album then those segments will work pretty well in their own right. In this setting, though they serve a different yet equally useful purpose. Together with the songs’ musical and lyrical content, those short segments round out the record and make it one that will in fact leave listeners hoping Rudnick and friends actually do make a “movie” to connect to this record.

Ben Rudnick and friends’ “new” record A Frog Named Sam: A Musical For Children is an interesting new collection of songs for the veteran children’s entertainer and his fellow musicians. That is because the record is neither new nor even a traditional re-issue. Rather it presents a number of the group’s previously recorded songs in this setting for what is essentially a compilation record. Even with that being the case it is still a good introduction for those that might not be familiar with Runick’s work. That is thanks first and foremost to the lyrical content presented in each of the record’s featured songs. From a pro-literacy piece in ‘Reading a Book’ to the uplifting ‘When Something’s Got You Terribly Blue’ to the equally uplifting ‘Love Is A Superpower’ Rudnick and his fellow musicians offer plenty of reason to smile throughout this record. The latter pair of songs are both uplifting just in different ways. The first touts the benefits of having a good friend while the latter of the pair presents the power of love in every form. If those positive messages aren’t enough for fans, then the silly culinary-based song ‘Macaroni an Cheese’ and the upbeat ‘Race Car’ definitely will be. The same goes for the album’s closer ‘Coney Island Crazy.’ For those that have never had the pleasure of making the trip to one of America’s greatest theme parks, Rudnick and company paint a wonderfully vibrant picture of a trip to the park with their lyrics. The same goes for the picture painted in ‘Race Car.’ Those that have never watched a race (whether it be NASCAR, Verizon Indycar Series, F1, or other) will want to see or even attend their first race after hearing this piece. That is especially thanks to the song’s musical content. Speaking of musical content, the musical makeup of ‘Race Car’ and the record’s other songs are another reason that this new compilation is such a good introduction to Rudnick’s music.

The lyrical content presented in Ben Rudnick and Friends’ new compilation is collectively plenty of reason for audiences to check out this record. The lyrical content presented throughout the record runs the gamut, ranging from mildly serious topics such as literacy and friendship to the absolutely silly as in ‘Race Car’ and ‘Macaroni and Cheese.’ While the lyrical content proves important in its own right to the record’s enjoyment, the record’s collective musical content is just as important to its overall presentation. That is because it is just as varied as the album’s lyrical content. The album’s opener is a semi-psychadelic piece that takes listeners back to the days of Frank Zappa and others. ‘Coney Island Crazy’ will impress listeners of all ages with its Chuck Berry-influenced guitar riffs. ‘Macaroni and Cheese’ is just as intriguing with its mix of old school disco and funk sounds in its main body. There’s even a touch of a reggae influence coupled with country/bluegrass at another point in the song. Needless to say the whole of those sounds will definitely keep listeners’ ears from start to finish. Speaking of that country/bluegrass mix, there is also a healthy serving of bluegrass, country, and even folk spread across the record in the Bob Dylan-esque ‘When Something’s Got You Terribly Blue,’ ‘Reading A Book,’ ‘My Horse,’ ‘I Got A New Friend,’ and ‘Race Car.’ There’s even a throwback to the 1960s and ’70s to a point in ‘The Adventure Song.’ Considering the amount of variety in the songs’ musical content there is plenty for audiences to appreciate in this element of the recording, too. Together with the variety of lyrical topics presented throughout the record, both elements work together to make this a compilation that will take listeners of all ages on a fun musical adventure from start to finish.

The musical and lyrical content presented throughout the course of Ben Rudnick and Friends’ new compilation make it a record that will take listeners of all ages on a wonderful musical adventure from start to finish. Of course for all of the importance of those elements, there is still one more key element to note in this record. That last element is the collective vignettes that serve as occasional separators. There are only four of these vignettes throughout the course of the record’s thirty-two minute run time. But they still help to break up the record and keep listeners engaged. That is because they are placed with some seeming strategy throughout the record. If there were actually a movie of sorts which connected to this compilation, it would be interesting to see what the vignettes’ companion video would look like in each scene. Even without that visual aid though, it can be said that they help listeners collect themselves at specific points and in turn remain engaged right to the compilation’s up-tempo closer. In keeping listeners so well engaged, listeners will in turn agree that the reprisals are in fact just as important as the record’s overall musical and lyrical content even despite each one’s short length. Each gives just enough time for listeners to collect themselves before the next song (and set of songs) gets under way. It is just one more way in which this record proves itself an enjoyable ride through the musical universe for listeners of all ages. Together with the record’s overall musical and lyrical content, all three elements prove it to be not just an enjoyable ride through the musical universe but also one of 2015’s most intriguing children’s recordings.

Ben Rudnick and Friends’ latest full length recording is an enjoyable ride through the musical universe. It is also one of 2015’s most intriguing children’s records, as audiences will learn on that ride. Over the course of that ride, listeners of all ages are exposed to a number of lyrical topics, all of which the whole family will enjoy. The same can be said of the record’s musical makeup. Considering this and the reprisals that break up the album the ride in whole proves even more to be one that listeners of all ages will enjoy with every listen. It is available now. More information on A Frog Named Sam: A Musical For Children is available online now along with all of Ben Rudnick and Friends’ latest news at:

Website: http://www.benrudnick.com

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

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Verizon Indycar Series Back On The Road (Course) This Weekend

Courtesy:  Verizon Indycar Series

Courtesy: Verizon Indycar Series

The drivers of the Verizon Indycar Series will pull double duty this weekend.

With the Indy 500 now in its rear view, the Verizon Indycar Series and its drivers head to Detroit and the Belle Isle street circuit this weekend for the “Chevy Dual in Detroit” presented by Quicken Loans. Allen Bestwick will have the call for both of this weekend’s races. He will be joined in the booth by analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever for the weekend’s events. Rick DeBruhl, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Jon Beekhuis will be in the pits with additional coverage of the races.

Audiences will be able to see both races on ABC with the broadcast of both set to kick off at 3:30pm ET. Race 1 of the “Chevy Dual in Detroit” is scheduled for Saturday, May 30th and the second May 31st. Juan Pablo Montoya comes into this weekend’s events at op the Verizon Indycar Series points standings with a twenty-five point lead over Team Penske teammate Will Power. He also comes in fresh on the heels of his gripping Indy 500 win this past weekend at IMS. The win marked the first time in fifteen years that Montoya had won the crown jewel of the series’ annual season schedule. All of the latest information on this weekend’s races is available online now along with all of the latest Verizon Indycar Series news at:

Website: http://www.indycar.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/indycar

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.

ESPN, Verizon Sign New Deal For SEC Network Broadcasts

Courtesy:  ESPN/SEC Network

Courtesy: ESPN/SEC Network

ESPN and Verizon have signed a new television deal.

The deal between ESPN and Verizon will allow Verizon to carry its brand new SEC Network on Verizon’s FiOS platform.  The terms of the deal will allow the SEC Network to air on Verizon FiOS beginning before August 28th.  Verizon customers in Florida and Texas that already receive ESPN as aprt of their FiOS TV package will be able to get the SEC Network on channels 75 and 575.  FiOS subscribers in all other markets who already receive FiOS Extreme and Ultimate will be able to pick up the SEC network on Channnel 75 upon the network’s launch through FiOS.

Terry Denson, Verizon’s VP for content acquisition and strategy, was optimistic about the new deal between Verizon and ESPN.  He noted the predictions for SEC teams in a number of preseason polls and ratings for SEC football games as reasons for Verizon’s deal with ESPN.  “We welcome the SEC Network to FiOS TV and look forward to carrying the studio content and athletic events it will offer, including the season-opening football doubleheader on Aug. 28,” he said.  “The preseason college poll lists eight SEC teams in the top 25; SEC football ratings are head and shoulders above other conferences; and SEC fans are extraordinarily and uniquely passionate about not only those teams but the entire conference as well. This deal with Disney-ESPN reinforces our already strong partnership with them which involves much more than this great new network.”

Sean Breen, Senior VP of affiliate sales for Disney and ESPN Media Networks also discussed the deal, noting that the deal means an even broader swatch of audiences will be able to receive the SEC Network.  “With the addition of Verizon FiOS, SEC Network is now available on nine of the top 10 multichannel video distributors in the country,” he said.  We look forward to serving their customers in time for college football season.”

Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Thought, it is known that included in the deal is the rights to the FiOS Mobile app as well as live-viewing rights and additional live and on-demand content scheduled for both the SEC Network and various mobile platforms via WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com.  The FiOS mobile app will be available to FiOS customers in the near future.

More information on the SEC Network, its broadcast schedule and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/SECNetwork and http://getsecnetwork.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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.