Sports Media Digest- August 7, 2012

ESPN Kicks-Off NFL Preseason Coverage Thursday–  ESPN’s Monday Night Football preseason schedule begins this Thursday as the Green Bay Packers take on the San Diego Chargers.  Game time is 8:00p.m. ET with the new two man booth of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden along with new sideline reporter Lisa Salters.  at 7:00p.m. ET Chris Berman will host the hour-long Monday Night Countdown with analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, andKeyshawn Johnson and NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen.

AT&T U-Verse Extends Deal with NFL Network-  AT&T U-Verse has signed a mulit-year contract extension to continue to carry the NFL Network and NFL RedZone.  NFL Network is available in the AT&T U-verse U200 package and above on HD channel 1630 and SD channel 630. NFL RedZone, which airs on Sundays throughout the regular season, is offered in the HD Premium Tier on HD channel 1629.“We are thrilled to continue offering the popular NFL Network and NFL RedZone channels to U-verse TV customers, just ahead of football season,” said Jeff Weber, president of content and advertising sales, AT&T Converged Services. “This agreement is an example of how we continue to deliver exciting, quality content to customers.”

MLB Productions and NBC Sports to Produce New Baseball Show-  Major League Baseball Productions is workjing with NBC Sports to produce a new weekly baseball television series entitled Caught Looking. The program, which will debut on the NBC Sports Network Wednesday, August 15, at 9:00 p.m. ET, with a new episode scheduled to air each subsequent week on Thursdays through October 4, will give baseball fans an exclusive look inside a specific weekend series, as cameras follow players, managers and front office personnel from both teams.  On November 8, NBC Sports Network will air a special postseason episode of Caught Looking which will feature the two teams playing in the 2012 World Series.

NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series Races on ESPN-  ESPN will have coverage of this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races from Watkins Glen, New York.  ESPN will have a live telecast of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race, with NASCAR Countdown at noon and the green flag at 1:18 p.m ET.  Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event will air on ABC at 2 p.m.   Allen Bestwick (Sprint Cup) and Marty Reid (Nationwide) will call the action with analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree .

Fox Sees Viewership Increases for UFC-  Fox Sports reports that viewership for the UFC this past Saturday garnered a rating of 1.4 and an audience of 2.44 million viewers.  The audience was slightly higher than Fox’s last UFC telecast in May.  The network scored a 19% increase over the May telecast in viewership in the key male demographic of 18-34. College Network Adds University of Virginia-  The College Network has announce that it will be producing and managing the official athletics site for the University of Virginia,  The College Network manages the atletic sites of some 150 institutions.

Golf Channel to Commemorate Golf’s Original ‘Big 3’-  The Golf Channel will be airing a documentary based on the impact Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, and Ben Hogan had on the world of golf.  American Triumvirate will air on Monday, August 13th at 9:00p.m. ET, what would have been Hogan’s 100th birthday.  The three golfers were born three months apart in 1912 and the film will look at the careers and lives of each man and who they were beyond the record books.  The film will be narrated by actor Kurt Rusell.

More Cable Providers to Carry Pac-12 Network-  The Pac-12 Network has announced that it has reached a long term agreements with Astound and Wave Broadband to carry the network to cable subscribers in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.  Astound and Wave collectively serves over 325,000 subscribers.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.