Sports Media Digest- March 28, 2013

ESPN Extends Deal with the WNBA– ESPN and the WNBA have extended their deal which will allow ESPN to televise WNBA action through 2022. Up to 30 games will be aired yearly on ESPN networks, including exclusive coverage of the WNBA Conference Finals, WNBA Finals, WNBA Draft and WNBA All-Star Game.  The new agreement, which will lengthen ESPN’s relationship with the WNBA to 26 years, dating back to the WNBA’s inaugural season in 1997, allows for games to be presented on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and WatchESPN.

Despite End of Streak NBA TV and ESPN to Air Heat Games–  Even though the winning streak of the Miami Heat was halted yesterday NBA TV and ESPN will go ahead with plans to televise more Heat games.  Friday night at 8:00p.m. ET NBA TV will cover the Heat at the New Orleans Hornets.  Sunday at 7:00p.m. ET the Heat will take on the Spurs in San Antonio aslo onNBA TV.  ESPN will carry two additional Heat games next week, next Friday, April 5th (8:00p.m. ET) against the Bobcats and April 6th (7:30p.m. ET) vs. the 76ers.

Wright Joins CBS NCAA Crew–  As teams get eliminated from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, their coaches often land a part-time gig as an analyst for a portion of the tournament.  Villanova head coach Jay Wright will be a studio analyst tonight and tomorrow on CBS and Turner’s coverage of the tournament.  Wright will join host Ernie Johnson and analysts Seth Davis and Steve Smith for coverage of the Regional Semifinals on Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, from Turner Studios in Atlanta.

U.S./Mexico World Cup Qualifier Highest Rated on ESPN-  ESPN reported yesterday that Tuesday’s World Cup qualifyer between the U.S. and Mexico earned a rating of 1.4 and an audience of 2.38 million viewers, making it the most-watched and highest-rated FIFA World Cup qualifying match (or international friendly) telecast on an ESPN network.  The rating was double the quailfier between the same two clubs in 2009.

NBC’s Road to the Kentucky Derby has Florida and Louisiana Derbys–  NBC Sports Network’s coverage of some of the prep races leading to the Kentucky Derby begins this weekend with the Florida and Louisiana Derbys.  Coverage begins at 6:00p.m. ET with Laffit Pincay, III hosting the Florida Derby from Gulfstream Park. He will be joined by analyst Randy Moss; reporter Christina Blacker of HRTV; and NBC’s race-callerLarry Collmus. Katie Mikolay, in-house reporter for Fair Grounds Race Course, will report on the Louisiana Derby.

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