NBC Sports Group

Sports Media Digest- March 20, 2012

NFL Network has Coverage of Griffin III, Luck Pro Days-  The NFL Network will be providing comprehensive coverage of the pro days of future NFL quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck.  Special editions of Path to the Draft  will be preduced Wednesday at 1:00p.m. ET for the workouts at Baylor University and Thursday at 3:00p.m. ET for Stanford University’s pro day.  Fran Charles will host the special coverage with analysis in studio and on site by Mike Mayock, Paul Burmesiter and Charley Casserly.

Episode Four of The Association: Denver Nuggets Premieres Tomorrow- The next episode of NBA TV’s The Association: Denver Nuggets will air tomorrow night at 6:30p.m. The episode will focus on the behind-the-scenes moves of the Nuggets through last week’s trade deadline.

Lampley to Host New HBO Boxing Show-  HBO Sports announced today that it will be launching a new boxing show hosted by Lim Lampley.  The Fight Game With Jim Lampley will delve into the storylines, newsmakers and issues that are making headlines in boxing. Lampley has been covering boxing for the network since 1988.  The debut of The Fight Game With Jim Lampley takes place May 12th at 12:00a.m. ET.

NBC Sports to Begin Its Road to the Kentucky Derby The NBC Sports Group, in conjunction with the Jockey Club, CNBC, and six racetracks will begin production of the Road to the Kentucky Derby.  The series will feature six prep races heading toward the Kentucky Derby.  Coverage begins with the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes this Saturday 5:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Laffit Pincay III will host NBC Sports Network’s coverage with analysts Gary Stevens and Randy Moss; and reporters Donna Brothers, Jay Privman and Millie Ball.

Sports Media Digest- March 15, 2012

Record Number Fill Out Btackets at ESPN.com- Nearly 6.45 million brackets were filled out as part of ESPN’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Challenge.  That’s a 8.9% increase over last year’s record of 5.9 million brackets. Those who took part selected Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio State and North Carolina more than any others to reach the Final Four. Of those 35% picked Kentucky to win it all.

NBC Sports to Present Seven Notre Dame Football Telecasts in 2012-  When the college football season begins this fall, seven Notre Dame home games will be telecast on NBC.  NBC Sports Netowrk will also provide coverage of the Blue-Gold Spring Game on April 21st.  Here is the schedule of Notre Dame football on NBC (all times ET): Apr. 21 Blue-Gold Spring Game 1:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network, Sept. 8 PURDUE 3:30 p.m. NBC, Sept. 22 MICHIGAN 7:30 p.m. NBC, Oct. 6 MIAMI (Soldier Field) 7:30 p.m. NBC, Oct. 13 STANFORD 3:30 p.m. NBC, Oct. 20 BYU 3:30 p.m. NBC, Nov. 3 PITTSBURGH 3:30 p.m. NBC, Nov. 17 WAKE FOREST 3:30 p.m. NBC.

Friday NBA Double Header on ESPN-  ESPN will again provide a NBA double header this Friday.  The opener tips-off at at 7:oop.m. ET with Mike Tirico, Doris Burke and Lisa Salters calling the Miami Heat at the Philadelphia 76’ers. The San Antonio Spurs will travel to the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9:30p.m. ET with Dan Shulman and Chris Mullin on the call.

Fantasy Baseball Preview Tonight on ESPN-  As part of it’s new season of fantasy baseball at ESPN.com, ESPN will telecast the Baseball Toningt Fantasy Draft Show.  The program airs tonight at 9:30p.m. on ESPN. Steve Berthiaume will host, and will be joined by ESPN.com senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry, MLB Insiders Buster Olney, Keith Law and Eric Karabell, baseball analyst Chris Singleton, and injury expert Stephania Bell.

Fox Preps for Next NASCAR Sprint Cup Event-  Fox will be televising this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race from the Bristol Motor Speedway.  The Ford City 500 begins at 12:30p.m. ET.  Chris Myers will anhcor the pre-race show along with Darrell and Michael Waltrip.  Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry McReynolds will call the race.

Formula One Racing on SiriusXM Radio-  SiriusXM Radio will be the satellite radio home of every 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship race.  Coverage on Sirius channel 94 and XM channel 208 begins this weekend with the Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix, which will air Sunday, March 18 at 2:00 am ET.

Sports Media Digest- March 5, 2012

Honda Classic A Big Draw for NBC-  This weekend’s PGA Tour stop, the Honda Classic, scored big ratings for NBC. The final round on Sunday earned NBC a rating of 3.2, the highest for the tournament in ten years.  The rating was 78% over last year’s rating of 1.8.  The third round gave NBC a 1.9 rating, 27% over 2011.

Strong Ratings for UNC/Duke on ESPN-  Saturday night’s ACC match-up between North Carolina and Duke registered a 3.1 rating for ESPN, the highest rating for a men’s college basketball game on the network in four years.  As to be expected the four markets in North Carolina (Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte & Greenville) registered the higest local ratings in the county.

Whitaker to Recieve Lifetime Achievement Emmy-  The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced today that legendary sports commentator Jack Whitaker will receive its Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s 33rd annual Sports Emmy® Awards ceremony. Jack spent much of his career with CBS Sports and ABC Sports, and covered many of the historic sports events from the 1960’s into the 1990’s.  Whitaker, who is 87, will accept the award at the event on April 30th.

Martino Tabbed as Lead MLS Analyst for NBC Sports Group-  Former Major League Soccer (MLS) nidfielder and U.S. Men’s National Team member Kyle Martino has been hired by NBC Sports to serve as its lead analyst during its coverage of the MLS.  Martino will join NBC MLS play-by-play voice Arlo White on Sunday, March 11, at 3:00 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network as FC Dallas hosts the New York Red Bulls in the MLS season opener.

Geoff Russell Named Excutive Editor at the Golf Channel-  Golf Channel President Mike McCarley announced today that Geoff Russell has been hired to serve as Senior Vice President and Executive Editor, Golf Channel. Russell, who spent 26 years as editor at the Golf Digest Publications, will work collaboratively across all on-air and online production and programming groups to shape the editorial direction of Golf Channel.

ESPN Opens Developer Center for App Creation-  ESPN annonced today that it has launched its ESPN Development Center that offers software engineers and developers the opportunity to join the company’s API (application programming interface) Program, which provides access to ESPN content and data for the purpose of creating new web and mobile apps for sports fans.  ESPN will showcase its APIs and other digital media technology projects later this week at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.

Colonial Athletic Association and NBC Sports Reach Football and Basketball Rights Deal

NBC Sports Group and the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) have come to terms on a five year deal to have the league’s football and basketball games telecast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).

The deal takes effect this fall and calls for the CAA men’s basketball and football games be telecast on the NBC Sports Network, regional television coverage of CAA men’s and women’s basketball and football through the Comcast SportsNet regional networks and coverage of a variety of other CAA sports through NBCSports.com.

NBCSN will air at least 12 men’s college basketball games a season, including the semi-finals and finals of the conference championship.  NBCSN will also air a minimum of five CAA football match-ups each season.  Regionally the CAA will have upwards of 39 men’s and women’s basketball games and 13 football games telecast annually on Comcast Sports Net.

“We are thrilled to be associated with the NBC Sports Group,” CAA Commissioner Tom Yeager said in a press release. “The NBC Sports Network now provides a national platform to elevate the conference in conjunction with the relationship we’ve had with the Comcast SportsNets, which have been the foundation of our television package for almost three decades.”

“We are very excited to begin our new relationship with the Colonial Athletic Association and extend our college sports offerings,” said Michael Sheehey, Senior Vice President, Sports Content and College Sports, NBC Sports Group. “Given our unique four-tier portfolio of assets, we are able to deliver high-quality production of the conference’s football, basketball and other sports to viewers nationally, regionally and online unlike anyone else.”

NBC Names Arlo White Lead MLS/U.S. National Team Announcer

The NBC Sports Group today announced that Arlo White, former play-by-play voice for the Seattle Sounders, has been hired by the network to be its voice for the MLS and Team USA soccer matches on NBC and NBC Sports Network.

The network is scheduled to telecast 50 MLS games per season beginning in 2012 as well as four U.S. National Team matches a year.

“Arlo is one of the top voices calling soccer today in the U.S., and we are very excited to have him be the lead play-by-play announcer to launch our new agreement with Major League Soccer,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network in a press release. “I also want to sincerely thank the Seattle Sounders FC ownership for making Arlo available, so he can be the MLS voice for the NBC Sports Group to a national audience.”

“It is a tremendous honor for me to join the NBC Sports Group, an organization that I have revered from afar for many years,” said White. “I am extremely passionate about the future of Major League Soccer, and this partnership with NBC will provide a huge boost for the sport in the United States. I am very proud to have been called up to play a major role in it.”

Photo courtesy MLS Rumors

NBC Sports Group to Move Northeast Operations to Connecticut

NBC Sports Group and the State of Connecticut have announced that the network will move much of its operations to a facility in Stamford, CT.  The project will start in September of 2012 with the potential of adding 450 jobs.

The site will house space for NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Digital, VERSUS , and the Comcast Sports Management Group, which oversees the NBC Sports Group’s 14 regional networks. State-of-the-art studios will also be constructed for numerous studio productions.

“This is a terrific project for the city and state, and one that I am proud to support as the fourth ‘First Five.’ The companies that are participating in this economic development program are job producers, and NBCUniversal has been doing that since it first arrived in Connecticut,” said Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy in a press release. “Stamford has been home to NBCUniversal television production since 2008 when it retrofitted the Rich Forum Theatre in downtown to create the Stamford Media Center. As Mayor of Stamford at the time, I was supportive of the city and state assistance for the project because I understood its potential. I am strongly supportive of this expansion in Stamford because we continue to see the positive impact in the local economy and on the workforce.”

“This new campus is about bringing people together to maximize production, creativity and efficient teamwork. We are creating one 32-acre unique location that allows us to build numerous state-of-the-art studios, house more than 450 employees, and prepare for anticipated future growth,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. “However, this initiative would not have been possible without the financial support of Governor Malloy’s ‘First Five’ program and the local support provided by Mayor Pavia, who we look forward to working with for many years to come.”

NHL Officially Announces Winter Classic, HBO to Produce Another 24/7 Road Series

The NHL announced today that the 2012 Winter Classic will be held January 2, 2012 from Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia as the Flyers play host to the New York Rangers.  The event will be carried live at 1:00p.m. ET on NBC in the US and on CBC and RDS in Canada.

“NBC Sports is proud to have partnered with the NHL to grow the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic into a New Year’s tradition and one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year,” said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group in a press release. “In addition to the intense rivalry between the Rangers and Flyers that will be played outdoors in one the nation’s most rabid sports cities, this year’s game has special meaning to us since the stature of this event makes it the perfect platform to launch the new NBC Sports Network that day.”

“CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada is excited to once again be the Canadian broadcast home of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic,” said Julie Bristow, Executive Director, Studio and Unscripted Programming, CBC Television. “This annual outdoor game has become a New Year’s tradition and a must-watch game for Canadian hockey fans, and we can’t wait to bring the nation this year’s Classic from Philadelphia.”

As an offshoot of the game, HBO will once again be producing its 24/7 Flyers/Rangers:  Road To The NHL Winter Classic series, which will take a behind-the-scenes look at the two clubs as they prepare for what is now a New Year’s hockey tradition.   The four episode reality series will premiere on HBO December 14th at 10:00p.m. ET.

Versus to Air Four NHL Pre-Season Games

The NBC Sports group today announced that Versus will be televising four NHL pre-season games over the next week.

The network will be re-transmitting the feeds from Comacast SportsNet Chicago and Cmocast SportsNet Philadelphia.  Versus will be providing intermission coverage in studio hosted by Liam McHugh along with NBC Sports Group NHL analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Pierre McGuire.

The first pre-season game will be tomorrow night.   Here is the schedule:

Wednesday, September 21 Toronto at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Monday, September 26 Rangers at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Wednesday, September 28 Detroit at Chicago 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, September 29 New Jersey at Philadelphia 7 p.m.

NBC Sports Group Unveils NHL Announcer Slate

The NBC Sports Group today took the wraps off its 2011-2012 NHL announcer field for both NBC and Versus.

Not much has changed over the 2012-2011 season with Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuire returning as the number one game announcing team.  The trio will call all lead games on NBC as well as the Wednesday night affairs on Versus.  Emrick will pair with McGuire on Versus’ Monday night package.

Dave Strader and Brian Engblom will call the action on Versus on Sundays and Tuesdays.

In terms of the NHL studio shows, Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones will handle pre- and post game shows on NHL Live on Versus.  McHugh and Milbury will be at the desk during intermissions of NBC telecasts.

Bill Patrick and Jeremy Roenick, joined by other network hockey analysts, will host Versus’ NHL Overtime highlights show.

“The key ingredient to the success of our broadcasts has been the people and we’re thrilled that the best in the business are returning,” said Sam Flood, executive producer for NBC Sports and VERSUS in a press release. “This talent schedule benefits hockey fans because it allows us to produce consistent broadcasts across all platforms, which is more important than ever as fans will see more national regular-season and playoff telecasts than ever before.”

The 2011 NHL season begins on Versus on Thursday, October 6th.

NBC Sports Group to Debut Daily Sports Studio Shows on Versus

The NBC Sports Group is expanding its sports news coverage to include a nightly studio show as well as a weekly studio program, both on Versus.

The nightly program will be entitled NBC SportsTalk and tap into the talent on the network’s NBCSports.com franchises of ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk, InsidetheIrish and ProGolfTalk.  The program will air weekdays at 6:00p.m ET and be hosted by Comcast SportsNet’s Russ Thaler.  Programs on Monday and Friday will be devoted to the NFL with ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio and Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

NBC SportsTalk will debut Thursday, September 8th, just prior to NBC’s NFL Kick-Off coverage of the New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers.

NBC SportsTalk is the type of nightly, relevant programming that viewers can expect to see as we continue the re-branding process from VERSUS to the NBC Sports Network,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and VERSUS in a press release. “The live nightly shows also give us the opportunity to tap into our stable of top talent across all of our platforms to provide a unique perspective for sports fans.”

NBC Sports Group will also produce a sports business program each Friday at 7:00p.m. called  CNBCSports Biz: Game On hosted by CNBC’s Darren Rovell.  This program will debut on September 9th