NFL Films

NFL Films, HBO Extend Deal to Produce Hard Knocks

HBO Sports and NFL Films announced today that iot has reached a long-term extension to continue to produce the NFL training camp Hard Knocks series.

Here is the release from the two entities:

NEW YORK, July 18, 2013 — HBO Sports and NFL FILMS announced today that they have reached agreement on a long-term extension of the HARD KNOCKS franchise.  The first-ever sports reality series is set to return to HBO next month with an all-new, five-episode edition featuring the Cincinnati Bengals franchise.  The series premieres Tuesday, Aug. 6 at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT).

When HARD KNOCKS debuted in the summer of 2001, it was television’s first sports reality series.  In the ensuing decade, the series became the most-acclaimed sports reality franchise on television, earning national recognition for its innovative production techniques, unscripted drama and unmatched storytelling.  The series redefined the terms “all-access” and “fastest turnaround time,” as the HBO Sports/NFL FILMS presentation captured the imagination of both the hardcore NFL fan and the casual sports and entertainment viewer.

Seven editions of the eight-time Emmy®-Award-winning series have been presented and interest in the franchise continues to grow.

“We are thrilled to have HBO continue as the home of Hard Knocks, the preeminent sports reality series,” said Ken Hershman, President of HBO Sports.  “The partnership between HBO and NFL FILMS continually produces unrivaled and groundbreaking television programming.”

“We are excited to continue teaming with HBO on HARD KNOCKS to bring our fans closer to the game in unrivaled ways,” said Howard Katz, COO of NFL Films and NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting. “Since its debut 12 seasons ago, NFL FILMS has developed HARD KNOCKS into an integral part of the NFL preseason and we look forward to kicking off the next iteration of this acclaimed program with the Cincinnati Bengals in August.

The most recent edition, last summer’s “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins” received the Sports Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Post-Produced Audio/Sound.  The HARD KNOCKS franchise has won eight Sports Emmy® Awards since its debut.

Sports Media Digest- January 30, 2013

Favre to Join NFL Network Crew Super Bowl Sunday–  Former quarterback Brett Favre will join the crew of NFL GameDay Morning this Sunday from New Orleans as the network previews Super Bowl XLVII. Favre will join host Rich Eisen , Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and Brian Billick beginning at 9:00a.m. ET

Costas Tonight Looks at State of NFL–  Bob Costas will hold a special edition of Costas Tonight and will explore the State of the NFL.  Costas Tonight: State of the NFL will examine major topics including: player health and safety; the Rooney Rule; and a preview of Super Bowl XLVII.  The program debuts tomorrow at 9:00p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

Jimmy V Week Raises $1.6 Million–  ESPN reported today that nearly $1.6 million was raised during the network’s Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research.  In six years, Jimmy V Week has generated $6,761,437 in total contributions for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Turner Sports to Use Bleacher Report Programming on CNN  Beginning This Weekend–  Turner Sports, which acquired The Bleacher Report last year, will integrate content from the website onto CNN and Headline News (HLN).  Kickoff in New Orleans: A CNN-Bleacher Report Special, a live one-hour show on CNN will air this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET The show will be co-hosted by Ernie Johnson and the newly-hired Rachel NIchols.  Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 5, CNN will air Bleacher Report sports updates daily as cut-in segments throughout morning broadcasts on CNN, as well as throughout the day on HLN.

New Jersey Senators Sponsor resolution Honoring Steve Sabol-  New Jersey State Senators Diane Allen and Dawn Marie Addiego  announced that they are introducing on Monday a resolution honoring NFL Films pioneer Steve Sabol.  “Steve Sabol inspired the finest cinematic reflection of any sport and left nothing on the field,” Allen said. “His innovative filmmaking documented the intellect, emotion and humanity in America’s most aggressive and popular sport.”

Univision Deportes and ESPN to Expand Reach of Mexican Soccer to the U.S.– ESPN and Univision Deportes have reached an agreement to increase the reach of the Mexican National Soccer Team (nicknamed “El Tri”) in the U.S. Univision Deportes and ESPN have secured the U.S. media rights to all of Mexico’s home matches (20 matches), both qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and international friendlies, in Spanish and English respectively.  The first match will air on ESPN tonight at 9:30p.m. ET.

UFC Gets Solid Audience For Fox–  This past Saturday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) telecast on Fox generated a rating of 2.4 with an average audience of 4.2 million viewers, out-rating the combined averages of ABC, CBS, and NBC among Men 18-34, Men 18-49, Adults 18-34 and Adults 18-49.  The next UFC event on Fox will take place April 20th at 8:00p.m. ET.

James Blake Joins Tennis Channel’s Coverage of the Davis Cup–  American tennis star James Blake will serve as a guest analyst as the Tennis Channel provides coverage of the Davis Cup this weekend.  Blake will work with play-by-play announcer Brett Haber as the U.S. team takes son Brazil beginning Friday at 2:00p.m. ET.

PBA League Coneinues This Weekend on ESPN–  The Pro Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour will continue its PBA League of competitions this weekend.  The Lucky Strike LA LIVE in Los Angeles – features a doubles-style competition format and a best-ball competition will air Sunday at 4:00p.m.  Lon McEachern and Randy Pedersen will call the action.

Sports Media Digest- January 29, 2013

Super Bowl Preview on Next NFL Turning Point–  This week’s NFL Turning Point on the NBC Sports Network will look ahead to this week’s Super Bowl XLVII between the Ravens and 49ers.  Dan Patrick will host the show which will look back at the turning points in the championship seasons for both teams.  NFL Turning Point airs tomorrow night at 10:30p.m. ET.

Road to the Super Bowl Debuts Sunday on CBS–  NFL Films has announced that its long-running Road to the Super Bowl program will air this Sunday at 11:00a.m. ET on CBS.  In its 43rd year Road to the Super Bowl will look back at the 2012 NFL season leading to Sunday’s big game between the Ravens and 49ers.

NBA All-Star Captains to be Announced Thursday on TNT–  TNT will have the announcement Thursday of the captains for the East and West NBA All-Stars prior to its double header.  Coverage begins at 8:00p.m. ET with the Grizzlies at the Thunder with Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Mike Fratello and Craig Sager on the call..  The nightcap at 10:30p.m. ET will feature the Mavericks at Warriors with Kevin Harlan, Chris Webber and David Aldredge.

Gold Channel/NBA Has PGA Tour from Scottsdale–  The Golf Channel and NBC Sports will unveil a new feature as it combines on coverage of the Waste Management Open from the TPC in Scottsdale.  The Golf Channel is introducing its “Spotlight” coverage, which will focus on three holes at the course, including the famous par-3 16th.  Golf Channel coverage of the first two rounds of the tournament will take place Thursday and Friday at 4:00p.m. ET.  Golf Channel will provide lead-in coverage Saturday and Sunday at 1:00p.m. ET with NBC taking over at 3:00p.m. ET.

Golf Channel Launches Instructional Video App–  The Golf Channel has announced that it has launched a new mobile app for iPhones which will feature the network’s library of instructional expertise.  Golf Channel Academy will provide people access to learn to play golf or improve their existing game. The app will launch next month.

BlackBerry 10 Gets ESPN ScoreCenter App–  ESPN announced today that it has developed its ScoreCenter app to run on the upcoming BlackBerry 10 mobile software.  The app is available now through the BlackBerry World Storefront.

SI Cover This Week–  Here is the cover to this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated:

SI Cover 2-4-13

Sports Media Digest- November 5, 2012

First NFL Flex Scheduling Moves Colts/Pats, Leaves SNF in Place–  The first week of the NFL’s flex scheduling has been announced for week 11.  The only change in the original schedule is a change in time of the Colts/Patriots game on CBS from 1:00p.m. to 4:25p.m. ET.  NBC will retain its originally scheduled Sunday night game between the Ravens and Steelers.

CBS Announces SEC Match-Ups for Next Two Weeks-  CBS Sports has announced its slate of SEC football games for the next two weeks.  CBS will have a double header this Saturday beginning at Noon ET as Arkansas takes on South Carolina.  Tim Brando, Steve Beuerlein and Marty Snider will be on the call.  At 3;30p.m. ET Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, and Tracy Wolfson will call Texas A&M at Alabama.  Saturday, November 17th CBS will televise LSU at Ole Miss at 3:30p.m. ET with Lundquist, Danielson, and Wolfson on the mic.

NFL Films, Travel Channel Collaborate on Behind-the-Scenes Look at Browns Road Trips–  The Travel Channel and NFL Films are collaborating on a new series looking at the behind-the-scenes preparations of the Cleveland Browns on its road trips during the 2012 season.  The series will look back at the Browns on the road for games against the New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.  NFL Road Tested: The Cleveland Browns debuts December 4th at 10:00p.m. ET on the Travel Channel.

NBC Sports Network to Simulcast The Dan Patrick Radio Show–  Even though Dan Patrick announced the news last week, NBC Sports officially announced that the Dan Patrick Radio Show will now be simulcast on the NBC Sports Network.  The program began airing today and will do so weekdays from 9:00a.m. to Noon ET.

MLB Network To Provide Exclusive Coverage of BBWAA Awards-  The MLB Network (MLBN) has announced that it will have live exclusive coverage of the unveiling of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) post season awards. The winners of the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Manager of the Year and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year awards exclusively on MLB Network from Monday, November 12 to Thursday, November 15.  Greg Amsinger will host with analysts Larry Bowa, Al Leiter, Dan Plesac, Harold Reynolds, Bill Ripken and Tom Verducci.  MLBN will also have the announcement of the five finalists for each award at the BBWAA Awards Finalists Show this Wednesday, November 7 at 6:00 p.m. ET.

New ESPN Radio Program Debuted Today–  ESPN Radio debuted a new program today, Coach & Company, featuring ESPN studio anchor Jonathan Coachman.  The 4:00p.m. to 7:00p.m. ET program replaces one held by Doug Gottlieb, who left for CBS Sports Radio earlier this fall.

Stan Van Gundy Joins NBC Sports Radio as Analyst– Dial Global and NBC Sports have announced it has signed former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy to serve as a NBA analyst for the NBC Sports Radio Network. Van Gundy will call into network shows each week during the NBA season. He will talk exclusively to NBC Sports Radio affiliates and co-host for an hour every Friday during the NBA season.

Steve Sabol, 1942-2012

The sports media world is reacting with sadness to the news of the passing of NFL Films President Steve Sabol.  The 69 year-old Sabol passed away today following a long battle with brain cancer.

Sabol rode along with his father Ed in creating NFL Films in the early 1960’s.  Together the pair devised many of the innovations we see in coverage of sports today…including the implementation of super slow motion footage and the use of extreme close-ups.

Like many, being a child of the ’70’s my football education came through the lens of the NFL Films’ cameras.  Sabol was always someone I wanted to interview for SMJ.  There was a time earlier this year when Ken Fang of Fangs Bites was close to booking Sabol for our Sports Media Weekly program.  Even though Sabol may not have been actively involved in the operation of NFL Films over the last few months, his void will be difficult to fill.

Here are some of the reactions to Sabol’s death from the league and the sports media world:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: “Steve Sabol was the creative genius behind the remarkable work of NFL Films. Steve’s passion for football was matched by his incredible talent and energy. Steve’s legacy will be part of the NFL forever. He was a major contributor to the success of the NFL, a man who changed the way we look at football and sports, and a great friend.”

ESPN President John Skipper: “Steve was a legend in this business – a dynamic, innovative leader who made NFL Films the creative force it is today. The work he and his dedicated and talented team create every day is one of the many reasons why so many more fans love the game of football today. On behalf of everyone at ESPN, I offer our deepest condolences to his wife, Penny, and the rest of the Sabol family.”

ESPN Sunday NFL Countdown host Chris Berman : “I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Steve Sabol. Every time I saw him, he brought a quick smile to my face. He was happy everyday on the job for a simple reason – Steve was a man who loved pro football and loved making movies about it. He and NFL Films have long been unparalleled in their craft and for that reason millions of us will forever owe Steve a huge thank you.”

ESPN NFL analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski: “Steve had amazing passion for the game of football and everything he did at NFL Films reflected positively on the coaches, players and administrators of the National Football League. For the last 22 years, Steve has been a great inspiration to me and was instrumental in my development as an NFL analyst. I will never forget how positively he impacted every person he came in contact with, not just in the football world. You would be hard pressed to find a single person that would have a negative word about Steve.”

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter: “The NFL lost one of its most influential figures and the world lost a great man.”

FOX Sports Chairman, and current News Corp. Senior Executive Vice President, David Hill: “It is with tremendous sadness that we learned of the legendary Steve Sabol’s passing.  He was a terrific man and a skilled and talented artist.  Steve and his father Ed built NFL Films from nothing and were pioneers in sports television and filmmaking, and after taking the reins from his father, Steve put his own stamp on NFL Films, and its ability to capture football’s nuance and subtlety.  When we started FOX Sports, no one was more helpful than Steve, and in a short time he became a great, great friend.  He was always there to listen to one of my idiotic ideas. Nothing was ever too much trouble for Steve, and no one, absolutely no one could rock a pink shirt while talking about the NFL as well as he could.  He was greatly respected and will be missed by everyone at FOX and the entire NFL community.”

NFL Network Analyst Michael Lombardi-  “When you walk around the NFL Films library, I call it a working museum because each picture on the wall has a Steve Sabol symbolic memory to it. He put each picture there and everyday you’re reminded of his genius, his talent, his unbelievable passion for football. I would love passing him in the halls and we would stop and have a five minute conversation about the history of the league, comparing an old player to a new player. He was just an amazing mind in terms of football and a creative genius. Every day when I walk into that office, I take a picture and try to post it on Twitter because they’re unique; they’re situated in a setting that he wanted them to be situated in. It’s a huge loss for all of us in the NFL family because he was truly part of the creative process that made this league so great.”

NFL Network Analyst Sterling Sharpe- “We’re talking about a guy who loved football more than the players. He couldn’t wait to sit down and talk to all of us who were in the building about what was going on in the NFL and what it was like in the early days when his dad started NFL Films. It definitely is a sad day. I enjoyed going into his office and visiting with him, I enjoyed him coming out on the set when we were getting started to doPlaybook. We use the term and phrase ‘they will be missed’ an awful lot. It’s going to be really hard to replace Steve Sabol. He truly will be missed. I know all of us who worked in that building week in and week out during the season, and those people who knew him way before I did, he is truly, truly going to be missed.”

NFL Network Analyst Steve Mariucci- “I think I could speak for a lot of coaches, and we all sort of went through the same thing with Steve. It took some time – a short period of time – before you could really understand what Steve was all about. I’ll never forget the first time that I got asked by Steve to be wired as the head coach of the 49ers. I was very reluctant to do that; I had never been wired before. I said, ‘OK I’ll do it but I don’t want the team to know that I’m wired, let’s keep this secret.’ He said we have you covered. I was wired up before the game in a private room, the cameras were never close to me; they were on the other side of the field. He said to me just be yourself; don’t even think about us, coach the game and then we’ll take the wires off when it’s all over with. You know how emotions fly during the game and I probably did some things or said some things that I didn’t want aired. I remember calling him the next day and said you have to do me a favor, I think I might have cursed or something like that on the sideline; can you not air that please? He said, ‘Coach, remember we are not here to make you look bad, you’re going to have to trust us; we’re here to promote your team, to promote the National Football League and you can trust that we will always, always be on your side and make you look as good as possible. We’ll have some fun with this.’…He became like a brother that way; you trusted him so much. Every coach trusts him and NFL Films and that’s a general statement around the league. Players and coaches trusted that they would always do the right thing and make you look good.”

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones- “I want to very much to give my thoughts, my condolences to his father and his family. I really believe Steve was put on this earth to do this job, and be a part of what he contributed to the NFL. I honestly don’t know of anyone who loved, understood or appreciated the NFL more than Steve did. He was one the greatest storytellers of our time – not just in sports but in any part of the American society. I have often said that they only throw ticker tape parades for war heroes, astronauts and people that win games or championships – sports figures – because they are larger than life. Someone has to take these accomplishments, these people and make them larger than life. Someone had to take a moment and turn it into a [legendary moment] and that is what Steve Sabol did for the NFL better then everyone. He could take four seconds of film and create a story that is remembered for a lifetime. He knew how to amplify the moment and make it bigger than it really was. He was a precious asset, his life and work to football and the NFL because it does become bigger than life in presentation. It may not really be that way, but that is the presentation of it. He could combine words, technology, music, snow, elements, human emotion, competition, and say something that left an imprint on people. The other thing he did, he liked to take fans [and] people where they normally couldn’t go: behind the scenes, in the locker room, in the huddle and in our case, he liked to come into a draft room and show some things that go on in a draft room and make it in a way that created more interest in the game. He created those memories for generations of fans. On a personal basis, he inspired me. Just the things I am talking about here, he inspired me to put the biggest digital board right down the middle of the field because we wanted to, in a way, share the theater of stage with our fans. We wanted [fans] to come inside the huddle, instead of a face that is a foot high, we can put it right in the middle of the field as it is going on and put it 70 feet high. That style was Steve’s style and influence. He will be missed but he will always be remembered because of his great contributions to what we do every day and that is show the great nuances of our game.”

Bob Costas- “I am sure many people have noted this already but in addition to all his accomplishments and his dad’s accomplishments with NFL Films, those of us who know him really just feel a personal loss because he was such a good guy. Everybody loved this guy; they loved being in his company. He was a tremendous story teller. He had a vibrancy about him. He had a real enjoyment of the life he lived, being around his friends and the work he did and that enthusiasm never waned. I think we will miss him as a person. What he and his dad built stands for itself. I think he would be the first guy to tell you because he was modest, it wasn’t exactly art, but it was high craft. They developed this in such a way that football fans look forward to every week. It didn’t just document the league, but it mythologized the league, it glorified the league. It was a huge part – especially in the 1960s and 1970s – a huge part of the emergence of the NFL as the most popular sport in America.”

Photo courtesy NFL.com

 

Sports Media Digest- August 20, 2012

America’s Game Featuring Giants Debuts September 4th–  The NFL Network and NFL Films has announced that the latest edition of the America’s Game series looking back at the 2011 New York Giants run to the Super Bowl will debut Tuesday September 4th at 10:00p.m. ET.  The hour-long program will feature exclusive video and sound of the Giants during team meetings, games and inside the locker room, including footage from coach Tom Coughlin’s speech to the team the night before Super Bowl XLVI.

Final Pre-Season Game on ESPN this Thursday-  ESPN wraps-up its coverage of NFL pre-season football this Thursday night with the Tennessee Titans hosting the Arizona Cardinals.  Chris Berman, Trent Dilfer, and Rachel Nichols have the call beginning at 8:00p.m. ET.

CBS Creates All-Access to Arkansas Football for TV and Web- CBS Sports has announced plans for multimedia coverage of an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the 2012 Arkansas Razorbacks.  College Football Confidential: Arkansas will consist of a seven-part television series on the CBS Sports Network as well as complimentary material on CBSSports.com.  CBS Sports Network will embed with the Razorbacks to provide fans an inside look at practices, road trips and team meetings as Arkansas looks to move on from a tough off-season. The online material debuts today with the television series to kick-off August 29th at 7:00p.m. ET.

NASCAR From Bristol This Weekend on ABC-  ESPN will be sending this Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Bristol to air on ABC.  NASCAR Countdown airs at 7 p.m.  with Allen Bestwick and analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.  ESPN will air the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday night with NASCAR Countdown at 7 p.m. Marty Reid will join Jarrett and Petree for the Nationwide Series race.

NASCAR to Air on Fox Deportes-  Fox Sports has announced that it has worked out a deal with NASCAR to telecast 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup series races on the Spanish Language Fox Deportes.  Among the races on Fox Deportes will be the Daytona 500.  Daytona and five other races will be carried live.  Fox Deportes will also produce and air a series of original NASCAR programs focused on engaging the Latino fan base.

WNBA on ESPN-  ESPN will be producing a pair of WNBA Games this week.  Tomorrow night at 10:00p.m. ET on ESPN2 the Minnesota Lynx will take on the Seattle Storm.  Saturday night at 7:00p.m. ESPN2 will telecast the Lynx at the Atlanta Dream.

Major League Lacrosse Championships on ESPN-  This weekend ESPN2 will have live coverage of the Major League Lacrosse League Semifinals and Championship.  Semifinal action from Boston begins Saturday at 1:00p.m. ET with the championship match Sunday at 3:00p.m. ET.

Miami Dolphins to be the Spotlight of the 2012 Edition of Hard Knocks

HBO Sports has announced that the Miami Dolphins will serve as the team for the network’s 2012 production of Hard Knocks.  The seven episode Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins will begin debut Tuesday, August 7th at 10:00p.m. ET.

“We are delighted that HARD KNOCKS will be returning this summer and placing the spotlight on the Miami Dolphins, a venerable franchise that had an exciting off-season activity,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports in a press release. “This marks the first time that the series has featured a first-year head coach (Joe Philbin) and we are extremely grateful to both Coach Philbin and the entire organization for agreeing to participate. As always, there will be plenty on the line for veterans, free agents and rookies.”

“On the 40th anniversary of the greatest season in NFL history–Don Shula’s perfect ’72 Dolphins– it is perfectly fitting that Hard Knocks is heading to Miami to capture the start of a new era for one of the league’s proudest teams,” says NFL Films president Steve Sabol. “After Hard Knocks’ hiatus last summer, I know our team at NFL Films can’t wait to get back on the field.”

“We are excited that the premier company in sports filmmaking history, NFL FILMS, and HBO Sports have chosen the Miami Dolphins to appear on their award-winning series Hard Knocks,” said Joe Philbin, head coach of the Miami Dolphins.   “We are looking forward to connecting with our many fans across the country as the program chronicles our 2012 training camp.  The series will highlight the outstanding men who comprise our team and represent our organization admirably, both on and off the field, as they compete for a coveted position on our roster.”

The Hard Knocks series originated in 2001 with the Baltimore Ravens.  It returned in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs and continued in 2008 with the Dallas Cowboys, 2009 with the Cincinnati Bengals, and 2010 with the New York Jets.  Hard Knocks was not produced last season as the end of the lockout prevented HBO from organizing filming of the series.