Former NHL Enforcers Discuss How Fighting Damaged Their Brains In 60 MINUTES SPORTS Feature This Wednesday On SHOWTIME

showtime-sportsFORMER NHL FIGHTING “ENFORCERS” TALK ABOUT THE UGLY SIDE OF HOCKEY

IN RARE INTERVIEWS – “60 MINUTES SPORTS” PREMIERES

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 AT 9 P.M. ONLY ON SHOWTIME®

Scott Parker & Dan LaCouture Recall Being Expected To Engage In Brutal Fights

They Say Damaged Their Brains And Drove Them To Join

A Concussion Lawsuit Against The NHL

NEW YORK (March 2, 2015) – They were the guys on the ice beating the heck out of an opposing player, or getting the heck beat out of them.  Now they say they are suffering for it.  Two of hockey’s former “enforcers” are speaking out about their violent roles in what was once a hallmark of the sport: fighting on the ice.  Scott Parker and Dan LaCouture tell Armen Keteyian the brawls they say they were expected to take part in have damaged their brains, and have blamed the NHL by joining a class action concussion lawsuit against the league.  Keteyian’s report on living – and some dead – former NHL enforcers is featured on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, Wednesday, March 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.

LaCouture, 37, says his body feels fine. “But not my head…I’m depressed…I don’t feel right.”   Parker, 37, failed a basic agility test that can assess brain damage.  “Some days I wake up and I’m 80…some days I just feel broken,” he says.

Players like the 6-foot-4, 245 pound Parker, who was called “The Sheriff,” were used by teams to intimidate.  He would retaliate if an opposing player roughed up his teammate – especially a star teammate – by starting a fight that often ended up bloody and always got him and the opposing player out of the game for extended penalty periods.  If that player he fought was the opposing team’s star player, all the better.  Parker says he had hundreds of fights; he suffered concussions.

Parker says he actually trained for his role. “I would wrap my hands with chains and I would callous up my hands…and I would hit trees.  I would just smoke trees,” he tells Keteyian.  The former Colorado Avalanche player also reveals a technique he used to win fights.  He says he would grab an opponent’s collar and drive a finger into his throat.  “I’m putting my finger down your esophagus…I can manipulate you and put you where I want.”

Fighting isn’t as big a part of the game as it once was.  The NHL is emphasizing skills over brawn these days as more players join the concussion lawsuit that now numbers dozens of plaintiffs.  Only a few years ago it was a huge part of the game, and you had to fight if that was your role, says the 6-foot-2 LaCouture.  “It’s looked upon me because of my size to do something about it,” he says referring to retaliation for a cheap shot, or a rough check against a teammate.

LaCouture played hockey in college well enough to make it to the pros. He wanted to score goals, not bash heads, he says.  Asked by Keteyian if he ever told coaches or executives he didn’t want to be the enforcer or the “goon,” he replies, “Yeah, [but they would say] ‘That’s your role…on the fourth line.  If you don’t like it there’s the door.’”

Keteyian also interviews Len Boogaard, whose son, Derek, was an NHL enforcer.  Derek died at age 28 of an accidental overdose of alcohol and the prescription drugs he became addicted to after suffering many injuries.  The father is suing the NHL for wrongful death and lists the vast amount of drugs prescribed to his son by NHL doctors in the suit.

The NHL declined requests to appear in the story or answer questions about the issues it raises.

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MLB VP SAYS LEAGUE WILL LAUNCH A COMPREHENSIVE,

FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND STUDY TO LEARN WHY SO MANY

GOOD YOUNG ARMS ARE GOING BAD – “60 MINUTES SPORTS” WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4 ONLY ON SHOWTIME®

A “Pitching Doctor” Says MLB is Behind the Times

NEW YORK (March 3, 2015) – Too many top-notch pitchers are having major surgery too soon in their careers and Major League Baseball wants to know why.  Senior VP for League Strategy Chris Marinak tells Jeff Glor that beginning this spring MLB will begin its first extended study to determine what’s happening.  Marinak will be part of a story about pitching that examines a body of science that doesn’t always agree with the conventional wisdom about throwing a baseball on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME.

Among those to miss whole seasons or significant periods due to Tommy John surgery are Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Ray and Ivan Nova of the Yankees.  All are at the beginning of their careers.  All have had the surgery.

What is MLB doing about this, asks Glor.  “We’re actually about to begin a study this spring that looks at many different factors on pitchers,” says Marinak.  “We’re going to gather MRIs, biomechanical information, medical histories.  We’re going to do a physical exam…range of motion studies on a group of pitchers.  And then we’re going to watch them for five years…who got hurt, who didn’t get hurt,” he says.

The league had been worrying about its valuable arms for some time when last year it decided to try to influence pitchers at the very young, amateur level to prevent those major league injuries.  “The final straw was when our rookie of the year, Jose Fernandez, went down last year…What we did was we brought together the foremost experts in the medical community,” says Marinak.  They told them to focus on youth.

MLB has already started a website called “Pitch Smart” for young pitchers and their parents to give them access to the correct information about when to rest, when to pitch and the many myths surrounding Tommy John surgery.

Glor speaks to former major league pitcher Tom House, a “pitching doctor” and the author of 19 books on the art of pitching.  House uses the latest technology, including 3-D imaging and special cameras, to detect things the eye cannot pick up in a thrower’s motion.  He thinks what MLB is doing is long overdue.   “I think eventually they’re going to realize that if they don’t start keeping the kids healthier at nine, 10, 11, 12 years old, it’s going to ultimately affect the bottom line with major league players,” he says  “I think baseball overall is 10 years behind the other sports – the technology involved in other sports is out there, they’re using it.  Baseball is just now starting to realize that it could help.”

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Rangers-Red Wings On Wednesday Night Rivalry, Red Wings-Bruins On NBC’S Game Of The Week Highlight NBC Sports Group’s NHL Coverage This Week

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Rick Nash and Rangers Visit Pavel Datsyuk and Red Wings on NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry at 8 p.m. ET

Milan Lucic and Bruins Host Red Wings on NBC’s NHL Game of the Week Sunday at Noon ET

Jonathan Toews and Blackhawks Host Rangers Sunday Night at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

Coverage Begins Tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN – Steven Stamkos and Lightning Host Sabres

STAMFORD, Conn. – March 2, 2015 – This week’s NHL coverage on NBC and NBCSN features three Original Six matchups with teams jockeying for playoff positioning, beginning with a Wednesday Night Rivalry showdown at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN between Rick Nash and the New York Rangers, and Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings will be featured on the NHL Game of the Week on NBC at Noon ET on Sunday, when they travel to Boston to face Milan Lucic and the Bruins. Sunday’s coverage also features an interconference Original Six contest at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, when the Rangers visit Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator and Sports Illustrated 2014 Media Person of the Year Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, analyst Eddie Olczyk and Emmy Award-winning Inside-the-Glass analyst Pierre McGuire will call NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry matchup between the Rangers and Red Wings. Emrick and McGuire will be on the call for Red Wings-Bruins on the NHL Game of the Week on Sunday.

This week’s coverage begins tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, when Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning host Tyler Ennis and the Buffalo Sabres.

NHL Live, NBCSN’s pre- and post-game NHL studio show, begins one hour prior to puck drop of Sabres-Lightning and Rangers-Red Wings. Liam McHugh and Kathryn Tappen will host this week’s coverage alongside former players and analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick. NHL insider Bob McKenzie will join NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry coverage to provide the latest in-depth news from around the league.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY – RANGERS-RED WINGS – WEDNESDAY AT 8 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

The Rangers and Red Wings face off for their second Wednesday Night Rivalry matchup this season. On Nov. 5, Detroit’s Tomas Tatar scored with 7.7 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, but New York’s Derick Brassard scored 1:50 into the extra session to give the Rangers a 4-3 overtime win. New York (38-17-6, 82 pts) and Detroit (35-15-11, 81 pts) enter this week both battling for positioning in their respective divisions.

The Rangers lost to Philadelphia 4-2 on Saturday night on NBC, their first regulation loss three weeks, and sit two points behind the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders. Detroit trails Tampa Bay by one point for second place in the Atlantic Division, and enters Wednesday night’s game following a 4-1-1 western swing, which included wins at Chicago, San Jose and Nashville.

Rick Nash currently ranks second in the NHL with 37 goals scored, four shy of his career high. In addition, Wednesday night’s matchup will likely feature newly-acquired players for both teams. The Rangers acquired defenseman Keith Yandle, who is tied for second amongst all defensemen in assists (37), from the Arizona Coyotes, while the Red Wings acquired veteran forward Erik Cole, a member of the 2006 Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes, and veteran defenseman Marek Zidlicky.

NHL GAME OF THE WEEK – RED WINGS-BRUINS – SUNDAY AT NOON ET ON NBC

The Red Wings’ week concludes in Boston on Sunday on NBC, as the Bruins look to hold on to the second and final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston (31-22-9, 71 pts) enters the week following wins in three of its last four games, including back-to-back wins against New Jersey and Arizona last weekend. Boston also made an addition at the trade deadline, acquiring forward Brett Connolly from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins boast eight players with at least 10 goals, including defensemen Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug.

Sunday’s game marks the fourth of five matchups between the Red Wings and Bruins this season. Each team has won once in regulation, and Boston earned an extra point in the season series via a 3-2 shootout win on Oct. 15.

RANGERS-BLACKHAWKS – SUNDAY AT 7:30 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

Sunday’s coverage continues on NBCSN at 7:30 p.m. ET, when the Rangers travel to Chicago to face the Blackhawks. Chicago (37-21-5, 79 pts) earned back-to-back wins in a home-and-home series with the Florida Panthers last week, but fell 4-0 to the Lightning on Friday night. The Blackhawks are in third place in the Central Division, three points ahead of Winnipeg and six points behind St. Louis. The Blackhawks, who face Carolina on Monday night, also made additions prior to the trade deadline, acquiring center Antoine Vermette from Arizona, and defenseman Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia. Team captain Jonathan Toews leads all active Blackhawks with 50 points (19g/31a), and has scored a goal in three of his last four games.

Kenny Albert (play-by-play) and Eddie Olczyk (analyst) will have the call from United Center in Chicago, Ill.

SABRES-LIGHTNING – TOMORROW NIGHT AT 7:30 P.M. ET ON NBCSN

The Sabres visit the Lightning tomorrow night on NBCSN, as Tampa Bay looks to keep pace in the competitive Atlantic Division. The Lightning (38-20-6, 82 pts) trail Eastern Conference-leading Montreal by five points, and open a three-game homestand tomorrow night against teams currently out of the playoff picture. Tampa Bay bolstered its defensive corps on Monday prior to the trade deadline, adding defenseman Braydon Coburn in a deal with Philadelphia.

Rick Peckham (play-by-play) and Pierre McGuire (Inside-the-Glass analyst) will call the action from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

Following is this week’s NHL telecast schedule on NBC and NBCSN. Games are subject to local blackout.

Date Coverage Network Time (ET)
Tues., March 3 NHL Live NBCSN 6:30 p.m.
Buffalo at Tampa Bay NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
NHL Rivals – Original Six (Encore) NBCSN 10:30 p.m.
NHL Top 10s (Encore) NBCSN 11 p.m.
Wed., March 4 NHL Live NBCSN 7 p.m.
Wednesday Night Rivalry – N.Y. Rangers at Detroit NBCSN 8 p.m.
Sun., March 8 NHL Game of the Week – Detroit at Boston NBC Noon
N.Y. Rangers at Chicago NBCSN 7:30 p.m.

2014-15 REGULAR SEASON COVERAGE ON NBC & NBCSN

NBC Sports Group will deliver coverage of 103 NHL regular-season games during the 2014-15 season, featuring 14 games on NBC and 89 games on NBCSN. All games will be streamed live via NBC Sports Live Extra. Click here for more information on NBC Sports Group’s comprehensive NHL coverage this season.

NBC SPORTS REGIONAL NETWORKS

NBC Sports Regional Networks, which serve top NHL markets such as Boston (Bruins), Philadelphia (Flyers), Washington D.C. (Capitals), Chicago (Blackhawks) and the Bay Area (Sharks), will air more than 300 live NHL games and surround the 2014-15 NHL season with in-depth news, analysis and original programming on the teams that matter most.

NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will stream this week’s NHL coverage NBC Sports Live Extra via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to for their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available at the App Store for iPad and iPod touch, and on select tablet devices within Google Play.

-NBC SPORTS GROUP-

Gruden’s QB Camp Returns for Sixth Season on ESPN

espn-logoClass of 2015 Features Five QBs, including Heisman Winners Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota
 
Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series has become as much a part of annual pre-NFL Draft coverage as the Scouting Combine and Pro Days since its debut on ESPN in 2010. In all, 38 players have participated in the series the past five years, including Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson and Indianapolis Colts All-Pro Andrew Luck.
Gruden’s QB Camp is back for its sixth year this spring, beginning Tuesday, April 7 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Shows will air across multiple ESPN networks and ABC leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft. (Note: The entire Gruden’s QB Camp TV schedule will be released later this month and available on ESPN Media Zone.) In addition, all past QB Camp shows will be available via ESPN Classic Video on Demand, beginning the first week of April.
This month, Gruden will welcome five quarterbacks to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando where he’ll spend time with each prospect in the film room and on the field. Excerpts of the visits will be featured the same day on SportsCenter.
The 2015 QB Camp class features the past two Heisman Trophy winners – Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, potentially the top two overall picks in this year’s NFL Draft. Other participants include 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic MVP Bryce Petty (Baylor), 2nd Team All-Pac 12 selection Brett Hundley (UCLA) and 2014 MWC Offensive Player of the Year Garrett Grayson (Colorado State).
The Super Bowl-winning coach and Monday Night Football analyst discusses each of the quarterbacks who will be part of his sixth Gruden’s QB Camp:
On Garrett Grayson: “There’s a lot of parts of Colorado State’s system that I recognize, unlike a lot of college football that’s running up-tempo, no-huddle, spread-option football. There’s some principles at Colorado State that will serve Grayson well. He can run it. He can audible. He can get you out of trouble with his legs. He’s a dark horse in this class.”
 
On Brett Hundley: “Hundley helped put UCLA football back on the map. They were in trouble before he arrived. Really what he did running and passing, taking over the city of Los Angeles the last three years, is a great accomplishment. And, for the Bruins to finish as a top-10 team, that puts an exclamation point on his career. A talented guy.”
 
On Marcus Mariota: “Mariota is special in a lot of ways. He’s a dynamic dual-threat on the field and he is humble – no-nonsense, full of character off the field.4.52 is what he ran (at the Combine). He competes like crazy. I just think he has a lot of ‘can’t miss’ qualities.”
 
On Bryce Petty: “Petty might have the best arm talent in this draft. Last year Derek Carr came to town and put on an aerial display. I would be surprised if Petty isn’t that guy this year. Stereotyped in the Baylor offense, but he’s different. He’s a great passer. He’s a finisher. I love finishers. Gray shirt, red shirt, waited his time. He’s physically and mentally ready to go. I like Petty.”
 
On Jameis Winston: “Not many people do what Jameis Winston did: first year as a starter winning a National Championship, only one loss in his two years as a starter. He’s got great charisma. He’s polarizing for some people but he’s a rare talent. I can’t wait to spend some time with him. I coached the Bucs with a Florida State quarterback named Brad Johnson. Things worked out alright.”
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FOX Sports Programming Highlights: CBB, NASCAR, UFC & More

fox-sports-logo

COLLEGE HOOPS: Bubble Teams Take Center Court on FOX & FOX Sports 1

NASCAR: Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Trucks Series Roll Into Atlanta

UFC: Full Coverage of UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano

ICYMI: Katie Nolan Gives a Tour of the Studio for Her New Show GARBAGE TIME WITH KATIE NOLAN: http://bit.ly/1ERiG7W

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STUDIO SHOWS

FOX SPORTS LIVE – NIGHTLY COLLEGE HOOPS HIGHLIGHTS AND ANALYSIS AS CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS NEAR; UFC 184 POSTFIGHT INTEGRATION SATURDAY; HONDA CLASSIC COVERAGE

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, nightly (11:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Jay Onrait, Dan O’Toole, Charissa Thompson, Don Bell, Ryan Field, Jay Glazer, Casey Jacobsen, Joel Klatt, Petros Papadakis, Bill Reiter, Ephraim Salaam.
  • This Week: FOX Sports 1’s flagship nightly highlight, news and opinion this week features extended highlights and analysis from across the spectrum of sports. As the college basketball postseason approaches, FOX Sports 1 insider Reid Forgrave and analysts Austin Croshere and Corey Maggette are in studio, recapping game highlights and forecasting the looming conference tournaments. Saturday night’s show includes post-fight integration with the UFC 184 crew live from Staples Center in Los Angeles following the much-anticipated card that sees UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey compete in the main event. Following its West Coast swing, the PGA Tour stops in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., this week for the Honda Classic. Rory McIlroy, currently the world’s No. 1-ranked player, makes his 2015 United State debut at the tournament, an event he lost in a playoff a year ago. FOX Sports 1 golf reporters Robert Lusetich and Holly Sonders are on-hand throughout the week, providing coverage on a field that also includes Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

AMERICA’S PREGAME – NBA AND NHL PREVIEWS, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WRAPS, ROUSEY AND ZINGANO THURSDAY, PREEMPTED FRIDAY

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, weekdays (5:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Mike Hill, Molly McGrath, Joel Klatt, Alexi Lalas, Casey Jacobsen, Corey Maggette, Eric Wynalda
  • This Week: AMERICA’S PREGAME is up to speed on all of the day’s biggest games and stories during throughout the week. With Wednesday’s show coming out of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Arsenal and AS Monaco FC on FOX Sports 1, soccer analysts Warren Barton, Alexi Lalas and Eric Wynalda are in studio to break down all of the action. Nightly NBA and NHL previews continue with local correspondents from around the country as the respective leagues enter their stretch runs and the playoff pictures come more clearly into view. Other items of note this week include a satellite interview on Thursday with the main event participants at this Saturday’s UFC 184 in Los Angeles: UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and contender Cat Zingano. On Friday, the show is preempted as FOX Sports 1 carries live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice and Qualifying events for this weekend’s Atlanta race.

 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BUBBLE TEAMS TAKE CENTER COURT THIS WEEK ON FOX & FOX SPORTS 1

  • Network/When/Talent:

o   Wednesday, Feb. 25:

  • Marquette at No. 23 Butler
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (8:00 PM ET)
  • Cory Provus and Ron Thompson
  • Texas Tech at TCU
  • FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO (8:00 PM ET)
  • Brian Estridge and John Denton

o   Thursday, Feb. 26:

  • UTEP at LA Tech
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (8:00 PM ET)
  • Justin Kutcher and Mike Jarvis
  • Arizona State at No. 13 Utah
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (10:30 PM ET)
  • Aaron Goldsmith and Sean Elliott

o   Friday, Feb. 27:

  • Providence at Villanova (W)
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (8:30 PM ET)
  • Tiffany Greene and LaChina Robinson

o   Saturday, Feb. 28:

  • No. 6 Villanova at Xavier
  • FOX & FOX Sports GO (2:00 PM ET)
  • Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson
  • No. 23 Butler at DePaul
  • FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO (2:00 PM ET)
  • Tim Brando and Dickie Simpkins
  • Baylor at Iowa State (W)
  • FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO (4:00 PM ET)
  • Ron Thulin and Brenda VanLengen

o   Sunday, March 1:

  • Marquette at No. 25 Providence
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (3:30 PM ET)
  • Justin Kutcher and Steve Donahue
  • Southern Miss at UTEP (W)
  • FOX Sports Regional Networks & FOX Sports GO (4:00 PM ET)
  • Ron Thulin and Clarissa Davis
  • Oregon at Stanford
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (7:00 PM ET)
  • Aaron Goldsmith and Casey Jacobsen
  • Washington State at UCLA
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (9:30 PM ET)
  • Kevin Burkhardt and Sean Elliott

o   Tuesday, March 3:

  • Georgetown at No. 23 Butler
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (7:00 PM ET)
  • Joe Davis and Bob Wenzel
  • No. 6 Villanova at Creighton
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (9:00 PM ET)
  • Tim Brando and Nick Bahe

o   Wednesday, March 4:

  • No. 25 Providence at Seton Hall
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (7:00 PM ET)
  • Justin Kutcher and Donny Marshall
  • St. John’s at Marquette
  • FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO (9:00 PM ET)
  • Brian Anderson and Tarik Turner

This Week: As college basketball’s regular season winds down, FOX and FOX Sports 1 showcase several of the nation’s bubble teams, battling for a spot in the 68-team NCAA bracket. On Saturday, Feb. 28 (2:00 PM ET) on FOX, No. 6 Villanova, which just clinched a share of the BIG EAST title, heads to Cincinnati to face Xavier, which is looking for a signature win heading into the final stretch. On Sunday, March 1, a pair of Pac-12 bubble teams go head-to-head on FOX Sports 1, as Stanford hosts Oregon (7:00 PM ET). Check out FOX Sports college basketball insider Stewart Mandel’s latest Bracket Watch to see who appears to have an NCAA bid locked up, who needs to do work, and who’s on the outside looking in.

THE FALL AND RISE OF FORMER SETON HALL STAR LUTHER WRIGHT FEATURED ON THIS WEEK’S INSIDE THE BIG EAST

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, March 1 (3:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Kevin Burkhardt, Austin Croshere and Kevin O’Neill
  • This Week: On this week’s INSIDE THE BIG EAST, former Seton Hall star Luther Wright fell on hard times and experienced homelessness before pulling himself up, now working for the city of Newark and with Seton Hall as its in-house DJ. INSIDE THE BIG EAST has an all-access pass with 37-year Villanova women’s basketball head coach Harry Perretta, and showcases the best behind-the-scenes audio of the week. Bill Raftery joins to unveil his “All-Onion” team, and Burkhardt, Croshere and O’Neill take a look at the top plays of the week.

NASCAR

FOX SPORTS AIRS 26 HOURS OF LIVE NASCAR PROGRAMMING FROM ATLANTA THIS WEEKEND, INCLUDING UNIQUE DOUBLEHEADER ON SATURDAY

NASCAR heads to Atlanta this weekend, marking the first time in several years that teams race in the Southeast instead of on the West Coast the week following the DAYTONA 500. FOX Sports offers 26 hours of live coverage of the NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES, NASCAR XFINITY SERIES and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES from Atlanta Motor Speedway, with a rare doubleheader on Saturday.

Atlanta provides the first look at the new rules package for intermediate tracks in the NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES, culminating with the 500-mile race live on FOX on Sunday, March 1 (1:00 PM ET), with pre-race coverage beginning at 12:30 PM ET on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY.

The packed weekend of racing kicks off Saturday, Feb. 28 on FOX Sports 1 with a unique, same-day doubleheader featuring the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES (2:00 PM ET) and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES (5:30 PM ET) hitting the high backs of Atlanta Motor Speedway, one of the most storied tracks on the NASCAR circuit and a driver favorite. 2012 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES champion Brad Keselowski serves as guest analyst for FOX Sports 1’s NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race coverage on Saturday. Keselowski is one of five NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES drivers announced as part of a rotation in the FOX and FOX Sports 1 booths for the network’s coverage of the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES season.  Also scheduled as guest analysts this season are reigning NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES champion Kevin Harvick, who debuted in the booth last weekend at Daytona; four-time champion Jeff Gordon; Danica Patrick; and Clint Bowyer.  This season, FOX Sports adds coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY SERIES for the first 14 races of the year.  FOX Sports 1 telecasts 10 of the events while FOX broadcasts the races from Phoenix, Talladega, Charlotte and Dover.

FOX Sports 1 airs all NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES, NASCAR XFINITY SERIES and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES on-track sessions from Atlanta, beginning with XFINITY SERIES practice on Friday, Feb. 27 at 10:00 AM ET.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACING

  • Network/When:  FOX & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, March 1 (1:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Play-by-play announcer Mike Joy; analysts Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds; reporters Jamie Little, Chris Neville and Matt Yocum

FOX NASCAR SUNDAY

  • Network/When: FOX & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, March 1 (12:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Host Chris Myers; analysts Darrell Waltrip and Michael Waltrip

LARRY MCREYNOLDS SAYS ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY’S INSTALLATION OF TIRE BARRIERS & LATER EXPANSION OF SAFER BARRIERS IS THE BEST-CASE SCENARIO:  “Atlanta installing tire barriers for this weekend is as good as they can do right now. I was very vocal about this in our NASCAR XFINITY pre-race show on FOX Sports 1 on Saturday, but I meant every word.  We have been on this safety crusade for 15 years, and after 15 years, and I don’t want to hear any more about the cost of SAFER barriers, the studies regarding where cars are most likely to hit or the argument that venues must accommodate other series, hindering them from putting SAFER barriers all the way around. Those excuses are now inexcusable. In the short term, hopefully we won’t see a single wall without a tire barrier, and in the long term, hopefully we won’t see a wall without a SAFER barrier at any track. We got another wakeup call with Kyle Busch on Saturday, and shame on us if we don’t react 100 percent across the board at every single race track. If we can help keep drivers safe, shame on us if we don’t.”

MCREYNOLDS SAYS KURT BUSCH CAN RETURN TO NASCAR BUT IT WILL BE DIFFICULT:  “He absolutely can be reinstated by NASCAR at some point.  There will be a ‘road to recovery’ no different than if a driver violates a substance abuse policy… Busch must not only satisfy NASCAR and the management at Stewart-Haas Racing, but also the sponsors affiliated with the team. Will a sponsor ever look at him? The layers are endless given all the sponsors involved with that organization.”

JAMIE LITTLE PREDICTS KURT BUSCH WOULD BE SUPPORTED IF ALLOWED TO RETURN: “In general, people like to forgive others when they prove they’re working to better themselves. If Kurt goes through the proper channels and gets the help he needs, and if what he says when he returns is genuine, that he will change and it won’t happen again, then there’s no reason people won’t accept him.  The people who won’t accept him probably weren’t Kurt Busch fans to begin with.  We all have gone through certain issues in our lives, and we like to see people come through bad times better for it.  AJ Allmendinger is a perfect example of that.”

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES RACING

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Feb. 28 (2:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Play by-play announcer Adam Alexander; analyst Michael Waltrip and guest analyst Brad Keselowski; reporters Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Chris Neville

NASCAR RACEDAY-XFINITY

  • Network/When:  FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Feb. 28 (1:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Host Danielle Trotta; analysts Larry McReynolds and Kenny Wallace; reporters Vince Welch, Jamie Little and Chris Neville

ADAM ALEXANDER HAS HIS EYE ON A FEW XFINITY SERIES FAVORITES HEADED INTO ATLANTA: “Heading to Atlanta, it’s hard to ignore the success Kevin Harvick has enjoyed there, and Cup regulars have won 11 of the last 12 XFINITY Series races at Atlanta. Ty Dillon is off to a great start this season and has a Truck Series win there. Defending champ Chase Elliott will be trying to bounce back and dig out of a hole that he never experienced last season on his way to winning the championship.”

ALEXANDER SAYS USING CUP SERIES DRIVERS AS GUEST ANALYSTS IN THE XFINITY SERIES BOOTH IS A HUGE PLUS: “The addition of Cup Series drivers as analysts for our NASCAR XFINITY Series coverage was a tremendous idea. Kevin Harvick was great at Daytona, and while his insight will be different, I expect Brad Keselowski to be great as well. It’s perfect to have drivers fresh off the track the same day in an analyst role.”

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES RACING

  • Network/When:  FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Feb. 28 (5:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Play-by-play announcer Brian Till; analysts Phil Parsons and Todd Bodine; reporters Hermie Sadler and Matt Yocum

NCWTS SETUP

  • Network/When:  FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Feb. 28 (5:00 PM ET)
  • Talent:  Host John Roberts; analyst Ray Dunlap; reporters Hermie Sadler and Matt Yocum
  • This Week:  A flashback to Ron Hornaday Jr.’s 2005 Truck Series win over Bobby Labonte at Atlanta; driver interviews regarding the Truck Series’ return to Atlanta; a feature on Kyle Busch Motorsports’ 2014 domination on mile-and-a-half tracks; an interview with two-time and reigning champ Matt Crafton, who won the only intermediate-track race Kyle Busch Motorsports didn’t win in 2014; a feature on Daytona winner Tyler Reddick; a package on the “big one” at Daytona and the points deficit in which it left Red Horse Racing to start the season.

NASCAR RACEDAY

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, March 1 (11:00 AM PM ET)
  • Talent: Host Danielle Trotta; analysts Larry McReynolds and Kenny Wallace; reporters Kaitlyn Vincie and Vince Welch
  • This Week: Interviews with DAYTONA 500 champion Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne and David Ragan (substitute driver for Kyle Busch); a feature with Doug Yates on tapered spacers and their effects on engines; a look at Jeff Gordon’s first NASCAR win – a NASCAR XFINITY SERIES win at Atlanta in 1992, credited with Rick Hendrick taking notice of the young driver; a feature with President Jimmy Carter regarding his Atlanta Motor Speedway ties; and a cartoon feature explaining the new rules package at intermediate tracks in 2015.

NASCAR RACE HUB & NASCAR RACE HUB WEEKEND EDITION

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, Thursday, Feb. 26 (6:00 PM ET), Friday, Feb. 27 (11:00 AM ET), Monday, March 2-Thursday, March 5 (6:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Co-hosts Adam Alexander, John Roberts and Danielle Trotta; analysts Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and Wally Dallenbach; reporters Alan Cavanna, Andrew Doud and Kaitlyn Vincie
  • This Week: Highlights from Thursday’s Atlanta open test session on Thursday, Feb. 26; on Friday, Feb. 27, a feature on and interview with Daytona NASCAR XFINITY winner Ryan Reed; a feature with Kevin Harvick and Ricky Carmichael discussing Harvick giving Carmichael a NASCAR ride, and also featuring Carmichael attempting to teach Harvick how to ride on two wheels; and a package explaining the new rules package for intermediate tracks.
  • Next Week: Guest analysts Chad Knaus on Monday, March 2, and Joey Logano on Tuesday, March 3

MONSTER ENERGY SUPERCROSS

SUPERCROSS TAKES ON SECOND HALF OF ATLANTA DOUBLEHEADER WITH FIVE DIFFERENT WINNERS SO FAR IN 2015 #WHOSNEXT

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Feb. 28 (7:00 PM ET); replay on FOX Sports 1 Sunday, Feb. 29 (3:00 AM ET)
  • Talent: Ralph Sheheen, Jeff Emig, Jenny Taft
  • This Week: Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, heads into the ninth race of the season, and second in a row from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with five different winners in the first eight races. Former 450SX champion Chad Reed scored his first win of the season, followed by points leader Ryan Dungey and Trey Canard. It had been 11 years since Reed won his last Main Event at the Georgia Dome, but the former champ has now gone a record 11 seasons with at least one win. Dungey extended his points lead to 25 points over Canard and 31 over Ken Roczen.

UFC

ZINGANO BELIEVES SHE CAN PULL OFF THE UPSET VS. ROUSEY AT 184, SAYS UFC ON FOX ANALYST BISPING

The UFC returns to Los Angeles on Saturday, Feb. 28 for UFC 184: ROUSEY VS. ZINGANO, when the undefeated UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey defends her crown for the fifth time against unbeaten No. 1 contender Cat Zingano. UFC on FOX analyst Michael Bisping is excited for the upset potential this weekend. “Ronda Rousey seems completely unbeatable,” he says. “She’s steamrolled all the competition. But Cat Zingano has no quit in her. She’s comeback and fought through adversity so many times in her career and a lot of people think this is the toughest fight Ronda will have. Zingano and her wrestling coach are very confident and have wanted this fight for a long time. They believe they’re going to pull off the upset.” FOX Sports 1 telecasts the WEIGH-IN, PRELIMS and POSTFIGHT SHOWS for UFC 184. Watch a complete breakdown of the main event here: http://foxs.pt/1zb1jKG

UFC TONIGHT PREVIEWS UFC 184, PLUS ROUSEY AND HOLM INTERVIEWS

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Wednesday, Feb. 25 (7:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Kenny Florian, Daniel Cormier, Karyn Bryant, Ariel Helwani
  • This Week: Hosts Kenny Florian and Daniel Cormier preview UFC 184: ROUSEY VS. ZINGANO and interview women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey before she defends her title against Cat Zingano. They also catch up with Holly Holm, who makes her UFC debut in the co-main event. Plus, Karyn Bryant and Ariel Helwani add reports.

FOX SPORTS 1 UFC 184 WEIGH-IN

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Feb. 27 (7:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Jay Glazer, Daniel Cormier, Kenny Florian, Miesha Tate, Ariel Helwani
  • This Week: The UFC 184 WEIGH-IN features host Jay Glazer, with analysts Daniel Cormier, Kenny Florian and Miesha Tate breaking down the fighters on the card as they attempt to make weight. Ariel Helwani interviews fighters during the show.                            

FOX SPORTS 1 UFC 184 PRELIMS FEATURE FOUR EXCITING BOUTS 

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Feb. 28 (8:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Mike Goldberg, Joe Rogan, Jay Glazer, Daniel Cormier, Kenny Florian, Miesha Tate, Ariel Helwani (Victor Dávila and Fabricio Werdum on FOX Deportes)
  • This Week: The two-hour FOX SPORTS 1 UFC 184 PRELIMS features four exciting fights, as No. 13 ranked Mark Munoz (13-5) faces Roan Carneiro (19-9) in a middleweight matchup. Roman Salazar (9-3) takes on Norifumi Yamamoto (18-6, 1NC) in a bantamweight bout. Dhiego Lima (11-2) and Tim Means (22-6-1) battle in a welterweight bout, while heavyweights Derrick Lewis (11-3, 1NC) and Ruan Potts (8-3) open the PRELIMS. Follow the link to watch the promo: http://foxs.pt/1akz0Vk

FOX SPORTS 1 UFC 184 POSTFIGHT SHOW RECAPS WOMEN’S BAMTAMWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Saturday, Feb. 28 (1:00 AM ET)
  • Talent: Jay Glazer, Daniel Cormier, Kenny Florian, Miesha Tate, Ariel Helwani
  • This Week: Watch the recap of UFC 184 with host Glazer and analysts Cormier, Florian and Tate breaking down the women’s bantamweight title fight between Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano. The group interviews winners and highlights the most exciting action of the evening.

 UFC ULTIMATE INSIDER CEJUDO’S DREAM, PETTIS IN HIS PRIME, ESPARZA INTERVIEW, VELASQUEZ FULL BLAST

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Sunday, March 1 (6:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Jon Anik
  • This Week: In 2008, UFC fighter Henry Cejudo became the youngest Olympic wrestling gold medalist in U.S. history. With his sights now firmly set on UFC gold, Cejudo recalls how he overcame a tough childhood to become an Olympic champion and undefeated MMA rising star. Then, witness UFC lightweight champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in his prime. From hometown hero, to entrepreneur and icon, the 28-year-old superstar gives his take on life at the top. The first-ever UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza joins host Jon Anik in studio for an interview. Plus, watch heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez’s play by play reaction to the showdown between his close friend Daniel Cormier and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones unfolds at UFC 183.

UFC UNLEASHED: PETTIS VS. MELENDEZ

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Monday, March 2 (10:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Anthony Pettis, Gilbert Melendez
  • This Week: UFC UNLEASHED presents four exciting fights from 2014 showcasing the biggest stars from the lightweight and heavyweight divisions. With Rafael Dos Anjos, Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis, Alistair Overeem, Roy Nelson, Minotauro Nogueira and more.

BOXING

GOLDEN BOY BOXING FEATURES CANO VS. ABREU IN 10-ROUND WELTERWEIGHT BOUT, PLUS DE LA HOYA AND TAISHAN

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Feb. 27 (10:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Brian Custer, Paulie Malignaggi and Jessica Rosales
  • This Week: The Golden Boy Live! broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes features Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano (28-4-1, 21 KOs) of Tlalnepantla, Mexico taking on the hard-punching Juan Carlos “Merengue” Abreu (18-1, 17 KOs) of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in an explosive welterweight 10-round bout as the main event. Diego De La Hoya (8-0, 6 KOs) fights Manuel “Suavecito” Roman (17-3-3, 6 KOs) in an eight-round super bantamweight co-main event. Chinese heavyweight sensation Taishan (2-0, 2 KOs) faces Roy McCary (3-2, 3 KOs) in the opening four-round televised bout.

SOCCER

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE KNOCKOUT ROUNDS CONTINUE THURSDAY ACROSS FOX SPORTS NETWORKS; MULTIMATCH 90 RETURNS

The UEFA Europa League Round of 32, Leg 2 matches commence on Thursday, Feb. 26, highlighted by Liverpool against Besiktas (FOX Sports 1, 12:30 PM ET) and Tim Howard’s Everton against Switzerland’s Young Boys (FOX Sports 1, 3:00 PM ET). MULITMATCH 90, the live whip-around show that brings viewers every goal and big play in near-real time, also returns Thursday, Feb. 26 on FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go (12:50 PM ET), with four hours of coverage from 16 UEFA Europa League matches.

  • Matchup/Network/When:

o   Besiktas vs. Liverpool, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Thursday, Feb. 26 (12:30 PM ET)

o   Fiorentina vs. Tottenham, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Thursday, Feb. 26 (12:30 PM ET)

o   MULTIMATCH 90, FOX Soccer Plus & FOX Soccer 2Go, Thursday, Feb. 26 (12:50 PM ET)

o   Everton vs. Young Boys, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Thursday, Feb. 26 (3:00 PM ET)

o   Feyernood vs. Roma, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Thursday, Feb. 26 (3:00 PM ET)

o   Inter Milan vs. Celtic, FOX Soccer Plus & FOX Soccer 2Go, Thursday, Feb. 26 (9:00 PM ET)

o   Napoli vs. Trabzonspor, FOX Soccer Plus & FOX Soccer 2Go, Thursday, Feb. 26 (11:00 PM ET)

  • Talent: FOX Sports’ UEFA Europa League coverage begins each day with a 30-minute pregame show. Julie Stewart-Binks hosts pregame, halftime and postgame coverage alongside analysts Eric Wynalda, Warren Barton and Alexi Lalas and rules expert Dr. Joe Machnick.

MLS’s DC UNITED AND MONTREAL IMPACT HIGHLIGHT CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTERFINALS NEXT WEEK

The region’s top club competition, the CONCACAF Champions League, resumes with the quarterfinals on FOX Sports 2, highlighted by MLS’s DC United and Montreal Impact.

  • Matchup/Network/When:
    • Leg 1: Alajuelense vs. DC United, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Thursday, Feb. 26 (8:00 PM ET)
    • Leg 2: Montreal Impact vs. Pachuca, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Tuesday, March 3 (8:00 PM ET)
    • Leg 2: DC United vs. Alajuelense, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Wednesday, March 4 (8:00 PM ET)
    • Leg 2: Club America vs. Deportivo Saprissa, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Wednesday, March 4 (10:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Mark Rogondino and Cobi Jones call both Leg 1 and Leg 2 DC United matches. JP Dellacamera calls the Montreal Impact and Club America matches alongside Janusz Michallik.

CONCACAF MEN’S U-17 CHAMPIONSHIP AIRS LIVE ON FOX SPORTS 2 AND FOX SOCCER PLUS

The CONCACAF Men’s U-17 Championship kicks off Friday, Feb. 27 in Honduras, as 12 national teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean battle for four qualifying spots in the FIFA U-17 Men’s World Cup scheduled for later this year.

  • Matchup/Network/When:
    • Group Stage, Match 1: USA vs. Cuba, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Friday, Feb. 27 (6:00 PM ET)
    • Group Stage, Match 2: Panama vs. Mexico, FOX Soccer Plus & FOX Soccer 2Go, Saturday, Feb. 28 (3:30 PM ET)
    • Group Stage, Match 3: Trinidad & Tobago vs. USA, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Sports GO, Monday, March 2 (6:00 PM ET)
    • Group Stage, Match 4: Mexico vs. Haiti, FOX Sports 2, FOX Soccer Plus & FOX Sports GO, Tuesday, March 3 (6:00 PM ET)
  • Talent: Match 1: John Strong and Cobi Jones. Match 2: Mark Rogondino and Cobi Jones. Match 3: JP Dellacamera and Janusz Michallik. Match 4: John Shrader and Tony Meola.

RED BULL

RED BULL CRASHED ICE HEADS TO THE TRICKY AND STEEP HELSINKI TRACK

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Monday, March 2 (7:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Host Nicole Dabeau, play-by-play by Troy Manering and analysis by Doug Anderson
  • This Week: After a record crowd of 140,000 people in Saint Paul, Minn., witnessed Canada’s Kyle Croxall take the opening race of the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship, the series carves its way into Helsinki, Finland, with its unique 360-yard natural ice track with a vertical drop of more than 13 stories. Fans will be cheering familiar faces like reigning 2014 World Champion Marco Dallago of Austria as he looks to become the first rider ever to earn a repeat World Championship. The second and third place finishers from 2014 – Scott Croxall of Canada and Cameron Naasz of the USA – also look to make their move after subpar finishes in the first race of 2015 in Saint Paul. “The Helsinki track is super tricky and steep, so the racers will have to be on the ball,” says FOX Sports 1 host Troy Manering. “There are points at stake, plus if Kyle Croxall from Canada can pull off a win here, he will move ahead of Arttuu Pihlainen of Finland for the most Red Bull Crashed Ice wins of all time.”

RED BULL AIR RACE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 KICKS OFF IN ABU DHABI WITH BRITAIN’S NIGEL LAMB ATTEMPTING TO DEFEND HIS CROWN

  • Network/When: FOX Sports 1 & FOX Sports GO, Monday, March 2 (8:30 PM ET)
  • Talent: Host Nick Fellows and analyst Mike Mangold
  • This Week: Now in its eighth season, Red Bull Air Race’s World Championship season kicks off in Abu Dhabi, with pilots flying over the Arabian Gulf’s sparkling blue waters on one of the fastest and most technical aerial tracks. 2014 champion Nigel Lamb and the world’s most highly skilled pilots attempt to navigate a predefined, low-level aerial racetrack of air-filled pylons (Air Gates). The aim is to finish in the fastest time possible, incurring as few penalties as possible – at speeds of up to 230 miles an hour, while enduring forces of up to 10g. “The wind is a variable in Abu Dhabi and whoever doesn’t pay attention to it will suffer,” says FOX Sports 1 analyst Mike Mangold. “You need to be a savvy pilot to find the perfect line, and staying on it with a strong wind is even harder.”

ESPN’s 20th Season of Major League Soccer

espn-logoNew Weekly Match Window: “MLS Soccer Sunday” at 5 p.m. ET on Sundays
Season-Opening Match: MLS Expansion Franchises Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC on Sunday, March 8
 
ESPN’s 20th season of Major League Soccer – which kicks off with expansion franchises Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC Sunday, March 8 – will feature a new consistent “MLS Soccer Sunday” match window: Sundays at 5 p.m. ET. Twenty-eight of ESPN’s 34 regular-season matches will air at this time (primarily on ESPN2), marking the most consistent appointment viewing for the league since its debut season in 1996.
ESPN, which reached a new eight-year agreement with MLS last year that extends through 2022, is the league’s lone national television partner through each of its first 20 seasons.
ESPN will provide both English and Spanish-language coverage of the 2015 Major League Soccer season across its media platforms – ESPN2, ESPN, ESPNEWS, WatchESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, ESPNFC.com, as well as news, analysis and highlights programming on ESPN FC on TV, SportsCenter and other programs. Television highlights:
  • Matches: 34 live regular-season matches
  • Commentators: Adrian Healey (pxp), analyst Taylor Twellman and reporter Monica Gonzalez (select matches); ESPN Deportes: Richard Méndez and Giovanni Savarese;
  • ESPN FC on TV: will preview MLS matches and feature extensive highlights, news and analysis (weekdays at 6 p.m., ESPNEWS; Sundays at 12 a.m. overnight, ESPN2). Highlights: weekend match previews every Friday beginning March 6; Sunday shows will feature highlights and analysis, segments with Healey and Twellman from the day’s ESPN MLS match of the week, and guest appearances by MLS stars and newsmakers.
  • SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship news and information program, will cover key league storylines, interviews with stars, and feature MLS highlights.
2015 MLS Season on ESPNFC.com:
ESPNFC.com, a leading global soccer news and information hub, will offer extensive coverage of Major League Soccer’s 20th season. Primary writers covering the league include Jeff Carlisle, Doug McIntyre, Graham Parker and Jason Davis, along with special contributor David Hirshey. ESPNFC will launch a series of features and other content to kick off the season. Highlights:
  • 20 Clubs, 20 Burning Questions – Infographic;
  • Conference previews: McIntyre (East), Carlisle (West);
  • What You Need to Know about the new MLS clubs, NYC FC and Orlando City SC;
  • 20 years of MLS: An oral history of the league and 20 key moments in MLS history;
  • Weekly Coverage: Power Rankings (Sundays); What We Learned (Mondays); and midweek features;
  • Match Coverage: MLS writers at key games throughout the season; live ESPNFC.com “Boot Room” blog of ESPN games; and post-game “Boot Room Extra” with fan interaction.
ESPN2 Presents Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC Season-Opener:
ESPN will kick off its 2015 Major League Soccer season on Sunday, March 8 at 4:30 p.m., with a 30-minute pre-match show leading into Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC, the highly-anticipated first match for the league’s newest expansion franchises. The match will air on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio, as well as WatchESPN, from Orlando’s Citrus Bowl.
Healey and Twellman will call the match for ESPN2, while Mendez and Savarese will commentate for ESPN Deportes. Multilingual reporter Gonzalez will report for both ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Additionally, commentator Roberto Abramowitz will be in Orlando for news and information coverage leading up to and after the match.
The match features two FIFA World Cup champions – Orlando City SC’s Kaká (2002 with Brazil) and New York City FC’s David Villa (Spain in 2010). Pre-match highlights:
  • Interviews with Orlando’s Kaka, 2007 FIFA World Footballer of the Year and 2002 World Cup winner, U.S. Men’s National Team player Mix Diskerud (NYC FC), and more;
  • “Talking Points with Taylor Twellman” – commentary and analysis from ESPN’s lead soccer analyst;
  • ESPN FC on TV will preview the match on Friday, March 6, at 6 p.m. (ESPNEWS), with Twellman from Orlando, and offer extensive post-game analysis from him Sunday at 12 a.m. overnight (ESPN2). Healey will also have “person-in-the-street” interviews with Orlando City SC fans ahead of their team’s first MLS match;
  • Sunday morning SportsCenter (ESPN, 9 a.m.) will include a preview of the Kaká vs. David Villa matchup;
  • ESPNFC.com will have reporters Carlisle (LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire) and McIntyre (Orlando City SC vs. NYC FC) at season-opening weekend matches.
  • Additional content around the season-opener: Fernando Duarte profiles Kaka; Parker profiles NYC FC’s Jason Kreis after interviewing the coach in Manchester City during the team’s pre-season trip to their affiliate club in England; David Hirshey on how NYC FC is evolving the relationship with its fans.
- 30 -

DAYTONA 500 Bounces Back & Daytona Speedweeks Viewership Up On FOX Sports 1

fox-sports-1-logoFirst 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Race on FOX Sports 1

Enjoys Viewership Bump

Daytona 500 Scores Major Growth on FOX Sports GO; Consumption of NASCAR Content on FOXSports.com up 63% Year-to-Year

After suffering through a daylong weather delay in 2014, the DAYTONA 500 began working its way back last weekend, scoring 13.4 million viewers on FOX, a +44% increase over last year’s 9.3 million. A total of 23.5 million viewers watched all or part of Sunday’s telecast. Additionally, 11 days of Speedweeks programming on FOX Sports 1 enjoyed a 14% increase in average viewership (293,000 vs. 257,000).

NASCAR shoulder programming surrounding the DAYTONA 500 was strong overall on Sunday, Feb. 22, as NASCAR RACEDAY averaged 973,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1, a 31% increase over last year’s 742,000 for a one-hour edition of the show.  NASCAR VICTORY LANE posted 464,000 viewers, up 21% over the last post-Daytona run in 2013 (383,000). The week leading up to the Daytona 500 was the third most-watched in FOX Sports 1 history and the highest since last season’s National League Championship Series.

FOX kicked off the 2015 NASCAR SPRINT CUP season Saturday, Feb. 14 with the SPRINT UNLIMITED averaging 5.6 million viewers, a 60% increase over 2014 (3.5 million) when it aired on FOX Sports 1. The race powered FOX to a first-place finish in prime time among broadcast networks across all key male and adult demos including A18-49 and A18-34.

A variety of sports programming led FOX Sports 1 to its eighth most-watched Saturday since launch, averaging 490,000 viewers on Saturday, Feb. 14. Motor sports programming started at 10:30 AM ET with a NASCAR SPRINT CUP PRACTICE from Daytona drawing 698,000 viewers, up 27% from the equivalent practice last year (551,000).  Saturday afternoon’s ARCA RACING SERIES race from Daytona was the most-watched program of the day on FOX Sports 1 with 919,000 viewers.

DAYTONA POLE DAY QUALIFYING, airing Sunday, Feb. 15 on FOX, averaged 3.4 million viewers, up 17% from 2014. The first ever “group qualifying” format at Daytona is the highest rated and most watched session since 2009, with Jeff Gordon scoring the pole for his final race at Daytona International Speedway. The four-time champion announced he will be retiring at the end of the 2014 season.

The 2015 BUDWEISER DUEL AT DAYTONA scored 3,018,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1, a slight dip from last year’s 3,122,000 prime time debut, but strong enough to be No. 1 in ad-supported cable from 7:00-10:30 PM ET in total viewers and Adults 18-49 on Thursday, Feb. 19. Earlier in the day, a slate of Daytona practices (Sprint Cup Final, NCWTS and NCWTS Final) averaged 244,000 viewers, a 16% increase in viewership (vs. 210,000) compared to the same three Thursday practice sessions last year.

 

On Friday, Feb. 20, the NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES RACE from Daytona garnered 1,550,000 viewers, a 3% increase from last year’s 1,502,000 viewers.  Earlier in the day, NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES QUALIFYING posted a 15% gain over 2013 (472,000 vs. 409,000).

The first 2015 NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race under the new television deal on FOX Sports 1 delivered 2,944,000 viewers on Saturday, Feb. 21, an 8% increase over last year’s race on ESPN and good for the most-watched sports event on ad-supported cable on the weekend. The race, with 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick serving as an analyst for the first time, was the 13th most-watched telecast in FOX Sports 1 history. Following the race, FOX SPORTS LIVE averaged 2,485,000 viewers, making it the second most-watched edition of FOX SPORTS LIVE ever and most-watched with a duration greater than 30 minutes.

This year’s Daytona 500 was the most-watched NASCAR event ever on FOX SPORTS GO, posting a 220% increase in unique visitors over last year’s race.  In addition, mobile consumption of NASCAR content on FOXSPORTS.COM was up 63% year-to-year.

According to Nielsen’s SocialGuide, the Daytona 500 accounted for 297,300 Total Tweets from 10:00 AM ET to 8:00 PM ET, with 113,600 Unique Authors, a Unique Audience of 5.8 million and 50.6 million Impressions.

–FOX SPORTS–

Rob Stone Named Prime-Time Studio Host for FIFA Women’s World Cup™ 2015

fox-sports-logoVeteran Anchors Live From Spectacular Vancouver Locale

Los Angeles — FOX Sports’ lead soccer studio host Rob Stone has been officially tabbed as the prime-time studio host for the network’s unprecedented coverage of FIFA Women’s World Cup™ 2015 in Canada later this year.  The announcement was made today by David Neal, executive producer for FOX Sports’ FIFA Women’s World Cup™ coverage.

“Rob is an exceptional studio host with a deep understanding of international soccer, so he is the perfect choice to anchor our Women’s World Cup coverage in prime time,” Neal said. “An event like this is similar to an Olympics, with many moving parts, and excellent hosts are smart, personable and have a little traffic cop inside them. Rob brings those attributes to the job every day.”

Stone anchors FOX Sports’ studio shows, including pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, and other FIFA Women’s World Cup™ 2015 related programming throughout the month-long tournament from the network’s state-of-the-art two-story studio on picturesque Coal Harbor in Vancouver.  The former Division I soccer player, who joined FOX Sports from ESPN in January 2012, takes on the most high-profile assignment of his career to-date as the prime time studio host of this summer’s Women’s World Cup.  Stone has hosted FOX Sports’ coverage of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and other top soccer leagues in Europe, in addition to hosting college football and college basketball studio programming. Stone is set to work with a team of FOX Sports soccer analysts to be announced at a later date.

“Covering a massive global tournament in this role is what few in our industry get the opportunity to do, and I am honored that FOX Sports has entrusted this responsibility to me,” Stone said. “I passionately care about this sport and am excited to get started, especially following the excitement we saw during last summer’s World Cup.”

FOX Sports is planning the most expansive multi-platform coverage ever of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™, including an unprecedented 16 matches airing live on FOX broadcast network when the tournament commences in Canada this June.  FOX Sports televises all 52 games in the expanded tournament from six cities across Canada between June 6 and July 5, live on FOX; FOX Sports 1, America’s fastest growing sports network; and FOX Sports 2.  Digitally, all games are available on tablets and mobile devices via the FOX Sports GO app and online at www.FOXSportsGO.com.  No broadcast network has ever televised 16 FIFA Women’s or Men’s World Cup matches, and the 2015 event marks the first time since 2003 that any FIFA Women’s World Cup™ matches are scheduled for over-the-air broadcast in the U.S.  Combining games with anticipated pregame, postgame and complementary programming, FOX Sports is expected to provide almost 200 hours of coverage from FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015™.  Coverage begins with reports in AMERICA’S PREGAME and FOX SPORTS LIVE, Thursday, June 4, a preview show on Friday, June 5 and Group Stage matches on Saturday, June 6.

– FOX SPORTS –

NHL Network, NHL.com and NHL Social Unveil Trade Deadline Coverage Plans

nhl-logoNHL NETWORK, NHL.COM AND NHL SOCIAL UNVEIL TRADE DEADLINE COVERAGE PLANS

NHL Network U.S., NHL.com to Simulcast Sportsnet’s Hockey Central Trade Deadline to U.S. Fans

Fans Can Follow the Action via Official Hashtag #NHLtrade

NEW YORK (February 27, 2015) – NHL Network, NHL.com and NHL Social™ will offer fans the most comprehensive coverage of the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline™. From now through the 3 p.m. ET deadline on Monday, March 2, NHL Network™, NHL.com and NHL Social will provide breaking news, exclusive interviews, insider information and official player transactions.

NHL.com
NHL.com provides a one-stop destination to follow all the activity on the day of the NHL Trade Deadline. U.S. viewers can stream Sportsnet’s Hockey Central Trade Deadline coverage live online, while all fans can get trade alerts, view the list of completed deals, read articles, watch exclusive analysis videos and chat with NHL.com writers and NHL Network talent about all the day’s developments. At 5 p.m. ET, don’t miss NHL Network’s 2015 Trade Deadline Digital Recap Show, as E.J. Hradek, John MacLean and Mike Rupp break down all the trades. For the first time ever, the NHL app will feature a trade tracker to offer fans real-time updates.

NHL Network
Starting at 8 a.m. ET on March 2, NHL Network in the U.S. will simulcast Hockey Central Trade Deadline. From Stanley Cup® winners to former NHL GMs, executives and Hall of Famers, Sportsnet’s extraordinary broadcast team will ensure the action is covered from every angle:

Main Desk –Host Daren Millard will be joined by Mike Johnson, Nick Kypreos and Kelly Hrudey to navigate a day’s worth of news

Breaking News Desk – Christine Simpson will be joined by Elliotte Friedman, Chris Johnston and John Shannon to deliver the latest trades and rumors

Reaction Panel – Jeff Marek will referee the expert panel of Glenn Healy, Doug MacLean, Darren Pang and Craig Simpson as they debate and discuss the big moves

Analytics – Damien Cox will dissect the trades of the day, using analytics to explain the ins and outs of each trade and how each player fulfills a team’s needs

In the Hot Seat - George Stroumboulopoulos will provide insightful interviews and discussions throughout the day

Digital Zone – Sophia Jurksztowicz will keep a pulse on the fan reaction on social media

Around the League –Sportsnet’s comprehensive network of reporters will check in from across the League to share reactions in real-time
NHL Network’s full breakdown of the day’s transactions will begin at 6 p.m. ET with NHL Tonight™: 2014-15 Trade Deadline Day Recap Show, hosted by Mike Kelly and analyst Craig Button from the NHL Network’s studios in Toronto. Starting at 10 p.m. ET, NHL Tonight 2014-15 Trade Deadline Day with Mark Roe and Kevin Weekes will recap the day of trades and deliver highlights from the NHL action on the ice.

NHL Network-U.S. Schedule for 2015 NHL Trade Deadline
All Times Eastern

Monday, March 2
8 a.m.-6 p.m. Simulcast of Sportsnet’s Hockey Central Trade Deadline (U.S. only)
6 p.m. NHL Tonight™: 2014-15 Trade Deadline Day Recap Show
10 p.m. NHL Tonight 2014-15 Trade Deadline Day

NHL Social
The NHL Social™ team will provide fans with up to date information on official trade announcements and editorial coverage on Twitter (@NHL), Facebook (NHL), and Snapchat (‘NHL’). Fans, media, and broadcasters are encouraged to join in the conversation with the official hashtag #NHLtrade across social media. 

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ESPN 2015 Sunday Night Baseball Schedule Update: Cardinals at Pirates, Red Sox at Angels

ESPN-MLBSt. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates 7/12; Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 7/19

Trout, Ortiz, McCutchen, Heyward on Baseball’s Biggest Stage

ESPN announced today its game selections for the July 12 and July 19 editions of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell. On July 12, the St. Louis Cardinals and new addition Jason Heyward will visit the Pittsburgh Pirates and perennial All-Star Andrew McCutchen. On July 19, two of Major League Baseball’s biggest superstars square off as the Boston Red Sox and slugger David Ortiz will visit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the dynamic Mike Trout.

The 8 p.m. ET telecasts will air on ESPN with Dan Shulman, analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney providing commentary. Sunday Night Baseball – in its 26th season – is the exclusive, national Major League Baseball game of the week.

Sunday Night Baseball is also available on ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio and WatchESPN. Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet previews Sunday Night Baseball at 7 p.m.

Current 2015 Sunday Night Baseball schedule:

Date Game
Apr. 5 St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Opening Night presented by Scotts (ESPN2)
Apr. 12 Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees presented by Taco Bell
Apr. 19 Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals presented by Taco Bell
Apr. 26 New York Mets at New York Yankees presented by Taco Bell
May 3 New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox presented by Taco Bell
May 10 Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers presented by Taco Bell
May 17 Detroit Tigers at St. Louis Cardinals presented by Taco Bell
May 24 Texas Rangers at New York Yankees presented by Taco Bell
May 31 Detroit Tigers at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim presented by Taco Bell (ESPN2)
*July 12 St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates presented by Taco Bell
*July 19 Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim presented by Taco Bell

*New selections

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SiriusXM Announces 2015 MLB Spring Training Tour

SIRIUS XM RADIO LOGO

Annual tour begins March 1; MLB Network Radio channel visits all 30 MLB Spring Training camps in 26 days

Hosts on tour include former GMs Jim Bowden, Jim Duquette and Steve Phillips; World Series Champion outfielder Todd Hollandsworth; Mike Ferrin and Casey Stern

NEW YORK – February 26, 2015 – SiriusXM, the only radio broadcaster delivering live play-by-play of every MLB regular season game from every team, announced today the broadcast schedule for its annual MLB Spring Training Tour, which will begin March 1 and offer the most comprehensive coverage available in radio.

SiriusXM’s exclusive 24-hour baseball talk channel, MLB Network Radio, will broadcast from ballparks in Arizona and Florida to deliver baseball fans an in-depth look at all 30 Major League Baseball clubs and one-on-one interviews with managers, players and executives.  MLB Network Radio is available nationwide on satellite radios (XM channel 89, Sirius channel 209) and on the SiriusXM app.  Follow the channel on Twitter @MLBNetworkRadio.

SiriusXM’s Casey Stern and former Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden will broadcast from Arizona’s Cactus League ballparks from March 1-8 and Florida’s Grapefruit League ballparks from March 20-26.  Former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips and former Rookie of the Year and World Series champion outfielder Todd Hollandsworth will be at Florida sites from March 9-16Mike Ferrin and former New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles general manager Jim Duquette will broadcast from Arizona ballparks from March 17-23.

A schedule of all spring training tour shows can be found here: www.SiriusXM.com/MLBNetworkRadio.  All spring training shows will be available to subscribers on SiriusXM On Demand after they debut.

SiriusXM offers live play-by-play of every regular and postseason MLB game, as well as select spring training and Spanish-language game broadcasts, on both Sirius and XM satellite radios.  Through SiriusXM’s agreement with MLBAM, MLB play-by-play is also available to all subscribers on the SiriusXM app and online at SiriusXM.com.

2015 SiriusXM Spring Training Tour Schedule: (All times ET)

Sunday, Mar. 1

  • Angels – Tempe, AZ

8-10 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

Monday, Mar. 2

  • Giants – Scottsdale, AZ

7-9 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

Tuesday, Mar. 3

  • Brewers – Maryvale, AZ

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern and Jim Bowden

Wednesday, Mar. 4

  • Padres – Peoria, AZ

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

Thursday, Mar. 5

  • Royals – Surprise, AZ

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

 

Friday, Mar. 6

  • Rangers – Surprise, AZ

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

 

Saturday, Mar. 7

  • White Sox – Glendale, AZ

7-9 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

 

Sunday, Mar. 8

  • Athletics – Mesa, AZ

8-10 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

 

Monday, Mar. 9

  • Yankees – Tampa, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Steve Phillips & Todd Hollandsworth

 

Tuesday, Mar. 10

  • Blue Jays – Dunedin, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Steve Phillips & Todd Hollandsworth

Wednesday, Mar. 11

  • Phillies– Clearwater, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Steve Phillips & Todd Hollandsworth

Thursday, Mar. 12

  • Rays – Port Charlotte, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Steve Phillips & Todd Hollandsworth

Friday, Mar. 13

  • Pirates – Bradenton, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Steve Phillips & Todd Hollandsworth

Saturday, Mar. 14

  • Orioles – Sarasota, FL

7-9 pm with hosts Steve Phillips & Todd Hollandsworth

Sunday, Mar. 15

  • Twins – Fort Myers, FL

8-10 pm with hosts Steve Phillips & Todd Hollandsworth

Monday, Mar. 16

  • Red Sox – Fort Myers, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Steve Phillips & Todd Hollandsworth

Tuesday, Mar. 17

  • Cubs – Mesa, AZ

5-7 pm with hosts Mike Ferrin & Jim Duquette

Wednesday, Mar. 18

  • Mariners – Peoria, AZ

5-7 pm with hosts Mike Ferrin & Jim Duquette

Thursday, Mar. 19

  • Reds – Goodyear, AZ

5-7 pm with hosts Mike Ferrin & Jim Duquette

 

Friday, Mar. 20

  • Astros – Kissimmee, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

  • Rockies – Scottsdale, AZ

7-9 pm with hosts Mike Ferrin & Jim Duquette

Saturday, Mar. 21

  • Tigers – Lakeland, FL

7-9 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

  • Indians – Goodyear, AZ

9-11 pm with hosts Mike Ferrin & Jim Duquette

Sunday, Mar. 22

  • Braves – Lake Buena Vista, FL

8-10 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

  • Diamondbacks – Scottsdale, AZ

10-12 pm with hosts Mike Ferrin & Jim Duquette

Monday, Mar. 23

  • Nationals – Viera, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

  • Dodgers – Glendale, AZ

7-9 pm with hosts Mike Ferrin & Jim Duquette

Tuesday, Mar. 24

  • Mets – Port St. Lucie, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

Wednesday, Mar. 25

  • Cardinals – Jupiter, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

Thursday, Mar. 26

  • Marlins – Jupiter, FL

5-7 pm with hosts Casey Stern & Jim Bowden

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