MLB Network July Games Include July 4th Matchup & Uecker In-Booth with Costas

mlb-networkINDEPENDENCE DAY MORNING matchup AND key intra-divisional battles headline MLB NETWORK’S JULY GAME SCHEDULE

Hall of Fame Award-Winning Broadcaster Bob Uecker to Make Guest Booth Appearance with Bob Costas on MLB Network Showcase on July 11                                                                                                           

Secaucus, N.J., June 26, 2014 – As teams look to identify themselves as buyers or sellers leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, MLB Network’s July game schedule  will feature key intra-divisional games, a July 4th National League morning matchup, and Interleague games showcasing the league’s best teams: Highlights include:

  • The NL-leading Milwaukee Brewers, who have posted an NL best 15-9 record in June, visit Jose Bautista and the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, July 1 at 1:00 p.m. ET, live from the Rogers Centre. MLB Network Showcase  will feature the Brewers hosting the St. Louis Cardinals in an NL Central showdown on Friday, July 11 at 8:00p.m. ET, with Hall of Fame award-winning broadcaster Bob Uecker scheduled to make a guest booth appearance with Bob Costas during the game.
  • The MLB action on Independence Day, Friday, July 4, begins when the NL East-leading Washington Nationals host the Chicago Cubs at 11:00 a.m. ET. Later in the day, MLB Tonight will air live at 4:00 p.m. ET followed by Quick Pitch, MLB Network’s highlights show of record, recapping the great fielding and scoring plays from the day.
  • Every Division-leading and Wild Card-leading team will be featured, including the AL Central-first place Detroit Tigers hosting Yasiel Puig and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET, and again on Wednesday, July 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Later that week, the Oakland Athletics visit the San Francisco Giants in a Bay Area showdown on Thursday, July 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
  • MLB Network Showcase features four games in July, including the NL Wild Card-leading Cardinals and Dodgers meeting on Friday, July 18 at 8:00 p.m. ET, live from Busch Stadium with Bob Costas, Tom Verducci and Sam Ryan on the call.

NFL Media Programming Notes — June 23-29

 

NFL_Network_2012_Logo

NFL MEDIA PROGRAMMING NOTES

(6/23-6/29)

 

  • NFL Network Shows & Scheduled Guests

The Top 100 Players of 2014 Wednesday, June 25

  9:00 PM ET – Players ranked #30-21 revealed

10:00 PM ET The Top 100 Players of 2014 Reactions show 

  • NFL AM

Wednesday, June 25

  • Guest: Hall of Fame LB and former HC Mike Singletary
  • NFL Total Access

Monday, June 23

  • Guest: NewEngland PatriotsWR Julian Edelman

Tuesday, June 24

  • Guest Analyst: Hall of Fame LB and former HC Mike Singletary
  • Guest: FormerPro Bowl WR Torry Holt

Wednesday, June 25

  • Guest: Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana
  • A Football Life – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
  • America’s Game: 1990-1999 – Monday-Friday at 6:00 PM ET and 7:00 PM ET
  • Super Bowl Classics Special Edition: Super Bowl XXXIV
  • Friday, June 27 live at 9:00 PM ET
  • Re-airs Sunday, June 29 at 7:00 PM ET
  • NFL Network’s Day-by-Day Programming
  • NFL.com Content
  •  NFL.com Editorial Content
  • NFL.com Podcast Central featuring The Rich Eisen Podcast and Six Total Podcasts
  • NFL Mobile from Verizon

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The Top 100 Players of 2014 – Wednesday, June 25 at 9:00 PM ET*

For the fourth consecutive year, current NFL players have voted to determine the top 100 players in the NFL on NFL Network’s The Top 100 Players of 2014.

The 11-episode, weekly series airs Wednesdays at 9:00 PM ET, followed by The Top 100 Players of 2014 Reactions show at 10:00 PM ET with host Lindsay Rhodes and analysts Kurt Warner and Warren Sapp.

This week, players ranked #30-21 are revealed.  Among those revealed are:

  • An offensive player making his debut on the Top 100 list.
  • Two players who have played for at least nine years in the league.
  • Three players who each had at least eight sacks last year.

For the players ranked #100-41, visit: http://top100.nfl.com/tracker

Last week, players ranked #40-31 were announced:

40. Ndamukong Suh – Detroit Lions, DT

39. Joe Haden – Cleveland Browns, CB

38. Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals, WR

37. Darrelle Revis – New England Patriots, CB

36. Brandon Marshall – Chicago Bears, WR

35. Lavonte David – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, OLB

34. Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers, QB

33. Aldon Smith – San Francisco 49ers, OLB

32. Kyle Williams – Buffalo Bills, DT

31. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers, QB

Returning for the third season, Player Rater – anonymous NFL player(s) – will be prominent throughout The Top 100 Players of 2014 series to give unfiltered reaction to the rankings of his peers. Under the Twitter handle@PlayerRater14">@PlayerRater14, the unidentified, current NFL player will live tweet during each episode. In The Top 100 Players of 2014 Reactions show, the Player Rater will further elaborate on his tweets featured during the episode.

Through the NFL Mobile from Verizon app, fans can watch all NFL Network programming, including The Top 100 Players of 2014 series, on the go.

Fans can vote on the greatest players going into the 2014 NFL Season at NFL.com/Top100. Each week, results will be shown on The Top 100 Players of 2014 Reactions show. Additionally, after players are unveiled at their specific rankings, fans can vote for the most overrated and underrated players.

NFL AM – Daily Episodes at 6:00 AM ET; Re-Airs at 10:00 AM ET

Start the day off with the NFL. NFL AM airs Monday – Friday at 6:00 AM ET offering analysis, reports from correspondents in several NFL cities and interviews with players and coaches.

This week, the following guests join the show:

Monday, June 23

  • Host: Andrew Siciliano
  • Analysts: Steve Wyche, Terrell Davis & Jordan Babineaux

Tuesday, June 24

  • Host: Nicole Zaloumis & Molly Qerim
  • Analysts: Steve Wyche, Terrell Davis & Jordan Babineaux

Wednesday, June 25

  • Host: Nicole Zaloumis & Molly Qerim
  • Analysts: Mark Kriegel, Terrell Davis & Jordan Babineaux
  • Guest Analyst: Hall of Fame LB and former HC Mike Singletary

Thursday, June 26

  • Hosts: Nicole Zaloumis & Molly Qerim
  • Analysts: Steve Wyche, Shawne Merriman & Curtis Conway

Friday, June 27

  • Host: Molly Qerim
  • Analysts: Steve Wyche, Shawne Merriman & Curtis Conway

For more updates throughout the week, please follow @InsideNFLMedia

NFL Total Access – Monday – Friday at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network

NFL Total Access airs Monday – Saturday at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network and offers analysis, reports from correspondents in several NFL cities and interviews with players and coaches.

Monday, June 23

  • Host: Dan Hellie
  • Analysts: Shawne Merriman & Curtis Conway
  • Guest: New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman

Tuesday, June 24

  • Host: Dan Hellie
  • Analysts: Shawne Merriman & Curtis Conway
  • Guest Analyst: Hall of Fame LB and former HC Mike Singletary
  • Guest: Former Pro Bowl WR Torry Holt

Wednesday, June 25

  • Hosts: Dan Hellie
  • Analysts: Shaun O’Hara & Willie McGinest
  • Guest: Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana

Thursday, June 26

  • Host: Scott Hanson
  • Analysts: Shaun O’Hara & Willie McGinest

Friday, June 27

  • Host: Scott Hanson
  • Analysts: Shaun O’Hara & Willie McGinest

Saturday, June 21 – Week in Review

For more updates throughout the week, please follow @InsideNFLMedia

A Football Life –Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday

Monday, June 23

  • A Football LifeBarry Sanders at 9:00 PM ET
  • A Football LifeMarcus Allen at10:00 PM ET

Tuesday, June 24

  • A Football LifeJimmy Johnsonat 9:00 PM ET
  • A Football LifeGreat Wall of Dallas at10:00 PM ET

Thursday, June 26

  • A Football LifeDerrick Thomas at 9:00 PM ET
  • A Football LifeRandall Cunningham at10:00 PM ET

Friday, June 27

  • A Football LifeKurt Warner at5:00 PM ET

America’s Game: 1990-1999 – Monday-Friday 6:00-8:00 PM ET

Monday, June 23

  • America’s Game 1990 Giants at 6:00 PM ET
  • America’s Game 1991 Redskins at7:00 PM ET

Tuesday, June 24

  • America’s Game 1992 Cowboys at 6:00 PM ET
  • America’s Game 1993 Cowboys at7:00 PM ET

Wednesday, June 25

  • America’s Game 1994 49ers at 6:00 PM ET
  • America’s Game 1995 Cowboys at7:00 PM ET

Thursday, June 26

  • America’s Game 1996 Packers at 5:00 PM ET
  • America’s Game 1997 Broncos at6:00 PM ET
  • America’s Game 1998 Broncosat 7:00 PM ET

Friday, June 27

  • America’s Game 1999 Rams at7:00 PM ET

Super Bowl Classics Special Edition: Super Bowl XXXIV – Friday, June 27 at 9:00 PM ET

On Friday, June 27, the Super Bowl Classics Special Edition: Super Bowl XXXIV airs at 9:00 PM ET. The two-hour show hosted by Paul Burmeister features Super Bowl XXXIV MVP Kurt Warner, wide receiver Isaac Bruce and other former Rams players watching the replay of Super Bowl XXXIV while providing their emotions, stories and thoughts about the game LIVE as it replays. The show will also feature former players tweeting their memories from the game live, as well fun pop culture facts from 1999.

NFL Network Programming Schedule 

Day-by-Day Programming Schedule:

To view the entire NFL Network programming schedule, please visit: http://www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/networkschedule

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NFL Editorial Content – Daily on NFL.com

  • NFL.com’s Around the League Blog
      • “Making the Leap” articles profiling the Top 25 players who the writers see making a leap in 2014, visit: http://on.nfl.com/1s36636
  • Top 20 Games of 2013:http://on.nfl.com/SLgSuH
      • NFL Network will feature games No. 10 through No. 1 in an all-day marathon from 6:00 AM ET to 10:00 PM ET on Sunday, July 6.
  • NFL.com’s College Football 24/7
    • For all of the analysis recapping the 2014 NFL Draft, and for the latest news leading up to the 2014 College Football season, visit: http://www.nfl.com/cfb247

Catch all of NFL Media’s writers work here:  http://www.nfl.com/news

The Rich Eisen Podcast Highlights NFL.com’s Six Different Podcasts Each Week

NFL Digital Media offers six different podcasts, including The Rich Eisen Podcast which has amassed more than 11 million downloads and can be downloaded at NFL.com and iTunes.

NFL.com podcasts include:

  • The Dave Dameshek Football Program
  • Around the League
  • The Coaches Show
  • College Football 24/7
  • NFL Fantasy Live

To listen to all six of NFL.com’s podcasts, visit:

http://www.nfl.com/podcast

USA-Portugal: Most-Viewed Soccer Match Ever in U.S.

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnUSA-Portugal: Most-Viewed Soccer Match Ever in U.S.
  • ESPN Telecast Averages 18,220,000 Viewers and Peaks with 22,961,000 viewers
  • Match Generates WatchESPN Viewership Records
  • Most-viewed Non-Football Telecast on ESPN Ever
  • Significant Viewership Growth Over 2010 and 2006, including in All Key Demos
  • Sets Rating Record in 18 markets; Washington, D.C.; New York and San Francisco Highest-Rated Thru 32 Games
 
ESPN’s telecast of the United States’ 2-2 tie against Portugal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Sunday, June 22, is the most-viewed soccer match in the United States ever, across all networks, averaging 18,220,000 viewers based on a 9.6 HH US rating. It surpassed the previous high of 17,975,000 viewers for the 1999 Women’s World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC. Additional television highlights:
 
  • The telecast peaked from 7:30 to 8 p.m. ET with an average of 22,961,000 viewers and an 11.9 HH US rating.
  • The match is ESPN’s most-viewed program excluding NFL and college football telecasts.
  • While Sunday’s 9.6 HH US rating is the highest-rated men’s soccer telecast ever (topping a 9.5 for Italy vs. Brazil in the 1994 final), it is the second highest-rated soccer match overall behind an 11.4 HH US rating for 1999 Women’s World Cup final (USA vs. China) on ABC.
  • The first 2014 FIFA World Cup match involving the United States (a 2-1 victory over Ghana) averaged 11,093,000 viewers and a 6.3 HH US rating, making it the highest-rated and most-viewed men’s soccer match on ESPN or ESPN2 on record at the time.
 
In addition to setting a television viewership record, Sunday’s match also set product records on WatchESPN with a 490,000 average minute audience, and total of 1,373,000 viewers and 61,691,000 minutes viewed.
 
Significant Television Viewership Increases Over 2010 and 2006
Overall, ESPN’s 2014 World Cup coverage is posting significant viewership increases over 2010 and 2006. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have combined to average 4,273,000 viewers and a 2.6 HH US rating through the first 32 matches, marking increases of 50 percent and 109 percent (vs. 2,857,000 in 2010 and 2,048,000 in 2006), and 44 percent and 86 percent (vs. 1.8 in 2010 and 1.4 in 2006), respectively.
 
In addition, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC have posted significant audience increases in every key people and male demographic, highlighted by double-digit growth in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 categories.
 
WatchESPN Growth Over 2010
WatchESPN has averaged 259,000 viewers in the average minute across 32 World Cup matches, which represents a six percent lift over the ESPN Networks’ English language TV audience for a total of 4,533,000 viewers across TV and WatchESPN.
 
In addition, WatchESPN has posted a 158 percent increase in viewers and 167 percent in minutes through the first 32 games, averaging 759,000 viewers and 33,319,000 minutes viewed per match.
 
Success beyond USA Matches
In addition to Sunday’s record telecast, ESPN tied the record for the highest-rated World Cup match not involving the United States on ESPN or ESPN2, averaging a 3.4 US HH rating and 5,735,000 viewers for Germany vs. Ghana on Saturday, June 21 (tied with the 2006 Italy vs. Germany semifinal). Overall, the 2014 World Cup coverage has delivered six of the highest-rated and most-viewed Group Play matches not involving a United States team on ESPN and ESPN2.
 
Metered Markets
Washington, D.C., led all markets for ESPN’s USA vs. Portugal telecast with a 13.3 rating, followed by Columbus (12.6), New York (12.5), Boston (11.5), Hartford/New Haven (11.3), Providence (11.2), Atlanta (11.1), Baltimore (11.0), Norfolk (10.5), Orlando (10.5) and Sacramento (10.5).
 
Eighteen markets recorded their highest overnight rating for a World Cup match on ESPN or ESPN2, including seven that were among the top 10 largest for the telecast: Columbus, Boston, Hartford/New Haven, Providence, Atlanta, Baltimore and Sacramento. The additional 11, ordered by highest rating: Kansas City (10.1), Dayton (8.9), St. Louis (8.7), Jacksonville (8.4), Tampa/St. Petersburg (8.3), Nashville (7.8), Greenville (7.6), Greensboro (7.5), Memphis (7.5), Pittsburgh (6.9) and Birmingham (5.8).
 
Overall, Washington, D.C., continues to lead all markets for matches on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC through the first 32 games with a 5.0 average rating, followed by New York (4.3), San Francisco (4.1), Orlando (3.8), Los Angeles (3.7), Hartford/New Haven (3.7), Atlanta (3.6), San Diego (3.5), Boston (3.5), West Palm Beach (3.5) and Richmond (3.5).
 
Upcoming ESPN World Cup Coverage
ESPN’s FIFA World Cup coverage continues this week with two matches at 11:30 a.m. and two at 3:30 p.m. each day from today through the completion of Group Play on Thursday, June 26. The match for the United States (against Germany) airs on Thursday, June 26, at 11:30 a.m. (on ESPN).
 
ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of the tournament includes all 64 matches televised live on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, as well as 54 matches on ESPN Deportes and another 10 on ESPN Deportes+.  ABC’s matches will also available on WATCH ABC. Schedule.
 
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ESPN TV and Radio Commentators for 2014 FIFA World Cup, Through June 26

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnESPN’s month-long coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil continues with of Group Stage matches, culminating Thursday, June 26. Lead play-by-play commentator Ian Darke and analyst Taylor Twellman will call the much-anticipated United States vs. Portugal match from Manaus on Sunday, June 22, at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, while JP Dellacamera and Tommy Smyth will provide commentary on ESPN Radio’s broadcast of the match. Other weekend highlights:

  • Jon Champion and Stewart Robson will call Germany vs. Ghana, a key match in Group G, on Saturday, June 21, at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN;
  • Fernando Palomo and Alejandro Moreno, ESPN’s English-language commentating team for Mexican National Team matches, will describe the action from Croatia vs. Mexico, a decisive Group A match,on Monday, June 23, at 3:30 a.m. on ESPN;
  • Darke and Steve McManaman will call Costa Rica vs. England on Tuesday, June 24, at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN2;

ESPN’s comprehensive coverage of the tournament includes all 64 matches televised live on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, as well as 54 matches on ESPN Deportes and another 10 on ESPN Deportes+.  ESPN Radio is also broadcasting all 64 matches.

ESPN 2014 FIFA World Cup Media Kit

2014 WORLD CUP TV SCHEDULE – ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC (All matches also airing on ESPN Radio)

u  All times EASTERN  u  Schedule is subject to change  u  ABC Sports broadcasts in italics

Date Time (ET) Network Match Group Site Match #
Fri 6/20 11:30 a.m. ESPN Italy vs. Costa Rica

TV: Derek Rae, Kasey Keller
Radio: JP Dellacamera, Tommy Smyth

D Recife 24
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Switzerland vs. France

TV: Daniel Mann, Efan Ekoku
Radio: Ross Dyer, Shep Messing

E Salvador 25
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Honduras vs. Ecuador

TV: Fernando Palomo, Alejandro Moreno
Radio: Mark Donaldson, Janusz Michallik

E Curitiba 26
Sat 6/21 11:30 a.m. ESPN Argentina vs. Iran

TV: Adrian Healey, Roberto Martinez
Radio: Donaldson, Michallik

F Belo Horizonte 27
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Germany vs. Ghana

TV: Jon Champion, Stewart Robson
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

G Fortaleza 29
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina

TV: Mann, Ekoku
Radio: Dyer, Messing

F Cuiaba 28
Sun 6/22 11:30 a.m. ABC Belgium vs. Russia

TV: Rae, Ekoku
Radio: Donaldon, Paul Mariner

H Rio de Janeiro 31
  2:30 p.m. ABC South Korea vs. Algeria

TV: Mann, Keller
Radio: Dyer, Michallik

H Porto Alegre 32
  5:30 p.m. ESPN United States vs. Portugal

TV: Darke, Taylor Twellman
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

G Manaus 30
Mon 6/23 11:30 a.m. ESPN Netherlands vs. Chile

TV: Champion, Robson
Radio: Dyer, Messing

B Sao Paulo 36
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Australia vs. Spain

TV: Mann, Keller
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

B Curitiba 35
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Croatia vs. Mexico

TV: Palomo, Moreno
Radio: Donaldson, Michallik

A Recife 34
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Cameroon vs. Brazil

TV: Healey, Ekoku
Radio: Dyer, Messing

A Brasilia 33
Tue 6/24 11:30 a.m. ESPN Italy vs. Uruguay

TV: Champion, Robson
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

D Natal 39
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Costa Rica vs. England

TV: Darke, Steve McManaman
Radio: Dyer, Michallik

D Belo Horizonte 40
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Japan vs. Colombia

TV: Mann, Twellman
Radio: Donaldson, Mariner

C Cuiaba 37
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Greece vs. Ivory Coast

TV: Rae, Keller
Radio: Dyer, Michallik

C Fortaleza 38
Wed 6/25 11:30 a.m. ESPN Nigeria vs. Argentina

TV: Rae, Ekoku
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

F Porto Alegre 43
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran

TV: Mann, Craig Burley
Radio: Dyer, Messing

F Salvador 44
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Ecuador vs. France

TV: Healey, Moreno
Radio: Dyer, Messing

E Rio de Janeiro 42
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Honduras vs. Switzerland

TV: Palomo, Keller
Radio: Donaldson, Michallik

E Manaus 41
Thu 6/26 11:30 a.m. ESPN United States vs. Germany

TV: Darke, Twellman
Radio: Dellacamera, Smyth

G Recife 45
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Portugal vs. Ghana

TV: Champion, Robson
Radio: Dyer, Messing

G Brasilia 46
  3:30 p.m. ESPN South Korea vs. Belgium

TV: Healey, Moreno
Radio: Donaldson, Mariner

H Sao Paulo 47
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Algeria vs. Russia

TV: Rae, Ekoku
Radio: Dyer, Messing

H Curitiba 48

 

ESPN Inc.’s 2014 FIFA World Cup in the United States

The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be ESPN’s eighth World Cup and most comprehensive presentation to date.  ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to air all 64 matches live and in high definition (June 12 – July 13). All ESPN and ESPN2 games will be available on WatchESPN, while ABC matches will be available on WATCH ABC. ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network available in more than 85 million homes, will present matches live in multiple languages (other than English and Spanish).

ESPN’s presentation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will include comprehensive news and information coverage of the month-long soccer showcase with renowned journalists reporting on the tournament and the host country of Brazil. Additional English-language coverage of the quadrennial event will total more than 90 hours of original programming and will include SportsCenter at the World Cup,anightly World Cup Tonight program, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, a 30-minute pre-match show, halftime and post-match segments, as well as a World Cup-branded ESPN Films 30 for 30: Soccer Stories series, E:60 shows, and access-driven long-form storytelling features.

ESPN garnered more than 40 industry awards, including three Sports Emmys, for its presentation of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – more accolades than any single event in the company’s history.

ESPN and Past FIFA World Cup Tournaments (Men’s):

South Africa 2010 – All 64 matches live and in high definition. All studio programming originated from South Africa

Germany ’06 – All 64 matches live and in high definition

Korea/Japan ’02 – 58 ESPN and ESPN2 matches live (six tape-delayed broadcasts on ABC)

France ’98 – ESPN 27, ESPN2 23 and ABC Sports 14 (all 64 matches live)

USA ’94 – ESPN, 41, and ABC, 11 (all 52 matches)

Mexico ’86 – ESPN, 15 matches (U.S. cable television rights)

Spain ’82 – ESPN, 7 matches

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Award-Winning College Sports Writer Stewart Mandel to Join FOXSports.com

fox-sports-logoAWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST AND POPULAR COLLEGE SPORTS WRITER STEWART MANDEL TO JOIN FOXSPORTS.COM

Mandel Will Be Senior Columnist Focusing on College Football and College Basketball

New York – Stewart Mandel, one of the nation’s leading college football and basketball writers, will join FOXSports.com as a senior columnist, it was announced today.  He will make his FOXSports.com debut in July.

“FOX Sports is one of the dominant media companies in college sports today,” said Mandel.  “FOXSports.com is a great platform for me to continue writing compelling stories to reach a rabid college sports fan base.”

“Stewart is one of the best college sports writers in the business, and we’re thrilled to have him,” said Pete Vlastelica, Executive Vice President, Digital, FOX Sports.  “Stewart’s opinions and analysis are going to strengthen FOXSports.com’s already formidable team covering college sports.”

Mandel joins Bruce Feldman, one of the nation’s leading college football journalists, and Clay Travis, long-time SEC blogger and outspoken TV and radio personality, in comprising a team for FOX Sports that rivals that of any other covering college football today.

Mandel joins FOXSports.com from Sports Illustrated, where he was a senior writer for SI.com and where he frequently contributed to the magazine.  “College Football Mailbag” and “College Football Overtime” were among his most popular features.  During his career, Mandel has covered 15 BCS national championship games and eight Final Fours.

Mandel’s first book, Bowls, Polls and Tattered Souls: Tackling the Chaos and Controversy That Reign Over College Football, was published in 2007.  In 2008, he took first place (enterprise category) and second place (game story) in the Football Writers Association of America’s annual writing contest.  He also placed first in the 2005 contest (columns).

Mandel graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in journalism.

Recent Stewart Mandel Columns: His Hand-Picked Favorites

- FOX SPORTS -

Tennis Channel’s Nightly Wimbledon Primetime Begins Monday, June 23, At 4 P.M. ET

tennis-channelTENNIS CHANNEL’S NIGHTLY WIMBLEDON PRIMETIME
 BEGINS MONDAY, JUNE 23, AT 4 P.M. ET

Network to Devote 85 First-Run Hours, and Close to 215 Overall, to World’s Most Prestigious Grass-Court Competition during Two-Week Tournament

 

Navratilova, Courier, Davenport, Carillo, Macatee, Gimelstob, Stubbs and Wertheim Return to London in Tennis Channel’s Seventh Year, Along with Newcomer Annacone

LOS ANGELES, June 16, 2014 -Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will Bill Macatee dedicate close to 215 hours to Wimbledon during its seventh year of nightly Wimbledon Primetime coverage. Beginning with the opening day of play, Monday, June 23, the three-and-a-half-hour show will air each evening of the two-week competition, followed by immediate replays that run throughout the late night and early morning. The network plans 85 first-run Wimbledon Primetime hours in 2014, beginning at 4 p.m. ET the first night.

 

Since its debut in 2008, Tennis Channel’s first year of covering the sport’s oldest major, Wimbledon Primetime has been hosted by renowned sportscaster Bill Macatee (@BMacatee) and offered a nightly recap of each day’s action. News, analysis, in-depth interviews and encore matches are interwoven with features and special segments to give American tennis audiences – typically at work while Wimbledon play takes place in London – a primetime television place to keep abreast of the tournament as it unfolds. In addition to Macatee’s conversational approach and analysis from Hall of Famers Martina Navratilova (@Martina) and Jim Courier, Wimbledon Primetime‘s signatures include Mary Carillo’s “Fleet Street Beat” panels with British media and daily “Unstrung” reports from Sports Illustrated‘s Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim).

 

Based in the largest on-site studio on the grounds of the hallowed All England Lawn and Tennis Club, Wimbledon Primetime‘s other on-air team members include newly elected Hall of Famer Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76), who won singles and doubles crowns at the event in 1999, and 2001 and 2004 Wimbledon doubles champion Rennae Stubbs (@rennaestubbs). Former player Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) also returns and, along with Macatee and Navratilova, has been a part of Tennis Channel’s team at every Grand Slam event the network has covered. Coach Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone), who at different points helmed the careers of legends Pete Sampras and Roger Federer and now guides young American star Sloane Stephens, will appear regularly on Wimbledon Primetime for the first time this year.

 

Wimbledon Primetime typically runs in two editions each night of the two-week event, from 4 p.m. ET-7:30 p.m. ET and 7:30 p.m. ET-11 p.m. ET. There are three exceptions: the match-free, mid-tournament break Sunday, June 29, and championship weekend Saturday, July 5, and Sunday, July 6. For the final weekend a single four-hour show will air from 6 p.m. ET-10 p.m. ET. Each evening, immediately following its first-run conclusion, Wimbledon Primetime will re-air throughout the night and early morning up to the following day’s play.

 

After the final edition of Wimbledon Primetime on Sunday, July 6, Tennis Channel will air a one-hour roundtable with network analysts at 10 p.m. ET. The conversation will review the fortnight in London and look ahead to the upcoming men’s and women’s summer hard-court seasons. Also new in 2014, special five-minute Center Court Wimbledon reports will run at 8 p.m. ET during the weekend leading into the tournament, Friday through Sunday, June 20-22. Additionally, on Saturday, June 21, Tennis Channel will televise the U.S. premiere of BBC documentary Andy Murray: Behind the Racquet, which offers an inside look at the first British man to win Wimbledon in almost eight decades. The film will run at 10 p.m. ET and again Sunday, June 22, at 11:30 p.m. ET – commercial free both nights.

 

During Wimbledon, Apple and Android users can access Tennis Channel’s app, Tennis Channel Everywhere, for free, regardless of whether or not they currently subscribe to the network. The app offers highlights, daily updates, Court Report news segments and player Bag Check videos. Select distribution partners also have made Tennis Channel’s live television stream available on the app through its authenticated TV Everywhere function, at no extra charge.

 

The network’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com, is another digital venue for keeping up with Wimbledon this year. In addition to daily interviews and segments from Wimbledon Primetime, visitors can enter Tennis Channel’s “London Calling” sweepstakes and “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game. Longtime tennis reporters Steve Flink, Joel Drucker (@joeldrucker) and Richard Evans (@Ringham7) will again file regular columns on the network site in 2014 as well. Tennis Channel is active on a variety of social media and digital platforms, among them Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel), YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel), Instagram (http://instagram.com/tennischannel) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/tennischannel)

 

Tennis Channel will devote 18 hours to the All England Lawn and Tennis Club’s hour-long daily highlights program throughout the tournament, typically from 11 p.m.-midnight ET, followed by encore replays on select nights. In the week immediately following the tournament, July 7-11, each night at 8 p.m. ET the network will air encore presentations of the men’s and women’s singles and doubles championships, as well as the mixed doubles final.

   Jim Courier-TC    Navratilova

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Emirates Airline US Open Series, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, top-tier WTA competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 video providers.

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ESPN / Wimbledon Conference Call with Chrissie Evert, John McEnroe

espn-logoESPN / Wimbledon Conference Call with Chrissie Evert, John McEnroe

Starts Monday, Exclusively on ESPN Networks

Both Pick Djokovic, Serena to Win, with Dimitrov, Raonic and Bouchard as Dark Horses

Today, ESPN tennis analysts Chrissie Evert and John McEnroe spoke with media about Wimbledon, which starts Monday, June 23, exclusive to ESPN, with live action on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPN3, plus weekend programming on ABC including same-day reairs of the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Championships.

Topics on the call included:

  • Andy Murray’s recent selection of Amelie Mauresmo as coach.  McEnroe:  “(Like Murray at Wimbledon, Mauresmo) had an extreme amount of pressure on her at the French Open …She wasn’t able to be herself there.  She eventually later in her career was able to succeed and win a couple majors.  From that standpoint she’s got the understanding of what it takes emotionally and mentally to maybe get through and add that extra percent or two.”
  • Evert picks Serena to win her sixth Wimbledon, despite pressure:  “I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure on her because she did not do well in the last two Grand Slams, pretty much had bad losses.  I think all eyes are going to be on how she’s doing.  If she can get through the first week, that’s going to be the big thing.  Once she gets through the first week, gets the ball rolling, gets more comfortable on the grass, she’ll be unbeatable.  She has one thing no other woman player has, she has the serve.  She’s walking on the court 2-Love or 3-Love already.”
  • Wimbledon dark horses to watchMcEnroe:  “(T)wo guys that I think have made the biggest advances, who we’ve been waiting on the longest to potentially do some serious damage at a major event, and they’re starting to show that.  That would be Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov.  Two guys, if they had a little bit of luck, things fell their way, they could make a real run in this tournament.”  Evert:  “I think Bouchard has shown a lot of positives in the last six months as far as stepping up, not being afraid to play the top players, not to be afraid to play on a stadium court, dealing with the pressure so well.  Especially after the French, she almost beat Maria Sharapova.  She likes grass.  She likes to step in and take the ball early.  She has power.  I think she’s one to watch.”
  • McEnroe on the need to recruit the top U.S. athletes to play men’s tennis:  “If you look at Djokovic…you’re looking at the best athletes in their respective countries, like Nadal.  While we’ve had some fine athletes, I think our premiere athletes are going mainly to football and basketball…. If you ask me one thing, I’m sitting here at Randall’s Island where my tennis academy is.  My goal is to go into Harlem, the Bronx, the inner cities and give kids an opportunity, try to get enough corporate sponsorship to allow these kids an opportunity to play because the game itself remains too unaffordable for too many people.”
  • McEnroe on the advantage soccer has vs. tennis, with the World Cup:  “(World Cup) is a perfect example where soccer can flourish to some degree because for the next month there will be a lot of focus on that…When I came up, Davis Cup was the only way you could represent your country in an international competition.  It seems like watching this it’s a damn shame we don’t have something like this or haven’t tried something like this for our sport potentially.”
  • On meeting Brazilian soccer legend Pele.  Evert:  “He was my idol growing up….I loved his attitude.  He had such a sweetness about him, but he was still a killer out there.  I loved everything about him growing up.  I just thought he was a great role model as far as being an athlete both on and off the field.  He’s always been really special.  And I did meet him once and it was very special to me, too.”  McEnroe:  “He’s one of these guys that makes you feel good about everything.  He just has this smile….  The way he played, he was like the Roger Federer on a soccer field.  He was like the most beautiful guy that combined this joie de vivre, and played the way he played…He’s just a wonderful man.  He’s one of those guys that will say something nice about you before he expects you to say something nice about him.”

Q. I would like to hear from both of you on the topic of Andy Murray’s hiring of Mauresmo, what you think about that, and also Murray’s prospects heading into Wimbledon. 

EVERT:  Well, I mean, Mauresmo’s very qualified obviously.  Amélie, she’s been a good coach before.  I think she and Andy click well together.  I like the line he said, My mom, I’ve always had sort of the female influence around me concerning my tennis.  Women listen more, which is probably true.

But the great thing about Andy now is he still has that influence from Lendl.  I think there was nobody better for him at that time, a couple years ago, than Lendl.  What he’s done for his tennis, what he’s done for his fitness and his attitude on the court is incredible.  I think if he continues to carry on with Lendl’s influence and takes what Mauresmo has to offer, I think he’s in a pretty good place right now.

McENROE:  Initially when he hired Ivan, I was taken aback and surprised that he made as bold a move.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought that actually, for a variety of reasons, it would work.  It turned out it did work.  I must say when I was hearing the possibilities of who Andy was going to hire, I was sort of hoping he’d do something out of the ordinary or out of the box like he had done with Lendl.  Not the sort of I don’t want to say same old, same old, ‘retreads’ is not a fair word, but qualified coaches that had been around with a number of other players.  Definitely from that standpoint it really surprised me, however, that he picked her.  I’m not quite as convinced that it’s going to succeed in the way I thought it was with Ivan.

I do think that Chrissie was correct in saying that she’s had a fair amount of coaching experience.  I’m assuming the logistics on some level, if there’s rain delays, et cetera, I don’t know if that means, for example, Amélie Mauresmo would have access to the locker room, would that have to be done somewhere else, coaching before, probably not a whole lot is going to be done.

Clearly it’s a tricky time to walk into a new coaching job because Murray is defending his title.  It was announced just a few hours before the men’s final at the French.  I don’t know how long they knew before that’s what the plan was.  But it seems like the whole thing was orchestrated to a degree.  I don’t know to what degree the decision was made to wait two hours before the men’s final.  It certainly doesn’t give anyone a whole lot of time for the two to get a feel for each other when most if not all of the training would already be done leading up to Wimbledon.

Q. I’m wondering what you think she could bring to the table and would you ever have considered hiring a female coach when you were playing?

McENROE:  I wasn’t one for coaches, male or female.  It was surprising.  I was on the air trying to recall with Mary Carillo when we were doing the finals at the French, I couldn’t remember a time when a woman had been coaching a male.  I believe there was a brief period of time when Billie Jean may have coached Tim Mayotte, I believe.  I think there was one other occasion.  But it’s very rare.  You talk about Andy Murray’s mom.  As far as what she can bring to the table, I suppose there’s certain situations that she’s gone through similar to Andy and Ivan.  That’s part of why I think he hired Ivan, because Ivan having been in the position of having succeeded but not won slams yet at somewhat an advanced stage in tennis terms.  He had credibility because he had been there and knew what it felt like.

I know Mauresmo, there’s a similarity in the sense that she had an extreme amount of pressure on her at the French Open as opposed to Wimbledon, not nearly as much as Andy, but certainly more than most players experience.  She wasn’t able to be herself there.  She eventually later in her career was able to succeed and win a couple majors.  From that standpoint she’s got the understanding of what it takes emotionally and mentally to maybe get through and add that extra percent or two.

I can’t say that I would have thought about it at the time, although I sort of think there’s no reason why not having thought about it.  But at the time when I was playing, I can’t say that we were thinking along those lines.

Q. John, you said you would have liked to have played the best, speaking of Roger Federer at the Open and Nadal at the French.  In an imaginary match, if you were playing them, how would you break them down?  You also said you would want to get into their heads.  How would you do that? 

McENROE:  You’re talking about the most difficult propositions there is in tennis.  Did I say I wanted to play him on clay?  I sometimes put my foot in my mouth.  That may have been one of those occasions.  I thought Borg was tough to beat on clay, watching what he was able to accomplish, until I saw Rafa.  And Roger at Wimbledon or the Open would be an incredible challenge, as would Sampras at Wimbledon, particularly the older courts.  Part of the way to succeed is you have to figure out a way to believe in yourself ultimately.  This is a very mental game.  It comes down to sort of will and desire and belief.  Connors taught me this early in my career.  No matter how badly I thought I wanted it, it seemed like he wanted it more.

I think guys like Murray, Novak, even Rafa, Roger early, they had to become better because they saw how hungry the people in front of them were.  That’s sort of the ultimate test.  My game wouldn’t be that much different if I were to play them because you have to believe in your style of play, trying to take it to them, not allow players to relax.  Sort of the ultimate example of that was Pete, Boris Becker to some degree on the faster courts.  But Pete was the ultimate.  These guys get rhythm and want to wear you down.  You can’t allow that to happen.  You have to make it more of a match where every shot would count and feel like you’re going to do something as soon as you have an opportunity to do that.  That to me it’s the only hope you’d have against players of this nature, the greatest of the greats.

Q. In the spirit of the World Cup, you met Pele a good number of years ago.  How did that meeting compare with other encounters with celebrities? 

EVERT:  He was my idol growing up.  Don’t ask me why.  There are a lot of great, great athletes when I was growing up.  I just loved him.  I loved his attitude.  He had such a sweetness about him, but he was still a killer out there.  I loved everything about him growing up.  I just thought he was a great role model as far as being an athlete both on and off the field.  He’s always been really special.  And I did meet him once and it was very special to me, too.

Q. Apologies for bringing up a topic that’s been well-mined over the years.  On the men’s side, the second ranked American player as we head into Wimbledon is Steve Johnson at 68.  There’s one American male who is seeded.  I’m curious to get your thoughts on that.  Not that we can take hours to dissect this, but what you think needs to change or should change to perhaps address this seeming trend? 

McENROE:  Well, this conference call is only supposed to last an hour, so I’m not sure we have time to discuss that in this particular timeframe.  As an example, I’m watching, a lot of other people are watching some of the World Cup go on right now.  Soccer, slowly but surely is getting into the mindset of more Americans.  Obviously there are a lot of immigrants that have come in from other countries where soccer is a bigger game, as tennis is.

This is a perfect example where soccer can flourish to some degree because for the next month there will be a lot of focus on that.  We never have taken advantage of that.  When I came up, Davis Cup was the only way you could represent your country in an international competition.  It seems like watching this it’s a damn shame we don’t have something like this or haven’t tried something like this for our sport potentially.

It’s not going to be exactly the same format, but the basic idea being all the countries coming together like the World Cup.  That’s one thing that we haven’t done that I think could have helped us.  Clearly over the years the game has become, because of the technology and other reasons that we’ve talked about, more physical and athletic than it’s ever been.  Because of that you need to have better athletes.

If you look at Djokovic, it’s not like I haven’t said this or Chrissie hasn’t said this a bunch of times, you’re looking at the best athletes in their respective countries, like Nadal.  While we’ve had some fine athletes, I think our premiere athletes are going mainly to football and basketball.  Perhaps more and more of the younger ones are coming into soccer at least early on.  It remains to be seen if it becomes a longer-term thing.

If you ask me one thing, I’m sitting here at Randall’s Island where my tennis academy is.  My goal is to go into Harlem, the Bronx, the inner cities and give kids an opportunity, try to get enough corporate sponsorship to allow these kids an opportunity to play because the game itself remains too unaffordable for too many people.

Some of this is cyclical.  Some of it is we’ve done a poor job.  We got maybe spoiled is an accurate word.  We expected there would be more Connors, Pete Samprases, Agassis.  Because of the worldwide interest in sports, if you go back to the ’88 Olympics, when tennis became part of the Olympics again, more countries put more money and resources into it to allow more kids to play tennis, so more countries have more of an interest and they see the upside of it.  That same thing hasn’t happened for us in the U.S.

If you combine all those things.  I’m talking about the male game.  The playing field for women is better than any other sports.  I think that’s why you see two of the greatest athletes that ever played, Venus and Serena.  At worst, they have to be the top two to four.  They’ve done a pretty good job, have had amazing careers.  Then you see some of the younger players.  I can see at my academy, generally you see girls that look to tennis maybe before guys do.  We have to do a better job promoting it.  That’s about half the answer or a third.

EVERT:  I think the expense is one big thing.  I actually have come into contact with a lot of people, a lot of women, when they hear I was a tennis player, they’re like, I wanted to play tennis but it was too expensive for my family.  As a mother of three kids, when my kids were younger, they wanted to do the team sports.  It was more social, more engaging.  They went out and were on a team.  I think a lot of kids are cut out for team sports.  There aren’t a lot of kids cut out for the pressures of an individual sport at such a young age.  Obviously you have to train at a young age if you’re going to be a tennis player.  The fact that tennis probably isn’t even in the top 10 in America as far as popular sports, most watched sports on TV.

John brought up a great point.  Our best athletes are definitely not going into tennis.  They’re going into a lot of different sports.  It’s funny, the Serena, Venus influence as far as the African American influence is starting finally to show up in the women’s game.  Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Taylor Townsend, Victoria Duval, that has started in the last couple years.  So it also depends on who is number one in your sport.  Our number one player in the women’s sport the last 10 years has been either Venus or Serena.  So I think that is a big thing.

I think you’re going to see tennis grow in America.

Q. Could you assess the women’s side at Wimbledon, particularly Maria Sharapova 10 years after her victory.  Can she do it again this year? 

EVERT:  I think it’s going to be an interesting tournament for Serena.  I think there’s going to be a lot of pressure on her because she did not do well in the last two Grand Slams, pretty much had bad losses.  I think all eyes are going to be on how she’s doing.  If she can get through the first week, that’s going to be the big thing.  Once she gets through the first week, gets the ball rolling, gets more comfortable on the grass, she’ll be unbeatable.

She has one thing no other woman player has, she has the serve.  She’s walking on the court 2-Love or 3-Love already.  If the serve is going, the grass is custom made for her.  It frees her up to go for the returns.  She’s athletic, she moves well, she stays down low on the grass.  She’s the best grass court player in my mind right now.

As far as Maria, if she can do a double, the French and Wimbledon, that would be the greatest year she’ll ever have in her life.  That would be an incredible feat for her.  Number one, is she going to have a letdown after winning the French?  Number two, remember all the slipping and sliding, the problems she had last year.  Footing is a big problem with her.  She’s so tall, she can’t get down low for the ball, she doesn’t have that secure footing.  The movement on the grass is going to be key for her, as well as her first serve.  It can go all over the place or she can serve aces.  Sharapova, there’s a question mark.  But as far as confidence level, you’ve got to give that to her.  But I’m still favoring Serena a little bit.  With Halep, Kvitova, Bouchard, ones who can do some damage also.

McENROE:  I pretty much agree with what Chrissie said.  She’s absolutely right.  Serena’s game is very much made for the grass.  Maria I never would have thought would have become arguably a better clay court player than any other surface.  I really respect the effort she’s put forth to become that good and be able to win the French twice, a second time before any other major.

I think what Chrissie said earlier about the footwork, the movement, in the beginning it’s going to be tougher for Maria to get through the first week.  If she does, she’ll be able to sort of feel more comfortable with her movement.

After that, it obviously becomes much more of a crapshoot.  The bigger hitters, Kvitova won it because she can do damage with one shot.  It becomes harder for players that rely on getting a lot of balls back.  It’s tougher to win a tournament like that.  Or if they have liabilities with their serve…  Certainly if Serena and Maria don’t do well, it’s going to be much more difficult to pick who it would be after that.  Is Azarenka still in?

EVERT:  Yeah, she’s come back.  This is her first week.

McENROE:  She hasn’t played much for a while, so that would be an X factor for her.  She got hurt last year.  She’ll be hesitant early on.  Obviously, when she got hurt, she was 2, 3 in the world.

EVERT:  I’d like to see Serena this time, because they were going to meet in the quarters at the French, I’d like to see them (Serena and Venus) on opposite ends of the draw.  That would make it much more interesting, too.

Q. If you had to pick one to make it through the first week, would you go with Serena or Maria? 

McENROE:  If I had to pick one, I’d pick Serena.

EVERT:  Yeah.

Q. What is it like to defend a home Grand Slam challenge?

McENROE:  First of all, there’s no one that’s been under more pressure to win a major event than Andy Murray.  The fact that he’s done it takes a lot of pressure off him.  That should be understood.  He did something that took 76 or 78 years to do so there’s definitely less pressure.  Having said that, anytime you taste what it feels like to win it once, you obviously want to win it again.  So there’s an element of pressure you put on yourself for starters because you sort of want to see what that feels like at least one more time.  From that standpoint he’s going to be feeling pressure.  Clearly now once people know he can do it, they’re going to think he should do it again.  It’s not like there’s not going to be pressure.  There is going to be pressure.  It’s not going to be as staggering as it was.  You throw in this new coaching thing, that makes it a little bit hard to get your groove quickly.  He only won one match in Queen’s.  He lost early.  So this is sort of an X factor.

Murray is very comfortable on the surface.  I’m assuming that they’re going to seed him No. 4.  I would be surprised if they don’t move him up.  He’s presently 5.  I think Stanislas Wawrinka is 3 or 4.  I think it would make sense.  He deserves it, to me, based on the fact he won it last year, his history on grass, that they should seed him 4 and separate these guys.  He would potentially have to go through three of these guys, which I don’t think makes sense for anyone.  Are the seedings being made tomorrow?

EVERT:  Yes.

McENROE:  I would hope for all concerned that they put Stan, who won the Australian, he’s not as comfortable on grass, he had a decent run at Queen’s, but it would be ludicrous to me if they didn’t put Murray 4.

Once he gets going, he’s going to be obviously one of the toughest guys to beat.  He’s tougher to beat in best-of-five, particular on grass because he has a sense of what to do there.  He has as good a shot as anyone to win it.

Q. Do you see Mauresmo coaching a top 10 player on the ATP, is that a big step for women’s tennis? 

EVERT:  I don’t think it matters for women’s tennis.  I think it says something for women’s coaching.  You’re talking about two different things.  Again, this isn’t going to affect the Tour at all.  It’s a positive sign for women in coaching.  It hasn’t been done very much, very rarely.  Maybe it opens the door to not only men, but the women don’t seem to have women coaches.  Maybe it opens the door to more women.  It’s really interesting because the big question at the French was, Will this inspire more top women to be coaches?  The fact of the matter is, we all have kids.  I don’t think Steffi Graf is going to ask Andre, Can I go on the Tour for 35 weeks and coach a player?  I don’t think that’s going to happen.  When you look at the top players, Steffi, Pam Shriver, Tracy, Mary Joe, Kim Clijsters, Lindsay, everybody’s got kids.  That’s our priority.  You’re not going to have full-time coaches as women as much as full-time coaches with men.

Q. You covered some of the favorites on the women’s side at Wimbledon.  I wanted your thoughts on who the longshots or surprises might be.  Specifically what are the chances you see for Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, and down the line Daniela Hantuchova?

McENROE:  Wozniacki, I would put that’s not going to happen, as well as Hantuchova, even though they’re nice girls, young ladies.  Ivanovic has a remote chance.  She has some wins.  Way better chance than the other two as far as the girls.

As far as the guys, the four top guys are the obviously choices.  These aren’t longshots anymore.  These are the two guys that I think have made the biggest advances, who we’ve been waiting on the longest to potentially do some serious damage at a major event, and they’re starting to show that.  That would be Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov.  Two guys, if they had a little bit of luck, things fell their way, they could make a real run in this tournament.  Those would be the two guys I would pick.

EVERT:  I think on the women’s side, again, after Serena and Maria, there’s a little bit of a gap, a little bit of a question mark.  I think Bouchard has shown a lot of positives in the last six months as far as stepping up, not being afraid to play the top players, not to be afraid to play on a stadium court, dealing with the pressure so well.  Especially after the French, she almost beat Maria Sharapova.  She likes grass.  She likes to step in and take the ball early.  She has power.  I think she’s one to watch.

Kvitova, she started to play well at the French.  She lost weight.  She’s fitter.  I think having had that experience, she really enjoys playing on the grass.  She’s somewhat under the radar right now.  You could look at Sam Stosur, players that have all-around versatile games, that are good athletes.  I think grass favors the athleticism because you have to have good balance and know how to move smoothly on the grass.  I think those players.  And Halep, she’s a question mark.  Will she continue the momentum she had at the French?  Again, she’s a great athlete and can move well.  I think that’s very important on the grass, the court coverage.

Q. Chrissie, to you what does Sam Stosur have to do to have a good Wimbledon?  John, what is your take on Bernie Tomic?

EVERT:  She needs to believe in herself.  She needs to have that belief.  It’s not about her game.  She’s got a beautiful game.  She could do it all.  It’s just about her nerves.  I think what she needs to do is look back, look at the matches that she had leads, top players on the ropes, matches that she got nervous and lost.  You have to recognize your past before you move on to your future.  You got to figure it out.  Then she’s got to figure out, If I’m in this situation again, I’m going to react differently.  You have to talk yourself into reacting differently.  It’s all psychological with her.  She just needs to have more confidence in herself, in her game, just try to control those nerves a little better.

McENROE:  As far as Bernard, I haven’t seen him play since he underwent the surgeries.  I heard it was maybe one or both of the hips.  I’m not sure the extent.  Anytime you have surgery you’re worried, especially when you’re that young.  I’m not exactly sure what surgery he had on his hips.

Q. Was on both hips. 

McENROE:  I’m not sure exactly what they did.  But Bernard is unusual, obviously, in a number of ways.  But the main way, the way that’s interesting, is the way he plays.  He’s one of the few guys that I’ve seen where he makes guys that play him uncomfortable.  That’s what he had going for him.  He sort of takes people out of their games.  He gives you looks that you don’t expect.  He’s like a fastball pitcher that would suddenly go to an off-speed pitch.  Bowlers, cricket, taking everything off the ball, are spinning it.  He was very interesting to watch, I found.  There were always issues.  At times, how deep he was willing to dig, his fitness level.  He’s a big guy.  I saw a stat last year I think where he won a great deal of his service games.  He had one of the best records on the Tour as far as holding service games.  I thought that it was amazing because a lot of times it doesn’t look like he’s going more than 80% on his serve.  Maybe that’s why, he’s unpredictable.  At this stage I see a guy that clearly his best surface has always been grass, so he’s most comfortable.  He might start to find some confidence.  I notice he won a few matches in these tune-up events. I don’t know what his fitness level is like.  When you have to walk into best-of-five, it’s more mental than physical at Wimbledon than say the French.  He’d have a better shot.  I’d have to see him again, both on and off the court, what’s going on with his training, who he’s been coached by, all these other things that I’m not really sure of.  It’s going to be interesting to see if he’s going to be able to bounce back, have something serious happen.  I’m assuming his ranking has dropped down.

Q. Men’s and women’s winner and a dark horse in both? 

EVERT:  Serena, Djokovic.  Can Bouchard be a dark horse?  The men?  Oh, boy.  Go ahead, John, I have to think about the men.

McENROE:  I would pick the same women.  If Bouchard could be a dark horse, I would pick her as a dark horse.  I think she’s come a long way.  I like what I’m seeing.  I still think, especially on grass, that Serena, if she brings out her A game, is the best player without a doubt to win it.

EVERT:  I’ll pick Dimitrov for the guys.

McENROE:  I think as far as the men, this is like a really tough one.  If I had to pick one guy right now, I probably would pick Djokovic, even though I don’t think he’s as comfortable on grass as he is on hard courts.  My longshot pick, can I pick Federer as a longshot (laughter)?  He would be my longshot pick over Raonic or Dimitrov.

Roger is obviously amazing.  I still think he’s going to make a run in the majors.  I didn’t think he could go all the way and win one.  He just had another set of twins, for God’s sake.  Maybe it won’t be that easy.

EVERT:  Listen, he’s like the fourth favorite, though.  He could win Wimbledon.

McENROE:  That’s true.  But Dimitrov is probably the fifth favorite.

EVERT:  But what is his ranking?

McENROE:  He’s probably like 10 in the world now.

Q. He’s 13. 

McENROE:  I thought he was higher.  And Raonic is probably 9 or 10 in the world.  To a lot of people they would be longshots, so we’re sticking with it.  I’ll pick Raonic if you don’t want me to pick Federer.  He’s only won it, what, seven times (laughter).

Q. Chrissie, what are your thoughts on Martina Hingis coming back to play at Wimbledon as a wild card in the doubles tournament? 

EVERT:  John McEnroe can chime in.  He played with her and knows her better than I do.  He played with her in TeamTennis. I haven’t watched her play doubles.  I watched her play in TeamTennis a couple times.  She’s hitting the ball great.  She’s obviously winning a lot of doubles matches, so she’s still crafty, volleys really well, quick at the net.  I would have loved to have seen her play singles personally.  But I guess that’s not going to happen.

John, what do you think?

McENROE:  Certainly in doubles she could win the thing if she had the right partner.  I think she’s been playing with Lisicki.  I think they won at Key Biscayne.

EVERT:  She’s not playing with her at Wimbledon.

McENROE:  Who is she playing with?

EVERT:  Zvonareva.  If she had a great mixed partner, she’d have a great chance in the mixed, too.

McENROE:  Maybe it just shows you sometimes when it’s later than you like, you realize how much you love it and miss it.  I don’t know what she’s proving.  I think she could still play doubles.  She could lose first round, win the tournament.  Maybe she just likes to be around it.

Q.  John, do you see Dimitrov as a future superstar?  Can he break into the top four?  What do you like about him and where does he fit in?

McENROE:  I like a lot about him.  What I didn’t like about him was it didn’t seem he was dedicated enough compared to what the other top guys were doing.  Being around Sharapova I bet has helped him, maybe for obvious reasons, because he’s happier.  But the obvious ones were because she’s so dedicated.  I mean, I call her the Nadal of the women’s tour.  She plays every point like it’s her last point.  That has to have rubbed off on him.  Also Rasheed (Dimitrov’s coach) is known as a fitness guy.  He’s realized over the course of time if he wants to make a mark, he has to be fit.  He was cramping.  I saw him cramping in the second set of the French Open last year or the year before.  You can’t expect to be at the end of majors or winning them, there’s no way you can do that if you can’t last till the end of a best-of-a-five-set match.  I think one of the best matches he ever played was when he played Nadal at the Australian.  He looked like he could go the distance.  Looked like he had a shot at it.  He didn’t pull it off.  But it looks like he can at least go the distance now.  He lost first round in the French.  He hasn’t exactly knocked them dead in the majors.  He’s got a lot to prove.  He has a lot of upside.  Everyone has known that for a long time.  It takes longer to break through.  These guys are incredible.  You’re probably talking about the two greatest players that ever played, Nadal, Federer.  Djokovic is going up the all-time great rankings.  Murray has gotten himself better and better.  It’s extremely difficult to break into that.  He and Raonic are the two guys that I have seen who have done the most recently to make this breakthrough.

EVERT:  If I can say one thing.  The more I watch this game, I more I realize it’s getting to be so much about the team.  It’s getting to be so much about the influences that these players have.  They all have so much ability, natural ability.  When you look at Andy Murray with Lendl, that proves my point.  When I look at Dimitrov, he has Rasheed.  He’s got great credentials.  Like John said, he’s into the fitness part of it.  He’s got Maria as a girlfriend.  Like John says, that professionalism, that discipline has to be rubbing off.  She’s probably telling him things, too, giving him some advice.  I just think at the end of the day it really gives you a big edge if you have a great team around you.  I think he does.  I think that’s really improved his game.  It’s about the attitude and the confidence.

Q. John, I was asking you about your meeting with Pele.  What was that like for you and how did that compare to other great meetings?

McENROE:  Pele…I met a number of times.  He’s one of these guys that makes you feel good about everything.  He just has this smile.  Certainly, I don’t speak Portuguese obviously.  He didn’t speak English where it was easy to have a conversation.  It was just to be around his field was magical the way you could feel the beauty of this man.  The way he played, he was like the Roger Federer on a soccer field.  He was like the most beautiful guy that combined this joie de vivre, and played the way he played.  Brazil, it means so much for them obviously.  To have someone like that represent their country in a sport that they love so much, I mean, he’s like Wayne Gretzky in hockey.  He’s just a wonderful man.  He’s one of those guys that will say something nice about you before he expects you to say something nice about him.

Q. There’s another Brazilian like that, which is Guga. 

McENROE:  That’s so true.  Absolutely true.  This guy got totally gypped.  Every time I see the guy smile, I feel bad because he deserved so much better.

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TNT’s 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coverage Continues with Toyota/SaveMart 350 on Sunday, June 22, at 3 p.m. ET

 nascar-on-tnt

Pre-Race Coverage Includes Behind-the-Scenes Access with Marcos Ambrose

Turner Sports continues its 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Summer Series coverage with the Toyota/SaveMart 350 from Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 22, at 3 p.m. ET.  TNT’s NASCAR Summer Series coverage will begin with the pre-race Countdown to Green served by Sonic at 2 p.m. Adam Alexander will call the race and host the studio show alongside analysts Kyle Petty, Wally Dallenbach and Larry McReynolds. In addition, veteran reporters Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum and Chris Neville will patrol pit road.

TNT’s Countdown to Green served by Sonic will feature all-access coverage of Marcos Ambrose leading up to Sonoma, along with an interview with Kevin Harvick. Additionally, the Toyota Camry Test Car — a new addition to this year’s race coverage — will continue to bring fans closer to the action on race day. Dallenbach will take the car on the track to highlight elements of the road course, while McReynolds will put his crew chief hat on for a pre-race segment.

Throughout the NASCAR Summer Series, TNT will celebrate Turner Sports’ top moments from 32 years of NASCAR coverage with a special thematic feature each week during Countdown to Green served by Sonic.

********

What to Look For: Ralph Sheheen

For this week’s Toyota/SaveMart 350, TNT NASCAR veteran reporter Ralph Sheheen offers his opinion on “What to Look For…” during the race:

-          “What I love about Sonoma is that it’s a very aggressive race. It has become a very physical race behind the wheel, with drivers leaning on each other quite a bit, bumping and banging, with a lot of torn up sheet metal and hurt feelings at the end of the day. So as a race fan, that is something I love. I know the drivers really look forward to it. That’s what has become the image of what to expect at Sonoma each and every year…and boy they haven’t let us down lately.”

-          “Because of the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, where you really have to win to get in, there are some drivers who are going to see this as a golden opportunity to get themselves in the door…guys who feel like they are really good road course racers. There are some drivers who maybe feel like they’ve been denied the last couple of years and have missed out on that opportunity to win, such as No. 9 Marcos Ambrose. This is an opportunity for those drivers to really get up on the wheel and get the job done and maybe get themselves in the chase.”

-          “I think this year’s race is going to be even more aggressive than it has in years past. My prediction is, who do you think is the hungriest? That is the guy who is probably going to be the most aggressive.”

 

TNT’s Upcoming 2014 NASCAR Summer Series Schedule:

(All Times Eastern)

Sunday, June 22  
2 – 3 p.m. Countdown to Green served by Sonic
3 – 6:30 p.m. Toyota/SaveMart 350 (Sonoma Raceway – Sonoma, Calif.)
 
Saturday, June 28  
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Countdown to Green served by Sonic
7:30 – 11 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from Kentucky presented by KFC (Kentucky Speedway – Sparta, Ky.)
 
Saturday, July 5  
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Countdown to Green served by Sonic
7:30 – 11 p.m. Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola (Daytona International Speedway – Daytona, Fla.)
   
Sunday, July 13  
Noon – 1 p.m. Countdown to Green served by Sonic
1 – 4:30 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from New Hampshire

(New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Loudon, N.H.)

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NHL Announces Presenters and Performers for 2014 NHL Awards

nhl-logoNHL ANNOUNCES PRESENTERS AND PERFORMERS FOR 2014 NHL AWARDS

Two-Hour Broadcast on NBCSN and CBC Will Feature Special Appearance by Members of 2014 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings and Musical Performance byPhillip Phillips

Show Hosted by Renowned TV and Radio Broadcaster George Stroumboulopoulos

Fans Encouraged to Use #NHLAwards, Follow @NHL for Exclusive Content

Download the PDF file .

World Series Of Fighting Championship Tripleheader Sat., June 21, At 10 P.M. ET on NBCSN

NBCSN_LogoDavid Branch vs. Jesse Taylor for Inaugural Middleweight Crown

Georgi Karakhanyan Defends Featherweight Title vs. Rick Glenn

Jessica Aguilar Defends Strawweight Title vs. Emi Fujino

STAMFORD, Conn. – June 18, 2014 – NBCSN presents World Series of Fighting this Saturday, June 21, at 10 p.m. ET. The elite mixed martial arts (MMA) card is highlighted by the inaugural title fight in the middleweight division featuring undefeated World Series of Fighting veteran David Branch (13-3) against Jesse Taylor (27-9). Submission specialist Taylor is on a seven-fight winning streak, while his opponent, former UFC veteran Branch, is undefeated in three fights over the past year and a half.

The co-main event features Georgi Karakhanyan (23-3-1), in his first featherweight title defense, facing knockout artist Rick “The Gladiator” Glenn (14-1-2 with 7 knockouts), and women’s strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar (17-4), ranked No. 1 in the world, defending her title against Emi Fujino (13-7).

Saturday’s card also features bouts between Luiz Firmino (17-6) coming off of a four-fight winning streak vs. former UFC veteran Tyson Griffin (16-7) in the lightweight class, and undefeated rising MMA star Nick LoBosco (7-0) vs. Lance “The Party” Palmer (7-1) in the featherweight class.

Play-by-play announcer Todd Harris is joined by mixed martial artists and analysts Bas Rutten and Joey Varner to call the action from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

ABOUT WSOF

World Series of Fighting is a professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight promotion dedicated to delivering an incredible, action-packed entertainment experience for fight fans by producing the best possible matchups between elite fighters from around the globe. For more information please visit WSOF.com. Follow World Series of Fighting on Twitter @MMAWorldSeries and World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo @SugarRaySefo.