On Newsstands Today: ESPN The Magazine’s NFL Draft Issue

To download cover:  http://bit.ly/1FSsUnp

Behind-the-scenes with ESPN Front Row: http://es.pn/1cDHsAj


On the cover:  ESPN The Magazine’s newest addition, Senior Writer Kurt Streeter goes all-access with the draft’s most polarizing player—and arguably the most controversial potential No. 1 pick ever—as he navigates the draft’s unforgiving evaluation process in Jameis Winston is on the clock.

He’s been called a Heisman winner, an alleged rapist, a BCS champ, a thief, a leader, a misogynist, an immature kid, and a transcendent talent. Ultimately, we hope to answer the question that, thus far, has been seemingly unanswerable: Who is Jameis Winston?


NFL Draft Issue Features

Beating the System

The NFL doesn’t quite know what to make of Marcus Mariota. But the film doesn’t lie: The kid is more than just a product of Oregon’s scheme. Mariota threw 91 more touchdowns than interceptions in college, set all sorts of school records and generally made playing QB look easy. So why do some draft pudits have him dropping out of the top five? The reigning Heisman winner played in the fast-paced, ultra-spread Oregon offense, which, critics say, didn’t force him to make many NFL reads or NFL throws. And when that’s the perception, pro talent evaluators often have trouble separating the player from the system. So, we’re going to take a look at the tape, and talk to college/NFL scouts, execs and coaches as a means of showing the true transition that Mariota faces at the next level. By Mike Sando

Kings For A Day

In The Mag’s eighth annual NFL Draft edition, we gave the quarterbacks not named Winston and Mariota their own Chicago-style draft party. This all-QB version including UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Alabama’s Blake Sims and Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson get the royal treatment in Chicago. By Morty Ain

Mock This Way

After watching hundreds of hours of tape, our draft experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr, can agree on only five picks.

Additional NFL Draft Issue Highlights:

  • CBB: Senior Writer Wright Thompson’s Jason Rabedeaux was here documents the story of Jason Rabedeaux, once one of college basketball’s brightest young coaches in the U.S. In 1999, Coach Rab became the head coach at UTEP, replacing Don Haskins. He resigned abruptly several years later, after not winning enough games and a public scandal about him cheating on his wife. He eventually ended up coaching all around Asia, finally settling three years ago in Vietnam. Last fall he died mysteriously in Saigon, leaving his loved ones and colleagues to grapple with how far he’d fallen.
  • NHL: We’ve identified four categories that serve as great predictors for NHL playoff success –puck possession, goaltending, special teams/penalty kills and playoff experience. The team that ranks the highest among all the 2015 playoff-bound teams? The Chicago Blackhawks, our pick to win it all. By Ben Arledge
  • NBA: Columnist Peter Keating will be applying his signature Giant Killers method to the NBA playoffs and determine which upsets might be brewing in the first round. There’s a much smaller chance than an inferior team can win a seven-game series than a single game, but GK can still help determine which teams can play Goliath.
  • NBA: The Cavs are the popular pick to win this year’s title for…well, obvious reasons. But they’re not such a sure thing. We’re breaking down two reasons the Cavs will win it all this year—and two reasons they won’t.

– 30 –

Media Contact: Carrie Kreiswirth at (646) 547-4686 or carrie.b.kreiswirth@espn.com





The Black Eyed Peas & ESPN Collaborate to Make 2015 NBA Playoffs ‘Awesome’

Grammy Award-winning recording artists The Black Eyed Peas (@BEP) and ESPN (@ESPNNBA) have collaborated for a special 2015 NBA Playoffs broadcast open, which will debut this Saturday, April 18, on ESPN and ABC. The broadcast open stars The Black Eyed Peas members’ will.i.am, Taboo and apl.de.ap and features their hit single ‘Awesome,’ which they wrote for the NBA Playoffs and to capture the energy and excitement of the action.

In the video, The Black Eyed Peas celebrate the start of the NBA Playoffs with several of the NBA’s top superstars as they head towards the postseason: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Klay Thompson (Warriors) and more.

For the ESPN NBA Playoffs ‘Awesome’ preview: ESPN Front Row vimeo


Media contacts: Ben Cafardo at 860-766-3496 or ben.cafardo@espn.com (@Ben_ESPN);

Gianina Thompson at 860-766-7022 or giainina.thompson@espn.com (@Gianina_ESPN).


Enterprise Journalism Release – April 16, 2015

To tweet: http://es.pn/1HcriZT

Wagering on Winston?
Outside the Lines (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN; 10 a.m., ESPN2)


Projected to be this year’s top NFL Draft pick, Jameis Winston has impressed teams with his football I.Q. But a sexual assault allegation and various off-the-field indiscretions have some wondering whether he’d be a smart pick to lead a franchise. What do former NFL executives and Winston’s former coaches have to say about the quarterback? – Steve Delsohn sat down with several of them to find out.

The first pick in any draft is supposed to be the poster child of that draft, and you don’t want concerns with his character. And, in this case, we do have some concerns.” – Greg Gabrielformer Chicago Bears’ director of scouting on Jameis Winston

“There is no case there and there’re no charges. So, there is no crime. You can accuse anybody of anything, but there’s no crime.” – Jimbo FisherFSU head football coach, on Winston being accused of but not charged with raping a Florida State classmate


Jameis Winston is on the Clock
ESPN The Magazine (NFL Draft issue, on newsstands Friday)


Training days in Solana Beach, a throw-off in Indy and home to Alabama: Kurt Streeter spent two months on the pre-draft trail with this year’s most polarizing player.

“From an early age, I realized I had a confidence that others my age just didn’t have.” – Jameis Winston

“With his light, brash tone and rounded Southern accent, he can sound like a young Ali. He has the same showman’s touch: an ability, through the force of personality, to cast a spell, mesmerizing and perhaps something to be wary of as well.” – Kurt Streeter

Related Jameis Winston content includes Jane McManus’ [Hidden from Justice] piece on Page 8 of ESPN The Magazine


Michael Phelps: I’ve learned from mistakes


Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps returns to competition today for the first time since his September arrest for driving while intoxicated. Wayne Drehs reports from Mesa, Ariz.


Tragic Love Story: Christy Mack and MMA Fighter War Machine


espnW continues its coverage of domestic violence in sports, with Jane McManus relating the poignant and gripping story of Christy Mack, whose boyfriend – former MMA fighter Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver – was the subject of an intense manhunt after he allegedly severely beat Mack.



FrontRow presented two pieces from its “Beyond The Story” series this week:

Beyond the Story: 4 things to know about Wright Thompson’s Jason Rabedeaux piece

Senior writer Wright Thompson tells the story of Jason Rabedeaux, once one of college basketball’s brightest young coaches, whose life ended, as Thompson writes in the story’s opening paragraph: “. . . without shoes in the back seat of a Saigon taxicab.”

Beyond the Story: 3 things to know about Marty Smith’s Masters story on ESPN.com

There is an old adage Marty Smith adores: There is beauty in simplicity. Those words perfectly describe his first trip to Augusta National, a bucket-list item he was able to finally check off.


Sports Reporters
This week’s Panel* (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. ESPN; 10:30 a.m., ESPN2)


John Saunders
Jemele Hill
Mike Lupica
Bob Ryan

*Subject to change


New York Festivals 


ESPN received the prestigious Grand Award for Outside the Lines Special Report: The “N” Word, Tuesday when the New York Festivals World’s Best TV & Films 2015 Winners were announced at its gala event at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Grand Jury panel awarded 145 Gold World Medals, 155 Silver, 128 Bronze, and 261 Finalist Certificates from entries submitted from over 50 countries, while just three Grand Awards were presented.

ESPN saw 15 entries ranging from event coverage to sports journalism earn Gold World Medals, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final and three for SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship program; for Pete’s ChallengeOrigins of Species; and A Lasting Image. Outside the Lines Special Report: The “N” Word’s critical examination of issues resulted in four additional Gold Medals. E:60, ESPN’s investigative news magazine earned Gold Medals for Enemy Within;Qatar’s World Cup; Downhill; and Dream On. In addition, Felix Sabates Reportajes Especiales and Jake Olson Fights On College Gameday each received a Gold Medal.

Outside the Lines Special Report: The “N” word – part of ESPN’s Black History Month programming – took the Grand Award. The hour-long show, hosted by Bob Ley, examined the word, its history and featured a live discussion. The program also earned four Gold World Medals.

Dwayne Bray, senior coordinating producer, Enterprise Reporting Unit, said, “The N Wordspecial was the result of a lot of creative thinking from people across different platforms and on a number of shows at ESPN. Senior coordinating producer Michael Fountain came up with the idea of doing a one-hour show on the topic after the Riley Cooper incident. We’re happy we found ways to advance the dialogue around this important and sensitive subject and were able to deliver a show that revealed how different generations tend to view the word through their own experiences.”


ESPN Radio Tips Off 20th NBA Post-Season April 18

The NBA on ESPN Radio will begin its 20th season of live, national coverage of the NBA Playoffs with two games this weekend. On Saturday, April 18, Western Conference top seed Golden State and Stephen Curry will host New Orleans at 3:30 p.m. ET, with the pre-game show beginning at 2:30 p.m. Kevin Calabro and PJ Carlesimo will describe the action. On Sunday, April 19, Boston will visit Central Division winner Cleveland and LeBron James at 3 p.m. (pre-game at 2 p.m.). Marc Kestecher and Jon Barry will call the game.

On Saturday, April 25, ESPN Radio will travel to New Orleans for Game 3 of the Golden State/New Orleans series, at 8 p.m. (pre-game at 7 p.m.).

ESPN Radio’s postseason coverage is highlighted by exclusive national broadcasts of every game of the Conference Finals and The Finals. Throughout the playoffs, all game broadcasts will be preceded by a one-hour pre-game show.

All broadcasts will be available on ESPN Radio, ESPNRadio.com and the ESPN Radio mobile app.


ESPN Commentators for the 2015 NFL Draft in Chicago

Photos via ESPN Images

ESPN will present the 2015 NFL Draft – its 36th consecutive year televising the event – April 30-May 2 from the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago, as the draft makes its Windy City debut. The first two days will air in primetime, and the first hour of Round 1 coverage will again air with limited commercial interruption.

On Thursday, April 30, Chris Berman (covering his 35th draft) will host Round 1 with NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. (his 32nd), Super Bowl winning head coach and Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden, and two-time Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis. NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter will report from another set inside the theatre and NFL Insiders host Suzy Kolber will conduct interviews on the gold carpet and inside the green room.

On Friday, May 1, NFL Live’s Trey Wingo will host Rounds 2 and 3 with Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer, and NFL Draft analysts Kiper and Todd McShay. Mortensen, Schefter and Kolber will also contribute to the telecast.

On Saturday, May 2, Wingo, Kiper, McShay and six-time National Football League Executive of the Year Bill Polian, a 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, will cover Rounds 4-7 with Mortensen and Schefter.

ESPN will also dispatch bureau reporters to a handful of NFL team sites, and to be with two of the top prospects in the draft:

  • Florida State’s Jameis Winston in Alabama (Tom Rinaldi)
  • Oregon’s Marcus Mariota in Hawaii (Shelley Smith)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ed Werder)
  • Tennessee Titans (Sal Paolantonio)
  • New York Jets (Josina Anderson)
  • Chicago Bears (Bob Holtzman)
  • Louis Rams (Britt McHenry)
  • Cleveland Browns (Jeremy Fowler)
  • San Diego Chargers (Jim Trotter)

ESPN’s team of commentators will provide updates and analysis throughout the three-day event across multiple platforms, and editions of ESPN’s NFL Insiders, NFL Live and SportsCenter will originate from Chicago beginning Thursday, April 30. Schedule:

ESPN NFL Draft TV schedule (April 30-May 2):

Date Time (ET) Show Network
Thu, Apr 30 2:30-3:30 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
3:30-4:30 p.m. NFL Live Presented by NAPA ESPN
7-8 p.m. SportsCenter Special Presented by Golden Corral: Draft Countdown ESPN
8-11:30 p.m. NFL Draft Presented by Bose (Round 1) ESPN
Fri, May 1 2:30-3:30 p.m. NFL Insiders ESPN
3:30-4:30 p.m. NFL Live Presented by NAPA ESPN
7-11:30 p.m. NFL Draft Presented by Bose (Rounds 2-3) ESPN2
Sat, May 2 12-8 p.m. NFL Draft Presented by Bose (Rounds 4-7) ESPN

*Schedule subject to change.     



2015 NBA Playoffs: ABC & ESPN Combine to Televise First Five Games This Weekend

  • Breen, Van Gundy, Jackson, Salters to Call Two Games in Less Than 24 Hours
  • LeBron James, Stephen Curry, James Harden Among the NBA’s Biggest Superstars in Action
  • ESPN NBA Playoff Preview Show on Friday

 The 2015 NBA Playoffs will tip off on ABC and ESPN with the first five games of the postseason airing on the networks, beginning Saturday, April 18. The team of Mike Breen, analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson and reporter Lisa Salters will call two ABC broadcasts in less than 24 hours. On Saturday, the crew will provide commentary for the Golden State Warriors (1) and New Orleans Pelicans (8) Game 1 matchup at 3:30 p.m. ET. The team will then fly to Cleveland as the Cavaliers (2) open their first round series against the Boston Celtics (7) on Sunday, April 19, at 3 p.m. ABC broadcasts are also available on ESPN3.

ESPN NBA Playoffs Triple-header Saturday

ESPN will also televise an NBA Playoffs-opening triple-header on Saturday, April 18, beginning at 12:30 p.m. when the Washington Wizards (5) visit the Toronto Raptors (4).  Mark Jones, analyst Doris Burke and reporter J.A. Adande will provide commentary. A prime-time doubleheader follows, beginning at 7 p.m. when the Chicago Bulls (3) host the Milwaukee Bucks (6) with Dave Pasch, analyst Jon Barry and reporter Israel Gutierrez on the call. At 9:30 p.m., the Houston Rockets (2) host the Dallas Mavericks (7) with Mike Tirico, Basketball Hall of Famer and analyst Hubie Brown and reporter Heather Cox. All ESPN telecasts are also available via WatchESPN.

NBA Playoff Preview

ESPN will televise a special NBA Playoff Preview show on Friday, April 17, at 10 p.m. hosted by the NBA Countdown crew – Sage Steele, Jalen Rose and Doug Collins. The telecast will include an interview with Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul, conducted by Michael Wilbon. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green will also appear.

NBA Countdown

Additionally, the ABC NBA Countdown crew will pull double-duty this weekend, first on Saturday at 3 p.m. as Sage Steele hosts with analyst Jalen Rose and Doug Collins. The crew returns Sunday at 2:30 p.m. leading into Cavaliers-Celtics Game 1.

NBA Playoffs early schedule on ABC & ESPN

Date Time (ET) Telecast Commentators Network (s)
Fri., Apr. 17 10 p.m. NBA Playoff Preview Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins ESPN, WatchESPN
Sat., Apr. 18 12:30 p.m. Game 1: Washington Wizards (5) at Toronto Raptors (4) Mark Jones, Doris Burke, ESPN, WatchESPN
  3 p.m. NBA Countdown Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins ABC, ESPN3
  3:30 p.m. Game 1: New Orleans Pelicans (8) at Golden State Warriors (1) Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Lisa Salters ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN3
  7 p.m. Game 1: Milwaukee Bucks (6) at Chicago Bulls (3) Dave Pasch, Jon Barry, Israel Gutierrez ESPN, WatchESPN
  9:30 p.m. Game 1: Dallas Mavericks (7) at Houston Rockets (2) Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, Heather Cox ESPN, WatchESPN
Sun., Apr. 19 2:30 p.m. NBA Countdown Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins ABC, ESPN3
  3 p.m. Game 1: Boston Celtics (7) at Cleveland Cavaliers (2) Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, Lisa Salters ABC, ESPN Radio, ESPN3
Fri., Apr. 24 7 p.m. Game 3: Houston Rockets (2) at Dallas Mavericks (7) TBD ESPN, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. Game 3: Toronto Raptors (4) at Washington Wizards (5) TBD ESPN2, WatchESPN
  9:30 p.m. Game 3: Los Angeles Clippers (3) at San Antonio Spurs (6) TBD ESPN, WatchESPN
Sat., Apr. 25 8 p.m. Game 4: Golden State Warriors (1) at New Orleans Pelicans (8) TBD ESPN, ESPN Radio, WatchESPN
  10:30 p.m. Game 3: Memphis Grizzlies (5) at Portland Trail Blazers (4) TBD ESPN, WatchESPN
Sun., Apr. 26 12:30 p.m. NBA Countdown Sage Steele, Jalen Rose, Doug Collins ABC, ESPN3
1 p.m. Game 4: Cleveland Cavaliers (2) at Boston  Celtics (7) ABC, ESPN3
3:30 p.m. Game 4: Los Angeles Clippers (3) at San Antonio Spurs (6) TBD ABC, ESPN3


*To speak with ESPN NBA commentators, contact ESPN Communications (below).


Media contacts: Ben Cafardo at ben.cafardo@espn.com (@Ben_ESPN);

Gianina Thompson at gianina.thompson@espn.com (@Gianina_ESPN).


ESPN Announces initial coverage team and plans for Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015

  • Announcement marks 100 Days Out from Opening Ceremony on July 25
  • Robin Roberts, Kevin Negandhi, Lindsey Czarniak, Jeremy Schaap, Marty Smith, Holly Rowe and Dustin Plunkett to contribute to coverage
  • ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike to serve as co-captains in Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America as Flame of Hope crosses USA to arrive in Los Angeles

ESPN, the official media partner of the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015), today announced its initial coverage team and plans for the event that will begin July 25 with live coverage of the Opening Ceremony at 9 p.m. ET.  Additionally, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic will serve as co-captains during the Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America, participating and supporting the relay that will carry the Flame of Hope as it travels along three simultaneous cross-country routes and meet in Los Angeles for the World Games.

ESPN & ABC coverage of the Special Olympics World Games LA2015
ESPN’s coverage will include the three-hour live telecast of the Opening Ceremony and nightly studio programs from Los Angeles throughout the week-long event. Coverage will air primarily on ESPN, with some programs appearing on ABC or ESPN2. All ESPN and ESPN2 programs will also being simulcast on WatchESPN.

Robin Roberts, co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, will join ESPN’s Lindsey Czarniak and Kevin Negandhi for coverage of the Opening Ceremonies, while Czarniak and Neghandi will host nightly programs throughout the World Games LA2015.  Award-winning ESPN reporters Jeremy Schaap and Marty Smith will contribute features and reporting throughout ESPN’s week-long coverage and ESPN’s Holly Rowe will follow the Special Olympics USA team throughout the day of the Opening Ceremony. Additionally, Dustin Plunkett, a Special Olympics Global Messenger, athlete and Board Member of LA2015 and Special Olympics Southern California, will contribute to ESPN’s coverage.

“The Special Olympics World Games is a truly compelling event, filled with some of the most extraordinary sports stories and people you will ever see, and we are looking forward to showcasing them,” said Russell Wolff, Executive Vice President, ESPN International. “Sports has the power to be unifying, uplifting and life-changing, and this event will be a remarkable and tangible example of that power.”

Added Negandhi, “It’s an honor to be a part of such an amazing event featuring athletes from around the world. I had the chance to personally witness their love and passion for sport and competition at last year’s southern California Special Olympics Summer Games Invitational and at this year’s NBA All Star Weekend. It blew me away. It was an opportunity for full inclusion and the joy on everyone’s faces, from the athletes to their families to the volunteers, was unmatched. I can’t wait to showcase that joy during our broadcasts on ESPN this summer.”

Live coverage of the Opening Ceremony will capture the full pageantry of the multiple performances, torch lighting and Parade of Athletes at the Los Angeles Coliseum, as well as interviews, features and reports from Los Angeles.  ESPN’s nightly studio programs will deliver stories, vignettes and features from around the World Games, as well as recapping the key results from each days’ competitions.

ESPN’s coverage of will also be delivered to millions of fans around the world, both on ESPN networks and through syndication partners.  It will appear on ESPN networks and media platforms in the U.S., Mexico, Spanish-speaking Latin America, the Caribbean, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  Special Olympics, ESPN and the World Games Organizing Committee are together identifying additional regional media partners to bring the World Games to as many fans and sports participants around the world as possible.

With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015 – will be the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.  The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region.  The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators.

Special Olympics World Games LA2015 Schedule

Day/Date Program Time (ET) Network
Saturday, July 25 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 Opening Ceremony* 9 p.m. ESPN *
Sunday, July 26 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 7 p.m. ESPN2
Monday, July 27 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 7 p.m. ESPN
Tuesday, July 28 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 7 p.m. ESPN
Wednesday, July 29 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 7 p.m. ESPN
Thursday, July 30 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 7 p.m. ESPN2
Friday, July 31 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 7 p.m. ESPN2
Saturday, August 1 ESPN on ABC Sports Saturday 4 p.m. ABC
Saturday, August 1 Special Olympics World Games LA2015 7 p.m. ESPN
Friday, August 7 Best of Special Olympics World Games LA2015 & Closing Ceremony 7 p.m. ESPN
Saturday, August 8 ABC Sports Saturday – Best of Special Olympics World Games LA2015 4 p.m. ABC


All shows will re-air on ESPN2 later the same night.

* KABC in Los Angeles will re-air the Opening Ceremony coverage immediately following ESPN (9 p.m.-12 a.m. PT)

Mike & Mike to be co-captains in Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America
ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, hosts of Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio, simulcast on ESPN2, will participate as co-captains in the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America presented by Bank of America. In the role, they will participate in a segment of the Relay, helping to carry the torch and deliver the Flame of Hope to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games LA2015 while also raising awareness of the opportunity for anyone to take part.

It was previously announced that John Skipper, President, ESPN, Inc. and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks, is among a group of corporate leaders who will also participate in The Unified Relay Across America.

The Unified Relay Across America will give anyone in the country a chance to carry the Flame of Hope, which will be lit in Athens, Greece, and help deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games LA2015. Over the course of 46 days, in a hand-to-hand exchange, over 20,000 participants will run, walk or bike a segment of the relay in this team and individual fundraising event as it passes through all 50 states.

Throughout the 46 days, ESPN and ABC media platforms will tell the story of the relay across its multiple media platforms, covering each of the three routes as they cross the country. It will include coverage on ESPN and ABC programs at select stops throughout the relay, media local coverage on ABC-owned stations and affiliates along the routes, and a “Countdown to LA2015” clock on ESPN.com and select ABC digital media, and promotion across ESPN web sites and radio stations as well as ABC affiliate stations – letting people know when the torch is coming to their town and where they can go to support the torch bearers.

The Unified Relay Across America gives anyone in the country a chance to carry the Flame of Hope that will be lit in Athens, Greece and help deliver it to Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games.  Any person or group can get more information and sign up at: www.unifiedrelay.org/

The relay will culminate at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles on July 25, 2015.

The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and ABC Support of Special Olympics
The Walt Disney Company, together with its businesses and affiliates (including ESPN and ABC), has long supported the Special Olympics. As Special Olympics Games Sponsor and Founding Champion of the LA2015 World Games, Disney celebrates the power of sports to promote social inclusion, and acceptance by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities. Being a good corporate citizen is a time-honored Disney tradition. Through contributions, collaborations with local organizations, in-kind gifts and volunteering, Disney helps to strengthen communities and brighten the lives of kids and families.

ESPN’s relationship with Special Olympics spans more than 30 years. It is the official broadcaster of the LA2015 Special Olympics World Games, and ESPN and ABC are the Official Media Partners of the Unified Relay Across America. ESPN is also the global presenting sponsor and official media sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports. In 2013, Disney and ESPN announced a global two-year, multi-million dollar financial and in-kind investment supporting the Special Olympics Unified Sports initiative.

ESPN has been entertaining sports fans for more 35 years and strives to be a responsible corporate citizen. The corporate citizenship program of ESPN encompasses multi-faceted community initiatives, including employee volunteerism, charitable giving and cause marketing, while also utilizing diverse media assets. ESPN strives to have a positive impact on employees, fans and communities worldwide.


Grantland Basketball Hour to Air Six Episodes During NBA Postseason

April 15, 2015

Grantland Basketball Hour to Air Six Episodes During NBA Postseason

Begins with Playoff Preview Shows April 16 – 17

Grantland Basketball Hour will air six one-hour episodes during the NBA playoffs beginning this Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.  In addition, hosts Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose will also present two later shows which will focus on the NBA Draft and free agency period.

On Thursday, the first of two playoff preview shows will feature Grantland’s Zach Lowe and special guest JJ Redick of the Clippers to discuss key playoff storylines. Friday’s playoff preview show on April 17 will countdown “The 25 Most Intriguing People of the NBA Playoffs.”

Segments of the show will also be featured on Grantland.com, B.S. Report podcasts and incorporated into various ESPN platforms, including SportsCenter.

Date Time (ET) Show Title                                                        Network
Thu, Apr 16 7 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Playoff Preview Show ESPN
Fri, Apr 17 7 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Playoff Preview Show ESPN
Sat, Apr 18 1:30 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Playoff Preview Show (Re-air) ABC
Tue, May 12 7 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Playoff Show ESPN
Tue, Jun 2  7 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Playoff Show ESPN
Mon, Jun 8 7 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Finals Show ESPN
Mon, Jun 15 10 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Finals Show ESPN
Mon, Jun 23  7 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Draft Show ESPN
Thu, Jul 9 7 p.m. Grantland Basketball Free Agency Show ESPN
Sun, Jul 12 2 p.m. Grantland Basketball Hour Free Agency Show (Re-air) ABC

*Schedule and times are subject to change. Please check your local listings.

Grantland Basketball Hour, produced from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center as one of the first television extensions of ESPN’s Exit 31 initiative, aired several one-hour, prime-time episodes throughout the NBA regular season on ESPN.  In addition, re-airs were seen regularly on ESPN2 and at times on ABC.



Danny Chi                    ESPN Communications, 213-405-4400, danny.chi.chi@espn.com

Joyce Wang                  ESPN Communications, 213-405-4403, joyce.x.wang.-nd@espn.com

Undefeated Junior Middleweight Harrison to Meet Veteran Southpaw Munguia on ESPN Friday Night Fights and Noche de Comba

Watch ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas preview Friday’s fights
Watch Boxcino 2015 Semifinals recap and Finals preview

The April 17 edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra will feature undefeated up-and-coming junior middleweight Tony “Superbad” Harrison (20-0, 17 KOs) and veteran southpaw Pablo “Sepulterero” Munguia (20-6, 11 KOs) in the 10-round main event . Friday’s show from Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn., will air live at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2, broadband Spanish-language ESPN Deportes+ and WatchESPN. ESPN Deportes will televise Friday’s fights on Saturday, April 18, at 3 p.m.

Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) will be ringside with analyst Teddy Atlas describing the action for ESPN2. Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodríguez will call the fights for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+, while Leopoldo González and Claudia Trejos will co-anchor anchor the ESPN Deportes studio. Bilingual reporter Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) will present live interviews and reports for both shows.Teddy and Joe April 17

Main Event:
In his last fight—televised on ESPN2—Detroit’s Harrison scored a second-round TKO win over Antwone Smith, while Mexico’s Munguia is looking to rebound from an eight-round split decision loss to 2004 Olympic silver medalist Yudel Jhonson.

“I know Munguia is a really, really durable guy…,” Harrison said. “It looks like he’s going to be a very, very tough opponent for me. He likes to keep pressure. He likes to fight going forward, and so do I…He brings everything that the crowd would like to see, which is excitement, and so do I. It’s a perfect match. Both of us will be looking to give the fans a great fight.”

Thursday’s eight-round co-feature will pit undefeated up-and-coming junior lightweight Ryan “The Polish Prince” Kielczewski (22-0, 6 KOs) against Danny Aquino (16-2, 10 KOs). In his last fight, Kielczewski, who hails from Massachusetts, scored a first-round knockout win over Carlos Fulgencio, while Connecticut’s Aquino is looking to continue his winning ways following a six-round majority decision win over Jhovany Collado.

Additional Fight:
Friday’s show will also include an eight-round junior lightweight bout between Tevin Farmer (18-4-1, 4 KOs) and Gabriel Tolmajyan (13-4-2, 3 KOs).

Upcoming Schedule:

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location Networks
Fri, Apr 17 10 p.m. Tony Harrison (20-0, 17 KOs) vs. Pablo Munguía (20-6, 11 KOs), 10 rounds, Jr. Middleweight Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Conn ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Thurs, Apr 30 9 p.m. Ishe Smith (26-7, 12 KOs) vs. TBD—10 rounds, Jr. Middleweight Palms Casino Hotel,

Las Vegas

ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, May 8 9 p.m. Amir Mansour (21-1, 16 KOs) vs. Joey Dawejko (14-3, 7 KOs)—10 rounds, Heavyweight 2300 Arena

Philadelphia, Pa.

ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN

*Schedule subject to change
Looking Ahead to Boxcino 2015 Finals:
Tessitore and Atlas recap last Friday’s Boxcino 2015 Semifinals and look ahead to the Friday, May 22, Finals at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Watch video.

ESPN Boxing Social Media and Digital Content:

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College Lacrosse: Top Two Teams in Nation Faceoff Sunday on ESPNU

ACC opponents No. 2 North Carolina and No. 1 Notre Dame – both 3-0 in league play – will square off on Sunday, April 18, at 4 p.m. on ESPNU. Just prior, Michigan travels to Johns Hopkins, at 2 p.m., also on ESPNU.

A top-25 women’s matchup on ESPNU features No. 1 Maryland at No. 18 Johns Hopkins on Wednesday, April 15, at 8:30 p.m.


Date Time (ET) Games / Commentators Networks
Tue, Apr 14 7 p.m. Hobart at No. 4 Syracuse ESPN3
Wed, Apr 15 8:30 p.m. No. 1 Maryland at No. 18 Johns Hopkins (women)
Mark Dixon, Courtney Connor
Fri, Apr 17 6 p.m. Harvard at No. 20 Princeton
Eamon McAnaney, Ryan Boyle
  7 p.m. No. 2 North Carolina at No. 3 Duke  (women) ESPN3
Sat, Apr 18 Noon Jacksonville at Mercer ESPN3
  2 p.m. Michigan at Johns Hopkins
Mike Corey, Quint Kessenich
  4 p.m. No. 2 North Carolina at No. 1 Notre Dame
Anish Shroff, Ryan Flanagan
Sun, Apr 19 1 p.m. No. 19 Albany at No. 9 Syracuse (women) ESPN3