NBC Sports Group Kicks Off 2014 MLS Regular-Season Coverage This Saturday At 3 P.M. ET On NBCSN

NBCSN_Logo2014 MLS Season Premiere Features 2013 MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC

Stamford, Conn. – March 4, 2014 – NBC Sports Group kicks off the 2014 MLS regular-season with 2013 MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, March 8, at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately following Premier League coverage. 2013 MLS Cup MVP Aurelien Collin and Sporting Kansas City look to defend their title in the season opener against the Sounders and Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins, who has scored 103 professional goals in 316 appearances in some of Europe’s top leagues.

COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group’s lead play-by-play announcer John Strong will call the match and will be joined by former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Kyle Martino and host Russ Thaler.

Strong on Seattle Sounders FC v. Sporting Kansas City: “This has the potential to be a watershed year for soccer in America, and the hype surrounding the MLS opener from fans and journalists alike is so much fun to be a part of. We couldn’t start the year a better way: with champions Sporting Kansas City facing off with Seattle and the biggest home crowd in the league. And, with four potential U.S. World Cup starters on the field, it’ll be something else.”

For NBC Sports Group’s 2014 MLS schedule, click here.

MLS ON NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA

NBCSN’s coverage of Sounders v. Sporting will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play.

NBCSN will live stream to PCs, mobile devices and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra, and to the digital platforms of participating cable, satellite, and telco services, via “TV Everywhere,” which is available on an authenticated basis to subscribers of participating MVPDs.

About NBC Sports Group’s Soccer Coverage

NBC Sports Group’s networks and platforms are leading destinations for soccer fans in the U.S. Its soccer portfolio includes Major League Soccer (MLS), U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches, the men’s and women’s Olympic soccer tournaments, and the Premier League. NBCUniversal, via the NBC Sports Group, is the home for all 380 Premier League matches, as well as comprehensive shoulder programming. NBCUniversal’s Telemundo and mun2 also provide comprehensive Spanish-language soccer coverage. Both channels will air Premier League matches, as well as serve as the U.S. Spanish-language home for the FIFA World Cup from 2015 through 2022. Online, ProSoccerTalk on NBCSports.com provides comprehensive coverage of the sport, from the Premier League to MLS to the U.S. National Team and other key international soccer stories.

NBC SPORTS GROUP

ESPN Schedule for 2014 FIFA World Cup

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnExtensive Studio Programming – Pre-Match Shows, SportsCenter, World Cup Tonight, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, and More

ESPN will present all 64 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup live and in high definition on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC during its comprehensive coverage of the month-long tournament in Brazil, June 12 – July 13. Extensive studio programming originating from the host country is also planned, including pre-match shows, halftime and post-match segments.

ESPN will televise 43 World Cup matches, while ESPN2 will air 11. All ESPN and ESPN2 matches (and surrounding studio programming) will be available via WatchESPN.

ABC will broadcast 10 matches (all available on WATCH ABC), beginning with Colombia vs. Greece at 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 14, live from Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. The tournament will conclude on ABC with the title match Sunday, July 13, at 2:30 p.m. from Rio de Janeiro’s famed Estadio Do Maracana.

The opening match on Thursday, June 12, features host country and five-time World Cup champions Brazil vs. Croatia at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN and WatchESPN from Arena de Sao Paulo.  The following day, Friday, June 13, at 3 p.m., ESPN will televise Spain vs. Netherlands, the much-anticipated rematch of the South Africa 2010 final (Spain won 1-0).

STUDIO PROGRAMMING – Pre-Match Shows, Halftime and Post-match Segments, SportsCenter, World Cup Tonight, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, and More:

ESPN’s coverage of every match will be preceded by a 30-minute pregame show, including teams walking onto the pitch, national anthems and ceremonial handshakes – all symbolic FIFA World Cup traditions. The 30-minute pre-match show, halftime and post-match segments will anchor the surround programming around each match presentation.

Special editions of SportsCenter will air between match telecasts on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.  Additionally, ESPN’s flagship news and information program will follow all matches, except when a match precedes another live event on the network. On every match day, World Cup Tonight, ESPN’s definitive daily news, highlights and analysis program for the quadrennial event, will recap the day’s action. ESPN FC World Cup Encore – which will generally air for two hours on match days on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNEWS – will feature condensed versions of the best action in the day’s matches with analysis from ESPN FC pundits.

U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM:

The U.S. Men’s National Team, currently ranked No. 13 in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, will kick-off its 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign against Ghana (ranked No. 37) on ESPN and WatchESPN on Monday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m. from the Estadio das Dunas in Natal.  The U.S. team’s first round matches (all available on WatchESPN):

Mon 6/16 5:30 p.m. ESPN Ghana vs. USA Estadio das Dunas (Natal)
Sun 6/22 5:30 p.m. ESPN USA vs. Portugal Arena Amazonia (Manaus)
Thu 6/26 11:30 a.m. ESPN USA vs. Germany Arena Pernambuco (Recife)

 

2014 FIFA World Cup Groupings (World Rankings, February 2014)


Group A Group B Group C Group D
1  Brazil (9) 1  Spain (1) 1  Colombia (5) 1  Uruguay (7)
2  Croatia (16) 2  Netherlands (10) 2  Greece (12) 2  Costa Rica (35)
3  Mexico (21) 3  Chile (14) 3  Ivory Coast (23) 3  England (15)
4  Cameroon (46) 4  Australia (53) 4  Japan (50) 4  Italy (8)
Group E Group F Group G Group H
1  Switzerland (6) 1  Argentina (3) 1  Germany (2) 1  Belgium (11)
2  Ecuador (24) 2  Bosnia and Herzegovina (17) 2  Portugal (4) 2  Algeria (26)
3  France (18) 3  Iran (38) 3  Ghana (37) 3  Russia (22)
4  Honduras (40) 4  Nigeria (47) 4  USA (13) 4  Korea Republic (61)

2014 WORLD CUP TV SCHEDULE – ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC

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

Date Time (ET) Network Match Group Site Match #
Thu 6/12 3:30 p.m. ESPN Brazil vs. Croatia A Sao Paulo 1
Fri 6/13 11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Mexico vs. Cameroon A Natal 2
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Spain vs. Netherlands B Salvador 3
  5:30 p.m. ESPN2 Chile vs. Australia B Cuiaba 4
Sat 6/14 11:30 a.m. ABC Colombia vs. Greece C Belo Horizonte 5
  2:30 p.m. ABC Uruguay vs. Costa Rica D Fortaleza 7
  5:30 p.m. ESPN England vs. Italy D Manaus 8
  8:30 p.m. ESPN Ivory Coast vs. Japan C Recife 6
Sun 6/15 11:30 a.m. ABC Switzerland vs. Ecuador E Brasilia 9
  2:30 p.m. ABC France vs. Honduras E Porto Alegre 10
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Argentina vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina F Rio de Janeiro 11
Mon 6/16 11:30 a.m. ESPN Germany vs. Portugal G Salvador 13
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Iran vs. Nigeria F Curitiba 12
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Ghana vs. United States G Natal 14
Tue 6/17 11:30 a.m. ESPN Belgium vs. Algeria H Belo Horizonte 15
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Brazil vs. Mexico A Fortaleza 17
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Russia vs. South Korea H Cuiaba 16
Wed 6/18 11:30 a.m. ESPN Australia vs. Netherlands B Porto Alegre 20
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Spain vs. Chile B Rio de Janeiro 19
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Cameroon vs. Croatia A Manaus 18
Thu 6/19 11:30 a.m. ESPN Colombia vs. Ivory Coast C Brasilia 21
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Uruguay vs. England D Sao Paulo 23
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Japan vs. Greece C Natal 22
Fri 6/20 11:30 a.m. ESPN Italy vs. Costa Rica D Recife 24
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Switzerland vs. France E Salvador 25
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Honduras vs. Ecuador E Curitiba 26
Sat 6/21 11:30 a.m. ESPN Argentina vs. Iran F Belo Horizonte 27
  2:30 p.m. ESPN Germany vs. Ghana G Fortaleza 29
  5:30 p.m. ESPN Nigeria vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina F Cuiaba 28
Sun 6/22 11:30 a.m. ABC Belgium vs. Russia H Rio de Janeiro 31
  2:30 p.m. ABC South Korea vs. Algeria H Porto Alegre 32
  5:30 p.m. ESPN United States vs. Portugal G Manaus 30
Mon 6/23 11:30 a.m. ESPN Netherlands vs. Chile B Sao Paulo 36
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Australia vs. Spain B Curitiba 35
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Croatia vs. Mexico A Recife 34
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Cameroon vs. Brazil A Brasilia 33
Tue 6/24 11:30 a.m. ESPN Italy vs. Uruguay D Natal 39
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Costa Rica vs. England D Belo Horizonte 40
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Japan vs. Colombia C Cuiaba 37
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Greece vs. Ivory Coast C Fortaleza 38
Wed 6/25 11:30 a.m. ESPN Nigeria vs. Argentina F Porto Alegre 43
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran F Salvador 44
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Ecuador vs. France E Rio de Janeiro 42
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Honduras vs. Switzerland E Manaus 41
Thu 6/26 11:30 a.m. ESPN United States vs. Germany G Recife 45
  11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Portugal vs. Ghana G Brasilia 46
  3:30 p.m. ESPN South Korea vs. Belgium H Sao Paulo 47
  3:30 p.m. ESPN2 Algeria vs. Russia H Curitiba 48

 


2nd Stage – Round of 16

Date Time (ET) Network Matchup   Site Match #
Sat 6/28 11:30 a.m. ABC 1A vs. 2B   Belo Horizonte 49
  3:30 p.m. ABC 1C vs. 2D   Rio de Janeiro 50
Sun 6/29 11:30 a.m. ESPN 1B vs. 2A Fortaleza 51
  3:30 p.m. ESPN 1D vs. 2C Recife 52
Mon 6/30 11:30 a.m. ESPN 1E vs. 2F Brasilia 53
  3:30 p.m. ESPN 1G vs. 2H Porto Alegre 54
Tue 7/1 11:30 a.m. ESPN 1F vs. 2E Sao Paulo 55
  3:30 p.m. ESPN 1H vs. 2G Salvador 56

 

2nd Stage – Quarterfinals

Date Time (ET) Network Matchup   Site Match #
Fri 7/4 11:30 a.m. ESPN2 Winners 53 vs. 54   Rio de Janeiro 58
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Winners 49 vs. 50   Fortaleza 57
Sat 7/5 11:30 a.m. ABC Winners 55 vs. 56   Brasilia 60
  3:30 p.m. ESPN Winners 51 vs. 52   Salvador 59

2nd Stage – Semifinals

Date Time (ET) Network Matchup   Site Match #
Tue 7/8 3:30 p.m. ESPN Winners 57 vs. 58 Belo Horizonte 61
Wed 7/9 3:30 p.m. ESPN Winners 59 vs. 60 Sao Paulo 62

Third Place Match

Sat 7/12 3:30 p.m. ESPN Losers – 61 vs. 62 Brasilia 63

2014 FIFA World Cup Title Match

Sun 7/13 2:30 p.m. ABC Winners – 61 vs. 62   Rio de Janeiro 64

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, a nightly 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

– 30 –

Top-Tier Premier League Match As Chelsea Host Manchester United Sunday At 11 A.M. ET on NBCSN

nbc-sports-groupPremier League Live on Sunday Features Gary Lineker & Lee Dixon On-Site from Stamford Bridge and Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle & Robbie Mustoe from NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford

Liverpool v. Aston Villa on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC

All Matches Available on NBC Sports Live Extra

Stamford, Conn. – January 13, 2014 – NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage this week is highlighted by third-place Chelsea against seventh-place Manchester United on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and Telemundo. Chelsea look to extend their six-match unbeaten streak as they take on the reigning Premier League champions.

Legendary U.K. footballer and BBC Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker will host NBCSN’s live on-site Premier League Live studio coverage alongside four-time league champion Lee Dixon at Stamford Bridge on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN (The first on-site Premier League Live studio coverage featured Lineker and Tim Howard on Dec. 23 at Emirates Stadium).

In addition, NBC and mun2 present Premier League scoring leader Luis Suárez (22 goals) and fourth-place Liverpool hosting Aston Villa at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.  The 10 a.m. ET slot Saturday on NBCSN will feature league-leaders Arsenal v. Fulham. The additional matches in the 10 a.m. ET slot on Saturday will be available on Premier League Extra Time, a bonus television package available to MVPDs at no extra cost for customers who receive NBCSN. The interactive Premier League Game Finder can be accessed at http://www.nbcsports.com/ExtraTime.

Telemundo will broadcast one match and mun2 will telecast two matches in Spanish this week (listed in table below).

Lead play-by-play voice Arlo White joins Dixon to call Liverpool v. Aston Villa on NBC on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET. White and former Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux will call Chelsea v. Manchester United on Sunday on NBCSN at 11 a.m. ET.

All matches will be preceded and followed by Premier League Live pre- and post-match shows from the NBC Sports Group International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. Rebecca Lowe hosts Premier League Live alongside former Jamaican National Team player Robbie Earle and former English footballer Robbie Mustoe.

All Premier League games will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. Games airing on NBC Sports Network will be live streamed via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

To date, AT&T U-verse®, Bright House Networks, Cablevision’s Optimum, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, Mediacom, Suddenlink, and Time Warner Cable have opted to carry the additional Premier League matches via the Premier League Extra Time package, and AT&T U-verse, Cablevision’s Optimum, Charter, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, Suddenlink and Verizon FiOS will make all Premier League games available through TV Everywhere. Additionally, over 100 NCTC partners have either signed-on to the Premier League Extra Time package or have opted-in via TV Everywhere, including Blue Ridge Communications, Buckeye CableSystem, CenturyLink Prism, and RCN. In some cases, the Premier League Extra Time package will be available in select markets.

Below is the NBCUniversal schedule for the 22nd week of the Premier League season (all times ET):

Date Time Home v. Away Network
Mon., Jan. 13 11 p.m. Barclays Premier League Review NBCSN
Tues., Jan. 14 12 a.m. Premier League Encore: Manchester Monday NBCSN
Tues., Jan. 14 11:30 p.m. Premier League Encore NBCSN
Fri., Jan. 17 7 a.m. Barclays Premier League News NBCSN
Fri., Jan. 17 7:30 a.m. Barclays Premier League World NBCSN
Fri., Jan. 17 8 a.m. Barclays Premier League Match Pack NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 18 6:30 a.m. Barclays Premier League Preview NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 18 7 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 18 7:45 a.m. Sunderland v. Southampton NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 18 9:45 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 18 10 a.m. Arsenal v. Fulham NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Jan. 18 10 a.m. Manchester City v. Cardiff City Extra Time
Sat., Jan. 18 10 a.m. West Ham v. Newcastle United Extra Time
Sat., Jan. 18 10 a.m. Norwich City v. Hull City Extra Time
Sat., Jan. 18 10 a.m. Crystal Palace v. Stoke City Extra Time
Sat., Jan. 18 Noon Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 18 12:30 p.m. Liverpool v. Aston Villa NBC, mun2
Sat., Jan. 18 11 p.m. NBCSN’s Match of the Day NBCSN
Sun., Jan. 19 8 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sun., Jan. 19 8:30 a.m. Swansea City v. Tottenham Hotspur NBCSN
Sun., Jan. 19 10:30 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sun., Jan. 19 11 a.m. Chelsea v. Manchester United NBCSN, Telemundo
Sun., Jan. 19 1 p.m. Premier League Goal Zone NBCSN
Sun., Jan. 19 11 p.m. NBCSN’s Match of the Day II NBCSN
Mon., Jan. 20 2:30 p.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Mon., Jan. 20 3 p.m. Everton v. West Bromwich Albion NBCSN

NBC Sports Group presents the most ambitious, extensive and comprehensive coverage of the Premier League available anywhere in the world with all 380 Premier League matches available live in the United States on the networks of NBCUniversal, on the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra. In total, NBC Sports Group will present more than 1,600 hours of Premier League programming.

–NBC Sports Group–

Brazilian World Cup Champion Gilberto Silva and Dutch Football Legend Ruud van Nistelrooy Named ESPN Analysts for 2014 FIFA World Cup

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnESPN today announced that 2002 FIFA World Cup champion Gilberto Silva from Brazil and legendary Dutch footballer Ruud van Nistelrooy will serve as studio analysts during the company’s month-long presentation of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, June 12 – July 13. Silva and van Nistelrooy will appear on pre-match, halftime and post-match shows, SportsCenter, ESPN FC, and FIFA World Cup-themed news and information programs throughout the quadrennial tournament.

Silva and van Nistelrooy join a roster of ESPN 2014 World Cup analysts that includ former professionals and national team players Michael Ballack (Germany), Alexi Lalas (USA), Steve McManaman (England), Santiago Solari (Argentina) and Taylor Twellman (USA).

“Adding Gilberto and Ruud to our roster of insightful analysts will make this the most memorable World Cup on ESPN for the U.S. audience, as this seminal event returns to its spiritual home in Brazil for the first time since 1950,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer. “Their analysis will be based on intimate knowledge of the teams representing Brazil and the Netherlands, two powerhouse soccer nations in this competition.”

Silva played 16 matches for Brazil in three FIFA World Cup competitions (Korea-Japan 2002, Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010). He manned the midfield for the Seleção from 2001-10. His performance as a defensive midfielder on the 2002 World Cup-winning team earned him a European contract from Premier League side Arsenal FC from 2002-’08. Silva played three seasons for Panathinaikos after joining the Greek club from Arsenal in July 2008. He ended his European football career after nine years, returning to Brazil to play for Grêmio in 2011.

From 1998-2010, van Nistelrooy was regarded as one of the best strikers in European football. In a career that spanned 19 years including five seasons at Manchester United and four with Real Madrid, he played on three football clubs that won at least one league title in three different leagues – Dutch Eredivisie, English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga. When Van Nistelrooy retired in 2011, he had scored 51 career UEFA Champions League goals, which ranked him second at the time amongst all goal scorers in the competition. (He has since been surpassed by Messi and Ronaldo and is currently ranked No. 4). He played in three top-tier international football competitions for Netherlands – the UEFA EURO 2004 and 2008, and 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Specific assignments are to be determined, and other ESPN commentators for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be announced at a later date.

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, 2014), and WatchESPN will show all ESPN and ESPN2 games. 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).

Additionally, all ESPN studio programming – World Cup Tonight, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, ESPN FC, editions of SportsCenter, as well as the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows – and ESPN Deportes’ game-around-the-game programs will originate from the company’s production headquarters throughout the month at Clube dos Marimbás on the southern tip of the famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

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.

– 30 –

ESPN Announces New Film Series, 30 for 30: Soccer Stories, Surrounding 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN

espn-soccerESPN Films, creators of the critically-acclaimed 30 for 30 film series, will premiere a new series in April surrounding the 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN. 30 for 30: Soccer Stories will include a mix of standalone feature-length and 30-minute-long documentary films from an award winning group of filmmakers telling compelling narratives from around the international soccer landscape. In addition, a collection of 10 vignettes about Brazil’s rich culture will be featured throughout ESPN’s FIFA World Cup programming.

“With ESPN being the home of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we know that sports fans will be looking forward to high quality content focused on what is perhaps the world’s most revered sport,” said Connor Schell, VP of ESPN Films and Original Content. “We feel this is the perfect time to expand upon the success of our 30 for 30 series by focusing this collection on some of the incredible stories of soccer’s legendary past.”

Two feature-length films:

Hillsborough, Directed by Daniel Gordon

25 years ago, on April 15, 1989, the worst disaster in British football history occurred in an overcrowded stadium in Sheffield, England, 150 miles north of London. 3,000 fans flocked through the turnstiles to head to the area reserved for standing, despite a capacity of less than half of that. The result was a “human crush” that killed 96 people and injured 766. Prior to the disaster at Hillsborough, British football was known for the grime of its stadiums, hooligan fans and inadequate facilities, but great change came after the Hillsborough disaster. What emerged is now known as the most rich and powerful soccer league in the world, the English Premier League.

White, Blue and White, Directed by Camilo Antolini; Produced by Juan José Campanella

Although a large number of Argentinian players have found football success around the world, few have made a name for themselves in England’s top league. One notable exception is Ossie Ardiles. Fresh off Argentina’s victory in the 1978 World Cup, Ardiles and his compatriot, Ricky Villa, joined Tottenham Hotspur later that year, when the notion of overseas players was still new to the English league. Helping lead Spurs to victory in the 1981 FA Cup, the Argentinian stars became cult heroes in England. But on April 2, 1982, everything radically changed as Argentinian troops descended on the British-ruled Falkland Islands, asserting rightful sovereignty. A conflicted Ardiles returned to Buenos Aires two days later, his bright future with Spurs suddenly in question.

Six 30-minute films:

Garrincha: Crippled Angel, Directed by Marcos Horacio Azevedo

In Brazil, Pelé is “The King.” But his teammate, Mané Garrincha, is also remembered as the one of the best soccer players of all time. In a country where the sport grants its protagonists such royal deference, Garrincha is the jester– an entertainer who amused crowds and turned soccer into an irresistible spectacle, all while helping Brazil capture two World Cups. This, despite his legs being so bent that early in his career doctors deemed him unfit to play professionally. Match after match, he proved them wrong. But his unpredictable moves were of little assistance after his playing career came to an end. Abandoned by the soccer establishment, Garrincha died a victim of alcoholism in 1983. But his fans did not forget him. His body was brought to a cemetery, in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Garrincha’s relatives had to borrow a grave, which turned out to be too small for his coffin. Thousands of people flooded the tiny burial ground, much more than the place could accommodate. After 49 years of a brilliant career and tumultuous life, the man who turned soccer into a “Beautiful Game” was memorably laid to rest. His legend lives on.

Barbosa – The Man Who Made All of Brazil Cry, Directed by Loch Phillipps; Executive Producers: Jonathan Hock & Roger Bennett

In 1949, Goalkeeper Moacir Barbosa and his Brazilian national team are on top of the world, having just won the South American championship by a score of 7-0. Barbosa is one of the heroes, widely considered one of the world’s best goalkeepers. But everything changed during the 1950 World Cup, played for the first time in Brazil. Before the final game against neighbor and rival Uruguay, the Brazilian Football Confederation was so confident of victory it had made 22 gold medals with the names of their players imprinted on them. With 11 minutes left, Uruguay shocked the estimated crowd of 200,000 at Marcana and scored the winning goal – a goal that is still considered to be the greatest sporting tragedy to befall Brazil. The blame was mostly pinned on Barbosa for being out of position on his goal line, tantamount to Bill Buckner letting a baseball roll between his legs. The country went into a deep mourning, fans committed suicide, and Barbosa was nationally blacklisted. Barbosa was considered cursed and he never played in another World Cup. He rotted away, practically penniless and alone. On July 13th, the 2014 World Cup Final will again take place at the Maracana, giving the Brazilian team the chance to write a new ending into Brazilian folklore.

Ceasefire Massacre, Directed by Alex Gibney and Trevor Bunim

New Jersey, June 18, 1994. Giants Stadium is awash with green as Irish soccer fans arrive to watch Ireland’s opening World Cup match against the mighty Italy. The sense of optimism is infectious. The Celtic Tiger is in its infancy, Bill Clinton’s decision to grant a visa to Irish Republican leader Gerry Adams has propelled the peace process forward and Jack Charlton’s team are walking onto the pitch before 75,000 fervent spectators made up of Irish, Italians and Americans of Irish and Italian decent. Amongst the fans is Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds who is sitting with members of an American group who’ve been working behind-the-scenes to end the conflict in Northern Ireland. The electrifying mood is shared by the supporters watching the match in the Heights Bar, a tiny pub in the Northern Irish village of Loughin Island, 24 miles south of Belfast. At the half, the Irish are remarkably ahead 1-0. Shortly after the second half begins, two masked gunmen belonging to a Protestant terror group burst into the Heights Bar. Thirty rounds are fired and six innocent men watching a soccer match were killed. Ceasefire Massacre will reveal how the juxtaposition of the jubilation felt inside Giants Stadium against the horrors of what happened in the Heights Bar, encapsulated the mood of the time. After 25-years of conflict, Ireland and her people longed for peace and prosperity but the brutalities of the violence in the North were never far from the surface. The gunning down of innocent men as they watched a soccer match marked both a low-point and a turning-point in the Northern Ireland conflict; one that would ultimately contribute to the paramilitaries on both sides calling ceasefires just weeks later.

The Opposition, Directed by Ezra Edelman

In the wake of the 1973 military coup in Chile, American-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet transformed Santiago’s National Stadium into a concentration camp where political opponents were tortured and assassinated. Only months later, that same stadium was scheduled to host a decisive World Cup qualifier between Chile and the Soviet Union. Despite protests, FIFA’s own investigation, and the Soviet’s eventual boycott, the Chilean team still played the game as planned, qualifying for the 1974 World Cup on a goal scored against no one.

 

Mysteries of The Jules Rimet Trophy, Directed by Brett Ratner

Inspired by Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, the Jules Rimet Trophy was awarded to the nation that won FIFA’s World Cup and was among the most coveted prizes in all of sports. It is also the sports prize shrouded in the most intrigue – with the whereabouts of the original trophy unknown to this day. This film focuses on the great prize’s first brush with crime – a Nazi plan to steal the Rimet Trophy from Italy during World War II. The story unfolds like a great caper film, where our hero, Ottorino Barassi, a mild-mannered Italian soccer official, attempts to protect a valued treasure.

 

Maradona ’86, Directed by Sam Blair; Executive Produced by John Battsek

In the 1986 World Cup, Maradona redefined what is possible for one man to accomplish on the soccer field. Already a figure of notoriety, but with one failed World Cup behind him, Maradona took possession of the international stage in Mexico, the spotlight rarely drifting from him as he wrote an indelible history with his feet and, of course, with a hand from God. Delivered with passion and intelligence, Maradona ‘86 is a fascinating, evocative and operatic portrait of Maradona, revealing his inner complexity and contradictions while basking in the joy and passion of his performance on the pitch as he wrote his name on soccer history forever.

 

10 Vignettes:

Coraçao, Directed by Jonathan Hock; Executive Produced by Roger Bennett

Brazil’s soccer tradition does not compete with other countries’ teams: it exists on a different level. But aside from soccer success, and despite Brazil’s recent economic boom, most Americans know little about the country, its geographical richness, gripping culture, and complex recent history in which the nation has transformed from a military dictatorship to a thriving, if young, republic. This short vignette series will travel from the beaches and favelas of Rio, to Salvador – the former hub of the slave trade – on a journey of music, dance, and history, to discover the stories that lie behind Brazil’s legend and explore how Brazilian soccer is truly the expression of the soul of its people.

About ESPN Films

Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports.  In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody Award-winning, Producer’s Guild Award-winning and Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 film series. Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators.  The strong reaction from both critics and fans led to the launch of 30 for 30 Volume II, which is currently underway.  Additional projects from ESPN Films include the critically acclaimed Nine for IX series, SEC Storied and the webby award winning 30 for 30 Shorts.

-30-


ESPN Names Ian Darke Lead Commentator for 2014 FIFA World Cup

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnIan Darke will be the lead play-by-play commentator for ESPN during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, it was announced today by Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer, ESPN Production.  Darke, ESPN’s lead voice for international soccer since 2010, will call the Brazil vs. Croatia opening match on Thursday, June 12, in Sao Paulo, the final and other matches, including all U.S. Men’s National Team games in the quadrennial tournament (June 12 – July 13).

Following his critically-acclaimed work for ESPN during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Darke joined the company full-time and was named the lead English-language voice for soccer in September 2010, moving from London-based Sky Sports. Darke, who was one of the FIFA World Cup commentators for ESPN and ABC in the U.S. in 1994, has voiced some of the seminal moments in televised soccer in the U.S. during the past four years.

During the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Darke brilliantly captured the game-changing moment during the USA-Brazil quarterfinal match when U.S. forward Abby Wambach scored a miraculous header in the 122nd minute of play. He also provided commentary for the eventual USA vs. Japan final – the most-watched soccer match on ESPN, seen by an average of 13.5 million viewers.

In May 2012, Darke described the heart-throbbing final minutes of the 2011-12 English Premier League season as Manchester City FC scored two stoppage-time goals to win its first title in top division football since 1968.

“Since Ian emerged as our year-round signature voice for soccer, his commentary has elevated our presentation of the sport to new heights,” said Drake.  “His experience, authenticity and passion resonate tremendously well with our viewers, who have come to expect the highest-quality soccer commentary from ESPN.”

Darke added: “I am thrilled to be covering another World Cup for ESPN, particularly in such a fanatical hotbed of the sport as Brazil. The venues mean the match windows will be ideal for the ever increasing and passionate community of soccer fans in the USA, who will see every minute of every game.”

In addition to the World Cup, Darke is a contributor for ESPN FC on TV, the company’s global soccer news and information television program where he appears on Monday to provide insight on European football – mostly on the Premier League. He periodically writes for www.ESPNFC.com, the leading digital soccer brand.

In the United Kingdom, Darke is the lead football commentator for BT Sport, covering the Barclays Premier League and other major European leagues.

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), and WatchESPN will show all ESPN and ESPN2 games. 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).

Additionally, all ESPN studio programming – World Cup Tonight, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, ESPN FC, editions of SportsCenter, as well as the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows – and ESPN Deportes’ game-around-the-game programs will originate from the company’s production headquarters throughout the month at Clube dos Marimbás on the southern tip of the famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

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 high definition. All World Cup 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

– 30 –

Manchester United V. Swansea City On NBC Saturday At 12:30 Pm Highlights First 2014 Weekend Of Premier League Action

nbc-sports-groupAt Season Midpoint Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino & Robbie Mustoe Discuss First Half & What’s To Come

Stamford, Conn. – January 6, 2013 – NBC Sports Group continues Premier League coverage with the first weekend action of 2014 beginning this Saturday. With 20 match weeks completed, Liverpool forward Luis Suarez scored 20 goals (in only 15 games for him) and added five assists and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has kept eight clean sheets, made 51 saves and scored one goal thus far this season. Coverage this weekend is highlighted by Manchester United v. Swansea City on NBC on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET. The NBCSN 10 a.m. ET slot on Saturday will feature Tottenham Hotspur v. Crystal Palace.     

Additional matches in the 10 a.m. ET slot on Saturday will be available on Premier League Extra Time, a bonus television package available to MVPDs at no extra cost for customers who receive NBCSN. The interactive Premier League Game Finder can be accessed at http://www.nbcsports.com/ExtraTime.

mun2 will telecast three matches in Spanish this week (listed in table below).

Halfway through the  2013-14 Premier League season – each club has played 20 matches and has 18 remaining – Premier League Live’s Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe offer some midseason musings:

From what we have seen on the pitch thus far, I’m most impressed by __________.

Lowe: “…the players taking their chances and breaking through on the big stage. Oussama Assaidi was surplus to requirements at Liverpool and is scoring fabulous goals for Stoke. Romelu Lukaku wasn’t wanted at Chelsea and perhaps Jose Mourinho is now regretting letting him go on loan to Everton and the teenagers coming through at Southampton easing onto the biggest stage of all. The players have been highly impressive all round in talent and mentality from them all in different ways.”

Earle: “…the development of Arsenal football Club in 2013. During a Premier League Live show before a ball was kicked this season, I suggested the Gunners lacked the necessary strength down the spine of the team to win a title. A first day 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa only served to back up my point. Since then, the team have been outstanding have and played some wonderful football showing some of the resilience required of title contenders. There has been a remarkable improvement in players like Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.  Additionally the signing of one high profile player Mesut Ozil, seemed to give the collective squad a self confidence they had lacked in the past.  Arsenal will have to keep answering the questions posed by the critics, who doubt their ability to stay at the top but they have shown me this season, they are a serious player in this season’s title race.”

Martino: “… Manchester City’s attack. They have a record amount of goals for this stage in the season and there are no signs of it letting up.”

Mustoe: “… We knew Luis Suarez was a good player but his form after returning from suspension has been stunning. Many goals more than anyone else to this point has been spectacular just like the goals he’s scored. The variety of goals scored also confirms what he is, the complete modern day striker.”

What most intrigues me about the season’s second half is _________.

Lowe: “…whether a 44-year old with no management experience and no formal qualifications can take Tottenham into Europe. If he does, Tim Sherwood is set for life.”

Earle: “…Manchester United’s attempts to become ‘relevant’ in the title race and their subsequent battle to gain a Champions league spot. Sitting 11 points behind the leaders and five points adrift of the coveted fourth spot, David Moyes is going to need to finish the second half of the season ‘Sir Alex Ferguson-style’ when United usually play some of their best football and come into their own.

“It would be almost unthinkable for the reigning Champions not to qualify for Champions League football through their league placing and, at some point this year, they may have to put all their efforts into winning the European competition, to ensure their participation in it again next year.”

Martino: “… Arsenal. After nearly a decade since they last won the Premier League title no one, not even some of their fans, thinks they have what it takes to stay the course and lift the trophy. I do.”

Mustoe: “… Whether Arsenal can continue at the top of the Premier League is fascinating. The team has quality, skill and ability, we knew that, it’s the stamina and mental toughness required to stay on top through different challenges each week that we need to see. They’ve been in great league positions in the past only to fall away when the pressure mounts. In the coming weeks the character of this team will be questioned and I can’t wait for the answer.”

Lead play-by-play voice Arlo White joins former Premier League star and four-time league champion Lee Dixon to call Manchester United v, Swansea City on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC. White joins Graeme Le Saux, the former Premier League star who played in 36 international matches for England, to call Newcastle United v. Manchester City on Sunday at 9:05 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

All matches will be preceded and followed by Premier League Live pre- and post-match shows from the NBC Sports Group International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. Rebecca Lowe hosts Premier League Live alongside former English footballer Robbie Mustoe and former U.S. Men’s National midfielder Kyle Martino.

All Premier League games will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. Games airing on NBC Sports Network will be live streamed via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

To date, AT&T U-verse®, Bright House Networks, Cablevision’s Optimum, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, Mediacom, Suddenlink, and Time Warner Cable have opted to carry the additional Premier League matches via the Premier League Extra Time package, and AT&T U-verse, Cablevision’s Optimum, Charter, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, Suddenlink and Verizon FiOS will make all Premier League games available through TV Everywhere. Additionally, over 100 NCTC partners have either signed-on to the Premier League Extra Time package or have opted-in via TV Everywhere, including Blue Ridge Communications, Buckeye CableSystem, CenturyLink Prism, and RCN. In some cases, the Premier League Extra Time package will be available in select markets.

Below is the NBC Sports Group schedule for the 21st week of the Premier League season (all times ET, subject to change):

Date Time Home v. Away Network
Fri., Jan. 10 7 a.m. Barclays Premier League News NBCSN
Fri., Jan. 10 7:30 a.m. Barclays Premier League World NBCSN
Fri., Jan. 10 8 a.m. Barclays Premier League Match Pack NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 11 6:30 a.m. Barclays Premier League Preview NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 11 7 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 11 7:45 a.m. Hull City v. Chelsea NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 11 9:30 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 11 10 a.m. Tottenham Hotspur v. Crystal Palace NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 11 10 a.m. Everton v. Norwich Extra Time
Sat., Jan. 11 10 a.m. Southampton v. West Bromwich Albion Extra Time
Sat., Jan. 11 10 a.m. Fulham v. Sunderland Extra Time
Sat., Jan. 11 10 a.m. Cardiff City v. West Ham United Extra Time
Sat., Jan. 11 Noon Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Jan. 11 12:30 p.m. Manchester United v. Swansea City NBCSN, mun2
Sat., Jan. 11 11 p.m. NBCSN’s Match of the Day NBCSN
Sun., Jan. 12 8:30 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sun., Jan. 12 9 a.m. Newcastle United v. Manchester City NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Jan. 12 11 a.m. Liverpool v. Stoke City NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Jan. 12 11 p.m. NBCSN’s Match of the Day II NBCSN
Mon., Jan. 13 2 p.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Mon., Jan. 13 3 p.m. Aston Villa v. Arsenal NBCSN
Mon., Jan. 13 5 p.m. Goal Zone NBCSN
Mon., Jan. 13 11 p.m. Barclays Premier League Review NBCSN
Tues., Jan. 14 12 a.m. Premier League Encore: Manchester Monday NBCSN

NBC Sports Group presents the most ambitious, extensive and comprehensive coverage of the Premier League available anywhere in the world with all 380 Premier League matches available live in the United States on the networks of NBCUniversal, on the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra. In total, NBC Sports Group will present more than 1,600 hours of Premier League programming.

–NBC Sports Group–

ESPN To Debut First Campaign Spot For 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnWith roughly six months until the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, ESPN will release its first World Cup commercial spot during the network’s presentation of the 100th Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO.  ESPN is the exclusive U.S. English-language rights holder for the event, which will run from June 12-July 13, 2014. 
 
The 60-second spot is a celebration of the world’s greatest sporting event returning to Brazil, a nation that has won the Cup a record five times.  It intertwines memorable moments and legendary players from the tournament’s rich history with the Brazilian culture and its impact on the beautiful game.  The spot features iconic players and teams and a collection of the World Cup’s most indelible moments, including:
  • Pele and his triumphant celebration in 1970
  • Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Dutch captain Johan Cruyff exchanging flags moments before the 1974 Final
  • Diego Maradona and his brilliant performance for Argentina in 1986
  • Zinedine Zidane, whose epic performance for France led the host country to win the Cup in 1998
  • Andres Iniesta, whose beautiful strike sealed Spain’s first World Cup title in 2010
  • Cameroonian striker Roger Milla’s famous dance in 1990
  • Dutch legend Johan Cruyff’s immortal turn in 1974
  • England striker Geoff Hurst’s record-setting three-goal performance in a World Cup title match in 1966
  • Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp’s memorable touch against Argentina in 1998
  • Carlos Alberto’s wonder-strike for Brazil in 1970
  • Paolo Rossi hoisting the cup for Italy in 1982
  • And Landon Donovan’s celebration after his last-gasp winner against Algeria earned the U.S. Men’s National Team a place in the single-elimination rounds in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.   

The spot culminates with the crop of current stars who will all seek to etch their names in the annals of World Cup history this summer: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Balotelli, Robin van Persie, and Brazil’s current number ten: Neymar.

Manchester City v. Crystal Palace to be Saturday 10 a.m. ET NBCSN Match

nbc-sports-groupMANCHESTER CITY V. CRYSTAL PALACE TO BE SATURDAY, DEC. 28, 10 A.M. ET NBCSN MATCH

NBCSN to Present Southampton v. Chelsea on New Year’s Day at 10 a.m. ET

Bonus New Year’s Day 90-Minute Match of the Day on NBCSN at 3:30 p.m. ET

Stamford, Conn. – December 27, 2013 – NBC Sports Group continues Premier League coverage with 20 matches through this weekend and New Year’s Day, Jan. 1. NBCSN’s 10 a.m. ET slot on Saturday, Dec. 28, will feature Manchester City v. Crystal Palace. The NBCSN 10 a.m. ET slot on Wednesday, New Year’s Day, will feature Southampton v. Chelsea.

Bonus New Year’s Day coverage includes an extended 90-minute, live Match of the Day on NBCSN at 3:30 p.m. ET as host Rebecca Lowe, former Jamaican National Team footballer Robbie Earle and former U.S. National Team midfielder Kyle Martino provide in-depth analysis, post-match interviews and reaction, plus extended highlights with the match commentators.

The additional matches in the 10 a.m. ET slots on Dec. 28 and New Year’s Day will be available on Premier League Extra Time, a bonus television package available to MVPDs at no extra cost for customers who receive NBCSN.

The interactive Premier League Game Finder can be accessed at http://www.nbcsports.com/ExtraTime.

Below is the NBCUniversal schedule for this weekend and New Year’s Day (all times ET, subject to change):

Date Time Home v. Away Network 
Sat., Dec. 28 7 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Dec. 28 7:45 a.m. West Ham United v. West Bromwich Albion NBCSN
Sat., Dec. 28 10 a.m. Manchester City v. Crystal Palace NBCSN
Sat., Dec. 28 10 a.m. Hull City v. Fulham Extra Time
Sat., Dec. 28 10 a.m. Aston Villa v. Swansea City Extra Time
Sat., Dec. 28 10 a.m. Norwich City v. Manchester United Extra Time
Sat., Dec. 28 Noon Premier League Live NBCSN
Sat., Dec. 28 12:30 p.m. Cardiff City v. Sunderland NBC
Sat., Dec. 28 11 p.m. NBCSN’s Match of the Day NBCSN
Sun., Dec. 29 8 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sun., Dec. 29 8:30 a.m. Newcastle United v. Arsenal NBCSN, mun2
Sun., Dec. 29 8:30 a.m. Everton v. Southampton Extra Time
Sun., Dec. 29 10:30 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Sun., Dec. 29 11 a.m. Chelsea v. Liverpool NBCSN, Telemundo
Sun., Dec. 29 11 a.m. Tottenham Hotspur v. Stoke City Extra Time
Sun., Dec. 29 11 p.m. NBCSN’s Match of the Day II NBCSN
Mon., Dec. 30 11 p.m. Barclays Premier League Review NBCSN
Tues., Dec. 31 12 a.m. Premier League Encore: Manchester Monday NBCSN
Tues., Dec. 31 11:30 p.m. Premier League Encore NBCSN
Wed., Jan. 1 7 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Wed., Jan. 1 7:45 a.m. Swansea City v. Manchester City NBCSN
Wed., Jan. 1 9:45 a.m. Premier League Live NBCSN
Wed., Jan. 1 10 a.m. Southampton v. Chelsea NBCSN
Wed., Jan. 1 10 a.m. Crystal Palace v. Norwich City Extra Time
Wed., Jan. 1 10 a.m. Fulham v. West Ham United Extra Time
Wed., Jan. 1 10 a.m. Liverpool v. Hull City Extra Time
Wed., Jan. 1 10 a.m. Stoke City v. Everton Extra Time
Wed., Jan. 1 10 a.m. Sunderland v. Aston Villa Extra Time
Wed., Jan. 1 10 a.m. West Bromwich Albion v. Newcastle United Extra Time
Wed., Jan. 1 10 a.m. Arsenal v. Cardiff City Extra Time
Wed., Jan. 1 Noon Premier League Live NBCSN
Wed., Jan. 1 12:30 p.m. Manchester United v. Tottenham Hotspur NBCSN
Wed., Jan. 1 3:30 p.m. Match of the Day NBCSN

Lead play-by-play voice Arlo White joins Graeme Le Saux, the former Premier League star who played in 36 international matches for England, on NBCSN to call Chelsea v. Liverpool on Sun., Dec. 29 at 11 a.m. ET; and Manchester United v. Tottenham on New Year’s Day at 12:30 p.m. ET. White teams with former Premier League star and four-time league champion Lee Dixon to call Cardiff City v. Sunderland on NBC on Sat., Dec. 28 at 12:30 p.m. ET.

All matches will be preceded and followed by Premier League Live pre- and post-match shows from the NBC Sports Group International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. Lowe  hosts Premier League Live alongside Earle, Martino, and former English footballer Robbie Mustoe.

All Premier League games will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. Games airing on NBC Sports Network will be live streamed via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

To date, AT&T U-verse®, Bright House Networks, Cablevision’s Optimum, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, Mediacom, Suddenlink, and Time Warner Cable have opted to carry the additional Premier League matches via the Premier League Extra Time package, and AT&T U-verse, Cablevision’s Optimum, Charter, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, Suddenlink and Verizon FiOS will make all Premier League games available through TV Everywhere. Additionally, over 100 NCTC partners have either signed-on to the Premier League Extra Time package or have opted-in via TV Everywhere, including Blue Ridge Communications, Buckeye CableSystem, CenturyLink Prism, and RCN. In some cases, the Premier League Extra Time package will be available in select markets.

NBC Sports Group presents the most ambitious, extensive and comprehensive coverage of the Premier League available anywhere in the world with all 380 Premier League matches available live in the United States on the networks of NBCUniversal, on the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra. In total, NBC Sports Group will present more than 1,600 hours of Premier League programming.

–NBC Sports Group–

ESPN Names First Five Analysts for 2014 FIFA World Cup Team

FIFA-World-Cup-2014_Logo-espnAnalysts Michael Ballack, Alexi Lalas, Steve McManaman, Santiago Solari and Taylor Twellman

Five soccer professionals and national team players – Michael Ballack (Germany), Alexi Lalas (USA), Steve McManaman (England), Santiago Solari (Argentina) and Taylor Twellman (USA) – have been named analysts for ESPN’s 2014 FIFA World Cup team in Brazil. With a combined five FIFA World Cup tournament teams between them this group will be part of ESPN’s English-language presentation in the United States on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC and WatchESPN throughout the month-long tournament, June 12 – July 13, 2014.

Ballack, Lalas, McManaman and Solari will appear on pre-match, halftime and post-match shows, SportsCenter, ESPN FC, and FIFA World Cup-themed news and information programs. Twellman will primarily serve as a co-commentator. McManaman will also co-commentate on select matches.

In their first assignment, the analysts will join host Bob Ley at the ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn., to present the Final Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ on ESPN2, Friday, December 6, at 11:30 a.m. ET – the kickoff event for ESPN’s multimedia coverage of the quadrennial tournament in Brazil when the groups and matchups are determined.

“The quality and diversity of our analyst team was one of the keys to our 2010 World Cup success,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer.  “Michael, Alexi, Macca, Santiago, Taylor and others to come, will form what we expect to be one of the best collections of football minds available anywhere for this global sporting event.”

Ballack was the German National Team captain from 2004 until injury forced him off the World Cup team in 2010. He debuted on ESPN networks as a pundit for UEFA EURO 2012. Brazil 2014 will mark his debut as a World Cup analyst.

Lalas, a U.S. Men’s National Team defender and the face of USA ’94 team, will work his third straight FIFA World Cup for ESPN having debuted in 2006 as a guest analyst. He is ESPN’s lead studio analyst for U.S. Men’s National Team and Major League Soccer matches.

McManaman, Liverpool legend and former England National Team player, debuted on ESPN during South Africa 2010. He has since served as match analyst for the network’s critically acclaimed coverage of the Barclays Premier League from 2010-2013, working alongside play-by-play commentator Ian Darke. McManaman teamed with Darke again as the network’s lead match commentator team for the UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Solari, former Real Madrid winger and Argentina National team player, will make his World Cup debut on U.S. television with the Draw on Friday and through the month-long Brazil 2014 tournament. He is one of the pundits on ESPN FC, the company’s global soccer news and information program.

Twellman, a former U.S. National Team player and one of the most prolific forwards to ever wear a Major League Soccer jersey playing for the New England Revolution, will make his World Cup debut in the booth in Brazil. He is ESPN’s lead match analyst for the U.S. Men’s National Team and Major League Soccer.

Specific assignments are to be determined, and other ESPN commentators for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be announced at a later date.

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, 2014), and WatchESPN will show all ESPN and ESPN2 games. 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).

Additionally, all ESPN studio programming – World Cup Tonight, ESPN FC World Cup Encore, ESPN FC, editions of SportsCenter, as well as the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows – and ESPN Deportes’ game-around-the-game programs will originate from the company’s production headquarters throughout the month at Clube dos Marimbás on the southern tip of the famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

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 high definition. All World Cup 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

– 30 –