Seen on Screen: NBA Stars Play HORSE on ESPN; Liga BBVA MX, MLB Go Virtual With Esports Tournaments
Seen on Screen provides a roundup of the current sports programming landscape as networks deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In this week’s edition, major networks like NBC Sports, Fox Sports, and ESPN are combating the silence of no live sports with previously-released, taped, or archival content. Many networks have also continued producing live studio content – often with on-air talent located remotely.
Ten-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, 2020 NBA All-Star Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, and newly elected Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings headline the list of eight NBA and WNBA players and legends who are participating in the new NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm, exclusively on ESPN and streamed via the ESPN App.
Beginning Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m. ET, Paul, Young, Catchings, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley of the Chicago Sky, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., and NBA Finals MVPs Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce matched shots against one another in a single-elimination HORSE competition from their respective, isolated home courts. ESPN NBA commentator Mark Jones served as the official host.
State Farm will donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts. This donation builds on the more than $74 million that has been contributed by the NBA Family to date to support coronavirus relief efforts through its NBA Together campaign.
NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm participants is divided into two groups of four, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals. The winner from each group moved on to the championship round. ESPN presented the four quarterfinal games on Sunday. The semifinals and the championship game will air on Thursday, April 16, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
NBA HORSE Challenge Presented by State Farm participants:
NBA Legend, ESPN Analyst
Mike Conley Jr.
Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA Legend, ESPN Analyst
The schedule includes:
Sun, Apr. 12
Quarterfinals Group 1: Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups
Quarterfinals Group 1: Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley Jr.
Quarterfinals Group 2: Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce
Quarterfinals Group 2: Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley
Quarterfinals Encore Presentations
Thu, Apr. 16
Quarterfinals Encore Presentations
Group 1: Semifinals
Group 2: Semifinals
HORSE Championship Game…
…Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) have created the MLB The Show Players League, the first-ever competitive MLB The Show league solely featuring Major League players. Thirty players have agreed to represent their Major League Clubs and play each other in this inaugural online event to engage fans around the world and raise funds for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada.
The 30-player league includes 11 former All-Stars, five World Series Champions and eight players age 25 or younger. Each participant plays in a round-robin format (i.e., playing every team one time) throughout the month of April for a total of 29 regular season, three-inning games. Following this regular season, the top eight teams will advance to the Postseason, which will largely mirror the MLB Postseason format and culminate in a World Series.
The MLB The Show Players League began on April 10 when Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays play Amir Garrett and the Cincinnati Reds at 9 p.m. ET. Fans can watch streams of games on a variety of digital platforms, including Twitch and YouTube. Follow @MLB, @MLB_PLAYERS, @MLBTheShow, and the players’ Twitter accounts for times and stream information.
MLB Network host and avid gamer Robert Flores will provide commentary, recaps, analysis and conduct player interviews throughout the course of the season, including before, during and after games, via MLB, MLB Network and PlayStation’s social media platforms.
Click HERE for a full list of participants…
…Univision’s TUDN and Liga BBVA MX, the top-tier soccer league in Mexico, are starting the “eLiga MX by BBVA Tournament,” an EA Sports “FIFA 20” gaming tournament that will feature player representatives from each Liga MX club competing head-to-head in a 17-matchday season on Playstation 4 that mirrors this year’s Clausura schedule with the top eight teams advancing to a single-elimination playoff format. Beginning Friday, April 10 at 3:00 p.m. ET, TUDN broadcasted up to three matches per day, excluding Thursdays, with play-by-play performed by TUDN talent, and special guest commentary by Liga MX players.
Each Liga MX club will feature three players from its current roster, who in turn will represent their real-life team during tournament gameplay. TUDN talent will provide live play-by-play, plus pre- and post-game coverage for each match. Featured TUDN talent includes Enrique Bermudez, Alejandro Berry, Jesus Bracamontes, Lindsay Casinelli, Tony Cherchi, Marc Crosas, Kikin Fonseca, Ivan Kasanzew, Adriana Monsalve, Moises Muñoz, Pablo Ramirez, Oswaldo Sanchez, Luis Omar Tapia, Paco Villa, and Ivan Zamorano.
TUDN’s coverage kicked off Friday with a matchup between Necaxa vs. Monterrey, followed by Cruz Azul vs. Atlas at 4:00 p.m. ET and then returns in primetime with Puebla vs. America at 9:00 p.m. ET. Regular season matches are scheduled to continue each day, excluding Thursdays, through Sunday, June 7 with the playoff schedule slated to be announced at a later date. All matches from the tournament will be telecast on TUDN and streamed on TUDN.com and the TUDN app. Fans can follow @TUDNUSA on Twitter and Facebook for tune-in information, game commentary, and game highlights, and can join the conversation with #TuCasaTuCancha…
…MLB will premiere one new episode of its new programming series “MLB Originals” weekly on the league’s YouTube channel beginning this Monday, April 13. The lineup of six new shows has a little something for everyone ranging from an in-depth look at unique baseball traditions and rituals to behind-the-scenes glimpses into player’s and teammates’ lives off the field.
“MLB Originals” premieres with QUICK QUESTION, which takes a closer look at common customs and situations found in baseball through experts and animation. This week’s episode explores “Why do ballparks have different dimensions?” with background and anecdotes from MLB’s Official Historian John Thorn and Janet Marie Smith, Senior Vice President of Planning and Development for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who oversaw the design and construction of one of baseball’s most renowned ballparks, Camden Yards.
Other “MLB Originals” series include:
- STACK’D: Players answer personal questions and perform special challenges all while testing their tower-building skills with over-sized wooden blocks. The show is hosted by MLB Youth Ambassador and acclaimed softball player, Lauren Chamberlain.
- FITTED: The tradition of a veteran player taking a rookie suit shopping is on full display as teammates talk baseball, fashion and life. The debut episode features Oakland’s Marcus Semien and Jesús Luzardo.
- NEWLYBROS: MLB stars who are close friends, either through childhood, in the Minors or as Major League teammates, are put to the test through this adaptation of the popular game show.
- THE TRYOUT: Celebrities and athletes who have always wanted to have a shot at the Majors see if they have what it takes with the help and coaching of a current MLB star. The first episode features Cubs superstar Javy Báez and Puerto Rican recording artist and song-writer Residente.
- THE BLUEPRINT: Each championship team is built with a collection of draft picks, trades, and free agent acquisitions that lead to success on the field. This show explores the moves that made winners out of teams like the 2019 Nationals, 2016 Cubs, and 2010/2012/2014 Giants.
A new episode of one of the series will premiere on MLB’s YouTube channel Mondays at 11:00 AM ET. Much of the footage was captured during Spring Training in February and early March. Fans can subscribe to MLB’s YouTube channel for the latest content.
Additionally, MLB will work with its Clubs and players to program social channels with at-home content including eSports challenges, at-home tutorials and commentary of their favorite or most memorable games that live stream as part of MLB at Home lineup on MLB.com and social platforms…
…ProCamps and John Calipari – via the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience – in collaboration with ESPN and Facebook, will produce a twenty- week Facebook Live series that will support No Kid Hungry and other child-focused
The series, titled Coffee with Cal, will feature positive messaging and conversation with high-profile guests from the world of sports, leadership, business and entertainment. The first episode, set for Monday, April 13, will feature entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban.
Each episode will stream live on the John Calipari Basketball Fantasy Experience Facebook. The live stream will also be available on ESPN’s Facebook page, Facebook’s “Sports on Facebook” page, and for re-watch on ESPN’s YouTube page. ESPN will also publish clips to ESPN.com, the ESPN App, and social platforms…
…While conference baseball and softball seasons would be getting into full swing in April and May, SEC Network is stepping up to the plate with some of the best SEC baseball and softball showdowns on deck. The network will feature championship-clinching games from SEC teams in the College World Series and Women’s College World Series, highlighted matchups from the SEC Softball Tournament, and debut ‘Friday Fan Night’ on Friday, April 17.
Beginning Thursday, April 16 at 8 p.m. ET, SEC Network will highlight a championship-clinching game from the NCAA College World Series. The stunt begins with the 1996 College World Series between LSU and the University of Miami. After the first week, games will shift to 7 p.m. for the rest of the stunt.
SECN will also spotlight the conference’s stellar softball squads on Mondays, beginning April 20. Each week will feature an SEC team clinching a Women’s College World Series title or a featured matchup from the SEC Softball Tournament.
Beginning next week, SEC Network is introducing ‘Friday Fan Night,’ featuring an SEC softball and baseball doubleheader determined by SEC fans around the world.
Each week, SEC Network will launch a Twitter poll on Tuesdays (baseball) and Wednesdays (softball) and invite fans to choose their favorite games based on theme. Each Twitter poll will be open from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. for SEC faithful to weigh in. The winning softball game will air on Fridays at 7 p.m., with the winning baseball game following at 9 p.m. The opening baseball poll will go live at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 14 with softball following on Wednesday, April 15 at 10 a.m.
Additional highlights over the next week include:
- Monday, April 13: Late night SEC Championship marathon (indoor track & field, swimming & diving, cross country, soccer)
- Tuesday, April 14: Weekly airings of Saturdays in the South: A History of SEC Football Presented by Regions Bank
- Wednesday, April 15: Homecoming with Paul Finebaum primetime marathon
- Thursday, April 16: SEC Featured: Draft Special debuts at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, April 19: All-day SEC Championship marathon (golf, tennis, softball, baseball)
SEC Network continues its robust lineup of social and digital programming for SEC fans looking for current conversation surrounding the world of sports, including SEC For Now, No Offseason with Laura Rutledge, and SEC Game Night. Daily content is premiering on SEC Network’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as SECNetwork.com.
Click HERE for a full schedule…
…With the NFL Draft less than two weeks away, followed by the release of the NFL schedule and other offseason news, the new, one-hour NBC Sports Football Flex will cover it all, kicking off tomorrow, Monday, April 13 at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN.
The show will feature the most topical news and analysis from NBC Sports’ digital football content, including The Peter King Podcast, Chris Simms Unbuttoned, PFT PM, Rotoworld Football Podcast, Jac Collinsworth’s Distanced Training: Ready to Get Back in the Game, plus Ahmed Fareed with his unique takes on sports during the quarantine.
NBCSN will now feature football- and entertainment-focused programming from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET every weekday.
Monday through Friday lineup on NBCSN, from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET:
7 a.m. – 9 a.m.: PFT Live (LIVE)
9 a.m. – 11 a.m.: PFT Live
11 a.m. – Noon: NBC Sports Football Flex
Noon – 1 p.m.: Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico (LIVE)
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.: The Rich Eisen Show (LIVE)
3 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico…
…Rich Eisen, a four-time Sports Emmy studio host nominee and NFL Network’s first on-air talent, will bring his Los Angeles-based The Rich Eisen Show to NBCSN for a special two-month run on weekdays, beginning this Monday, April 13 at 1 p.m. ET.
The Rich Eisen Show, which will be presented live on NBCSN from Monday through Friday from 1-3 p.m. ET through June 12, features an engaging mix of sports, humor and pop culture, while attracting the most recognizable names in sports and entertainment.
The Rich Eisen Show will follow the Noon ET Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico and will also stream live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – as NBC Sports presents three hours of daily live sports talk from Noon to 3 p.m. ET on weekdays.
In addition to the new deal with NBC Sports, The Rich Eisen Show has been renewed by Sirius/XM (Channel 211) and PodcastOne where the show will continue to be available on both platforms in its full 3-hour simulcast daily from noon-3 p.m. ET. The live stream will continue to be available worldwide on YouTube at YouTube.com/richeisenshow.
...The Jump, ESPN’sNBA news and discussion show led by host Rachel Nichols featuring high-profile analysts, reporters, and special guests, returns to the daily ESPN programming lineup beginning Monday, Apr. 13 at 3 p.m. ET, with encores at 4:30 p.m. Monday’s show will feature special content surrounding the four-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, closing out his twenty-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Six-time NBA Champion and analyst Scottie Pippen will join the show next week to discuss the highly anticipated 10-part docuseries The Last Dance, chronicling Pippen, Michael Jordan, and the Chicago Bulls’ quest for a sixth NBA Championship.
In addition to Pippen, next week’s cast includes analysts Richard Jefferson, Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, and Jay Williams and NBA Insider Brian Windhorst.
Nichols will also interview NBA All-Stars Jayson Tatum, of the Boston Celtics, and John Wall, of the Washington Wizards.
The Jump is available to stream on the ESPN App…
…ESPN is now the official U.S. linear and authenticated streaming platform for the 2020 League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) Spring Split Playoffs. Matches will air live on ESPN2 or the ESPN app, with all matches available on-demand in the ESPN app immediately following competition. The first match was 100 Thieves vs. TSM on Wednesday, April 8 at 4 p.m. EST on the ESPN App and ESPN.com.
The LCS Spring Split playoffs represent the most competitive moment of the year so far, kicking off on April 3 and 4 with the top six teams after a hotly fought first half of the season. The playoffs comprise of three rounds and culminate in a grand final on April 19 where a new champion will be crowned and go on to represent North America at the 2020 Mid-Season Invitational in July against teams from around the world. Their success will also be memorialized with a championship banner in the LCS Studios.
The remaining schedule includes:
Starting this Saturday, April 11, The Race All-Star Series – Fully Charged by ROKiT Phones reached millions of homes via ESPN. Saturday’s All-Star Cup and Legends Trophy races was shown live on ESPN2 from 12:00 p.m. ET and replayed Sunday on ESPN2 at 1 pm ET.
The Torque Esports events featured two separate competitions – the All-Star Cup, which pits the leading stars from Formula 1, Formula E, IndyCar, sportscars, and more against the world’s top sim racers; and the Legends Trophy.
The entry list for the Legends Trophy featured familiar names for ESPN viewers, including Formula 1 World Champions Emerson Fittipaldi, Jacques Villeneuve, and Jenson Button and Indy 500 winners Juan Pablo Montoya (also a F1 star), Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, and Tony Kanaan.
Last week’s Legends field had a combined record of three Formula 1 World Championship titles, 1076 race starts, 47 wins, 41 pole positions; eight IndyCar championships, 1414 race starts, 124 wins, and 11 Indy 500 victories; as well as 16 wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Along with the ESPN live broadcast news, The Race All-Star Series – Fully Charged by ROKiT Phones will evolve into a full championship series. A three-race championship series will feature professional racers competing against the world’s top sim racers. Points will be awarded after each week, with the pro racing champion crowned at the end of three weeks being awarded a $30,000 prize to be given to the charity of their choice.
The top-performing sim racer will receive a full day’s test in a Formula 1 team’s simulator including flights to the UK and accommodation (subject to the lifting of travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic)
Legends racers will also compete for their favorite charity with a weekly US$10,000 prize on offer for the winner of the opening race.
Saturday’s The Race All-Star Cup – Fully Charged by ROKiT Phones event was held at the rFactor 2 version of Sebring International Raceway at 12:00 p.m. ET…
…ESPN presented a seven-hour programming marathon featuring three classic Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals this Sunday, April 12, beginning at 12 p.m. ET. The marathon began with the 70th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee Final from 1997 when 13-year-old Rebecca Sealfon of Brooklyn, N.Y. captured the title in the 22nd round by correctly spelling “euonym.”
An encore presentation of the 77th National Spelling Bee Final in 2004 followed at 2:30 p.m. Fourteen-year-old David Tidmarsh of South Bend, Ind., correctly spelled “autochthonous” for the win after finishing 16th in the 2003 Finals. At 5 p.m., ESPN re-aired the 2008 Final that brought a record 288 champion spellers to the Finals. Sameer Mishra, a 13-year-old champion speller from Lafayette, Ind., correctly spelled “guerdon” to win the 81st Scripps National Spelling Bee Final…
…FloSports will premiere an all-new original documentary, Bad Cut, that explores the dangers of weight cutting among MMA fighters and wrestlers and the adverse impact the practice is having on the business of combat sports. The film will exclusively stream on FloSports beginning April 24.
Fighters routinely put themselves at serious medical risk in order to make a competitive weight class by severely dehydrating themselves prior to competition. This practice is a major issue within all of combat sports, but especially MMA, where the risks of taking blows to the head in a depleted state can be fatal. Extreme weight-cutting has led to serious injury and even death and risks upending the combat sports industry. How does this practice affect the health of athletes? Will the industry make any changes? How are regulators tackling this issue? And what will the impact be on the business of combat sports? Bad Cut explores all these questions and more, as FloSports correspondent Mark Bader travels around the country to talk with medical experts, regulators, and athletes in an attempt to drill down to the bottom of this highly contentious issue and search for a solution before it’s too late.
Bad Cut features interviews and insights from leading authorities in combat sports including trainer/nutritionist, Mike Dolce, former UFC referee, “Big” John McCarthy, MMA athlete, CJ Hancock, California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer, Andy Foster and 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Coleman Scott.
Bad Cut is a FloSports Original Feature and will be the first in a series of new films set for release in the coming months including a documentary detailing a Cuban wrestler’s journey across Central America to defect to the United States, a new cheerleading docu-series, and more. Bad Cut was executive produced by Ray Machuca, produced by Kyle Bogart, Cliff Bogart, Melissa La Marr, and Mark Bader, shot by Chad Leathers and Tony Stofla and edited by Tyler Mager.