Category Archives: Sports

TNT’s NBA Western Conference Finals Game 5

Coverage Delivers Top Program Across All of Television & Most-Watched 2018 NBA Playoff Game to Date

Live Game Telecast & TNT’s Inside the NBA Combine to

Generate Top Two Shows in Primetime on All of Cable TV

WCF Game 5 Averages 9.2 Million Viewers, Up 59% vs. 2017 ECF Game 5 on TNT

TNT’s exclusive presentation of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Finals Game 5 delivered the highest-rated program across all of television (broadcast and cable) on Thursday night, based on metered market delivery, and the most-viewed game of this year’s NBA Playoffs to date. The game telecast also combined with TNT’s iconic Inside the NBA studio show to generate the top two programs of the night across all of cable television.

Last night’s Rockets/Warriors telecast averaged 9.2 million viewers to garner the most-watched 2018 NBA Playoff game on any network to date, according to Nielsen Fast Nationals. TNT’s WCF Game 5 telecast – peaking with an average of 12.2 million viewers from 11:15-11:30 p.m. – is up 59% vs. the network’s coverage of 2017 ECF Game 5 (Cavs/Celtics).

Overall, TNT’s WCF coverage is averaging 8.3 million viewers, up 33% over last year’s Eastern Conference Finals airing on the network (Cavaliers/Celtics) and an increase of 27% vs. the four-game 2017 WCF (Warriors/Spurs).

 

Falcons snag WR Calvin Ridley at No. 26

With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Falcons selected Calvin Ridley, a wide receiver from Alabama.

That adds another playmaker to an already strong offense, and another Alabama wide receiver to a team that already has Julio Jones.

The Falcons were already a playoff team, and now they think they’ve added a player who can make a significant difference, and do so immediately.

2019 BMW Z4 Roadster Interior Revealed in New Spy Images

Written By | STEVE SILER

It’s unlikely very much carries over to the Supra . . . it’s all BMW in there.

What It Is: A pair of 2019 BMW Z4 prototypes circling a roundabout near Germany’s famous Nürburgring racetrack. (Golly, what could they be doing there?)

We have hunted down BMW’s once and future compact roadster twice already—once on track last summer and again in a snowy parking lot two months ago—but this marks the first time we’ve seen the car with the top down, as well as what its dashboard and center console look like. Minor design differences between the two cars’ grilles and wheels suggest different trim levels and possibly different powertrains, too.

The topless car shows the regrettable abandonment of the expressive and elegant headrest fairings that appeared on the Concept Z4 show car that previewed this next-gen Z4. They’ve been replaced by squared-off roll hoops not unlike those found on the previous Z4. Also gone are the concept’s shark-nose kidney grille and the multi-element chin spoiler with its deeply recessed mesh inserts. In their place is a blunter, more integrated nose with grille inserts that sit more flush with the car’s body. The outboard elements appear to be merely decorative.

The interior shots reveal layout and design motifs clearly in sync with current BMWs, and the show car’s awesome deep-dish steering wheel is nowhere in sight. At least one of the prototypes seen here has a fully digitized instrument cluster that mimics the concept’s cool speedo and tach layout; a separate image shows an instrument cluster concealed by a black panel through which conventional dials bracketing a smaller center display appear to be barely visible. The center console, however, with its shifter and iDrive controls, could have been lifted directly from the concept.

Why It Matters: Just as the Concept Z4’s expressive exterior has been toned down considerably for production, so, too, has its interior. If the engineers also take this tack and remain conservative in terms of its dynamic attributes, the Z4 could drive more like the benign previous-generation model rather than a rowdy ragtop. But then, a rowdy ragtop is what BMW needs to help restore some shine to its performance credentials.

Platform: The 2019 Z4 roadster will ride on a platform shared with the upcoming Toyota Supra, the latter offered only as a hardtop coupe while the BMW will come only in softtop convertible form. We’re not sure that will always remain the case, but it makes sense to clearly differentiate the products at launch. If BMW is able to keep weight down, performance should match or surpass that of the outgoing Z4. Switching back to a softtop design will certainly help on the weight front while presumably also lowering the center of gravity and increasing available luggage space.

Powertrain: If we were bettin’ folks, we would say that the car with the black wheels and stowed roof is a Z4 sDrive30i, powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four worth about 250 horsepower or so, while the car with the larger-looking silver-finished wheels and raised top is a Z4 M40i model with BMW’s familiar turbocharged inline-six underhood, which ought to be good for at least the same 335 horses and 369 lb-ft of torque it is expected to produce when installed in the Toyota Supra. Both engines will be offered with six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions in the BMW. A more powerful M version could very well appear down the road, possibly with the 425-hp twin-turbo inline-six from the M3/M4.

Competition: Audi TT, Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-type, Porsche 718 Boxster.

Estimated Arrival and Price: The new Z4 should arrive later this year. The outgoing model starts just under $51K with its complex folding hard top; we figure the new soft-roofed model will start somewhere around $50,000.

SEC Network to Carry Live Telecast of SEC Championships in Tennis, Golf and Track & Field

Written By | Amanda Brooks

For the first time in SEC Network history, Southeastern Conference championships in women’s and men’s golf, women’s and men’s tennis and women’s and men’s outdoor track & field will be televised live with additional live coverage on SEC Network+ and the ESPN App to total nearly 30 hours of championship action.

The SEC Women’s Golf Championship kicks off SEC Network’s spring championship programming with play-by-play announcer Taylor Zarzour, World Golf Hall of Famer Judy Rankin and SEC Network host Peter Burns calling the action on Saturday, April 21 at 5 p.m. ET on SEC Network+ and Sunday, April 22 at 9 a.m. on SEC Network.

Following Sunday golf action from the Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Ala. is the SEC Women’s Tennis Championship with Sam Gore and Jimmy Arias live from Knoxville, Tenn. at 2:30 p.m. Gore and Arias will also team up to call the SEC Men’s Tennis Championship on Sunday, April 29 at 1 p.m. on SEC Network.

St. Simons Island plays host to the SEC Men’s Golf Championship the weekend of April 28 and 29, with South Carolina alum Carl Paulson joining Zarzour and Burns on the call on SEC Network and SEC Network+ from Sea Island’s Seaside Course.

Some of the fastest collegians in the country will take to the track for the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Knoxville. Live coverage of the championship will air on May 12 and 13 with Dwight Stones, Larra Overton, Jill Montgomery and John Anderson providing insight and analysis over nearly ten hours of action on SEC Network and SEC Network+.

For more information on these championships and SEC Network’s coverage of the 14 SEC institutions, please visit SECNetwork.com.

Date

Time (ET)

Programming

Network

Sat, Apr 21

5 p.m.

SEC Women’s Golf Championship

Taylor Zarzour, Judy Rankin, Peter Burns

SEC Network+

Sun, Apr 22

9 a.m.

SEC Women’s Golf Championship

Taylor Zarzour, Judy Rankin, Peter Burns

SEC Network

2:30 p.m.

SEC Women’s Tennis Championship

Sam Gore, Jimmy Arias

SEC Network

Sat, Apr 28

4 p.m.

SEC Men’s Golf Championship

Taylor Zarzour, Carl Paulson, Peter Burns

SEC Network+

Sun, Apr 29

7:30 a.m.

SEC Men’s Golf Championship

Taylor Zarzour, Carl Paulson, Peter Burns

SEC Network

1 p.m.

SEC Men’s Tennis Championship

Sam Gore, Jimmy Arias

SEC Network

Sat, May 12

6:30 p.m.

SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Dwight Stones, Larra Overton, Jill Montgomery, John Anderson

SEC Network+

Sun, May 13

6 p.m.

SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Dwight Stones, Larra Overton, Jill Montgomery, John Anderson

Atlanta United, NYCFC Draw in 2-2 Thriller on Barco Debut

Written By | 

Atlanta United took the lead twice, but league-leading NYCFC answered both times in a thrilling 2-2 draw Sunday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Both teams traded chances for the first 29 minutes, but Greg Garza and Atlanta United broke through first. Miguel Almiron picked up the pieces of his own deflected pass and charged into the box. NYCFC allowed him plenty of room to on his left side and the left-footed Almiron pushed a shot toward the left side of the net. Sean Johnson made the initial save but Garza followed the shot and finished the tap in to put Atlanta on top.

The lead only lasted eight minutes.

In the 38th minute NYCFC strung together the prettiest string of passes of the day to play Jo Inge Berget into space on the left side. A recovering Michael Parkhurst clipped Berget in the 18-yard-box and the Pigeons were awarded a much-deserved penalty.

David Villa, who entered minutes earlier as a substitute, stepped up to the spot and slipped the ball past Brad Guzan.

Moments later it appeared that Atlanta had reclaimed the lead. Darlington Nagbe took a back pass from Julian Gressel 20 yards away from goal and one-timed the ball into the left side of the net. The dude reacted with the enthusiasm of a man who just made a cup of coffee in what appeared to be a glimpse into a cold-blooded killer mentality Nagbe had long kept hidden from the public. Instead, it turned out it was the reaction of a man who knew his goal was about to be disallowed. After a brief review from our friends in the VAR lair deep beneath the ocean, Josef Martinez was shown to have impacted the play from an offside position by shielding Sean Johnson. Unsurprisingly, VAR’s decision met negative reviews post-match.

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights Enters an Alternate Dimension with the Highly-Anticipated Arrival of Netflix’s Original Series “Stranger Things” as All-New Supernatural Mazes

Award-winning Sci-Fi Thriller Comes to Life for the First Time Ever at Premier Halloween Events in Hollywood, Orlando and Singapore

Universal City, CA, Orlando, FL, April 3, 2018 – For the first time ever, Universal Studios HollywoodUniversal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Singapore are partnering with Netflix to bring “Stranger Things” to life at this year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” events.  Fans of the series will get the chance to brave the Upside Down and confront the supernatural as each park debuts all-new mazes inspired by season one of the critically-acclaimed series.  

The parallel universe, referred to as the Upside Down that terrorized the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in Netflix’s mega-hit “Stranger Things,” will bring the chittering, predatory Demogorgon to “Halloween Horror Nights” to stalk unwitting guests as they encounter iconic scenes, characters and environments from the mesmerizing series.

Working collaboratively with Netflix, along with the creators and executive producer of the blockbuster series—Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer and Shawn Levy, the mazes at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Singapore will be authentic representations of “Stranger Things,” designed to transport guests into artfully recreated scenes and storylines. From the menacing Hawkins National Laboratory, under the U.S. Department of Energy, to the Byers home adorned with an erratic display of flashing Christmas lights and the eerie Upside Down woods oozing a shower of floating orb-like spores, the chilling new mazes will offer surprising twists and unexpected turns around every corner.

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited “Halloween Horror Nights” to become victims inside their own horror film. Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each park’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.

Halloween Horror Nights begins Friday, September 14 in Hollywood and Orlando and on Friday, September 28 in Singapore. Additional details about the events will be revealed soon. Select tickets and vacation packages for Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights are on sale now. For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort or Universal Studios Singapore, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

 

Horse named after Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski to run Kentucky Derby

A horse named after New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is set to race at the Kentucky Derby.

The thoroughbred, aptly named Gronkowski, won the Burradon Stakes in England on Friday, qualifying the Kentucky-bred colt for the venerable May 5 race at Churchill Downs.

For the first time, the race is allotting one spot in the 20-horse field to a European-based horse. Trained by Jeremy Noseda and ridden by Jamie Spencer, Gronkowski moved ahead of Mendelssohn on the European Derby leaderboard.

“We’ve had this dream, and now the dream is alive,” Noseda told At The Races after the horse’s victory.

Gronkowski (the football player) has attended The Run for the Roses in the past, taking in the sites and sounds of Millionaires Row alongside teammate Tom Brady and others.

Kerri Radcliffe of Phoenix Thoroughbreds, which owns the horse, said his height — the same as the Patriots star (6-foot-5) — and size of the horse made it an appropriate name.

“I love the New England Patriots, and as Rob Gronkowski is 6-5 and about the same wide, I thought it would be an appropriate name for the horse, as he’s built much the same,” Radcliffe told the Racing Post last month.

Gronkowski (the horse) has finished first in his last four races, with two victories coming in March.

“It sounds strange, but I haven’t yet seen on the racetrack what I believe this horse is capable of. I’m sure there’s more to come,” Noseda said.

Mendelssohn will try to qualify for the Kentucky Derby through the main Derby leaderboard with a victory Saturday in the UAE Derby. Another spot in the Kentucky Derby field is being allotted to a Japan-based colt.

Audible Congratulates Audible on His Florida Derby Win and Celebrates His Journey to the Kentucky Derby

Visit Audible.com/goAudible to support Audible’s Run for the Roses with Curated Audio Titles, Selections and Games

Audible to make $15,000 Donation in Audible’s name to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

NEWARK, N.J.–Audible Inc., the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, today announced its sponsorship of Audible, the three-year-old colt who won the Florida Derby this weekend, and will be competing in the Kentucky Derby this May. To salute Audible the horse on his journey to the Kentucky Derby, Audible is also highlighting a collection of equine-related audiobooks for its millions of listeners over the next month. Visit www.audible.com/goaudible to find out more.

“By supporting the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and highlighting equine-related audio titles for millions of listeners to enjoy leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Audible is gearing up our colt’s quest to wear the roses on the first Saturday in May.”

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To commemorate Audible’s race today at the Florida Derby, Audible is donating $15,000 to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, a non-profit organization that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain, and rehome thoroughbreds.

“We are honored to share our name with Audible and thrilled to be a part of his road to the Kentucky Derby,” said Audible SVP of Marketing John Harrobin. “Our millions of listeners around the world use our audio service to immerse themselves in memorable stories every day. We know they’ll appreciate following the story of this remarkable horse as it unfolds.”

“It’s wonderful to see Audible the media company rooting for Audible in such a big way,” said Elliot Walden, President, CEO and Racing Manager of WinStar Farm and majority owner of Audible the horse. “By supporting the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and highlighting equine-related audio titles for millions of listeners to enjoy leading up to the Kentucky Derby, Audible is gearing up our colt’s quest to wear the roses on the first Saturday in May.”

In addition to a rich selection of horse-inspired titles to get Audible’s growing fan base ready for the Kentucky Derby, the company will introduce an Audible-inspired game and other interactive content in the weeks leading up to the race. Fans are encouraged to check www.audible.com/goaudible regularly for the latest updates and announcements.

Audible invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. In 2017, listeners around the world downloaded over two billion hours of Audible content.

CNN PRESENTS “All Access at the Final Four: A CNN-Bleacher Report Special”

Hosted By Turner Sports Anchor Allie LaForce and Turner Sports Analyst Steve Smith 

Airs Saturday, March 31 at 2:30PM/ET 

From the heart of March Madness celebrations at the Alamodome in San Antonio, join Turner/CBS Sports Anchor Allie LaForce and Turner Sports Analyst Steve Smith as they lead our all access coverage of the NCAA Final Four. CNN takes you inside this American phenomenon with a behind-the-scenes look at the event, the personalities and the celebration that extends far beyond the court. 

The half-hour program will focus on the NCAA Final Four teams – Loyola-Chicago, Kansas, Villanova and Michigan – featuring key moments from the tournament players and coaches with contributions by NCAA.Com Correspondent Andy Katz and CNN Sports Correspondents Coy Wire and Andy Scholes from San Antonio.

In addition to tournament news, CNN will highlight the INFINITI Hardwood Heroesbasketball game, a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and National Association of Basketball Coaches to raise money during March Madness. Also joining he broadcast is coach Ryan Odom from University of Maryland Baltimore County, the number 16 seed that beat number one seed Virginia in the biggest NCAA Tournament upset of all time, as well as the unlikely breakout star of the NCAA Tournament, Loyola’s 98-year-old chaplain, Sister Jean.

“All Access at the Final Four: A CNN-Bleacher Report Special” airs on CNN, Saturday, March 31 at 2:30PM/ET.

Podcast from ESPN’s Bomani Jones Debuts April 3

Written By | 

The Right Time with Bomani Jones Joins ESPN Audio’s Podcast Lineup

The lineup of original podcasts from ESPN Audio will gain a new and distinctive voice when The Right Time with Bomani Jones debuts Tuesday, April 3.  Offered two times per week (Tues./Thur.), the show will provide Jones the freedom to expand on and add to the familiar elements – including his often thought-provoking takes on the hottest issues in sports. – from his former ESPN Radio show and his frequent appearances for many years across ESPN television programs.  The Thursday show will include a special guest as co-host, a personality in sports or media.

Jones has contributed to ESPN for more than a decade, often appearing on Around the Horn, SportsCenter, First Take and Outside the Lines, as well as being a daily regular on Highly Questionable from 2013-17.  In addition, as previously announced, later this spring Jones will have his own television show with co-host Pablo Torre.  The 60-minute show will air weekdays at noon ET.  His weekday afternoon radio show ended in 2017 after nearly three years.

“I’m really looking forward to rebooting The Right Time and moving it into the future,” Jones said.  “We want to do as much as we can with the flexibility of the podcast format to take what was a three-hour radio show and make it into an even better podcast. I really think the audience we served before – many of whom consumed the show digitally –will be happier with what’s next and the content will attract new listeners.”

Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN Audio, said, “Podcasting is changing how audio is consumed, since the listener is more in charge than ever, and offering dynamic content is a smart way to grow our business and serve our listeners.  Bomani, whose trajectory continues to rise, brings a distinct voice to an audience looking for compelling discourse.  His thought-provoking and entertaining opinions will translate perfectly to our on-demand platform.”

ESPN Podcasts Launching New Personality-Based Offerings, Growing in Listenership

The Right Time with Bomani Jones is the fourth personality-driven podcast ESPN Audio has recently debuted.  Jalen and Jacoby launched January 8, Sports? With Katie Nolan on January 10 and Marty Smith’s America on March 19.

In addition to podcasts that serve sport-specific passions, storytelling is also a key component in the lineup.  In the last year, ESPN’s critically acclaimed “30 for 30” films group branched into podcasting.  Its third season will be its first serialized season: five episodes that delve deep into the complicated world of Bikram Yoga and the sexual assault allegations against its charismatic guru and founder, Bikram Choudhury.  They will be released on the same day, Tuesday, May 22.

In addition, The Undefeated – ESPN’s multiplatform initiative focusing on the intersections of sports, race and culture – launched The Plug.  The weekly podcast features frank discussion on sports, race and culture.

ESPN Audio launched its first podcast in 2005, and in 2017 recorded more than 288 million downloads.  In December 2017, ESPN podcasts reached five million people, ranking ESPN fourth among podcast producers in America (per Podtrac).