ESPN on ABC: ‘Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special’





ESPN on ABC: ‘Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special’
March 5, 2021

ESPN ON ABC: ‘MUHAMMAD ALI VS. JOE FRAZIER 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL’

Digitally Remastered Original of ‘Fight of the Century’ From March 8, 1971,

Debuts This Sunday, March 7, on ABC at 2 p.m. EST

Additional Airings on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS

ESPN Deportes to Air Ali vs. Frazier Trilogy

Fans will have a chance to experience one of the most iconic fights in boxing history when ESPN on ABC debuts “Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special” this Sunday at 2 p.m. EST. The two-hour program will also air on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS between Sunday and Monday, March 8. The entire Ali-Frazier trilogy is also available on demand on ESPN+. ESPN Deportes will re-air the entire Ali/Frazier trilogy in primetime on Sunday, March 7.

On March 8, 1971, Ali and Frazier met for the first time at the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York in a transcendent boxing main event that could only be named “Fight of the Century.” Ali sought to reclaim the title he lost nearly four years prior when the state athletic commissions stripped him of his title after refusing induction into the army. Until this fight, no unbeaten fighters had ever fought each other for the heavyweight title.

“The ‘Fight of the Century’ will be presented to our viewers in a brand-new way,” said Norby Williamson, executive vice president, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor, ESPN. “This was one of the most important and impactful sports events ever and fans now have the chance to experience it as never before.”

Fans will be thrilled to see the results ESPN’s boxing production team achieved in “Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special” through the intricate digital remastering of every second of both the original footage of the entire fight and the original ABC Wide World of Sports broadcast. For the fight, this process included some 461 shots in which graininess was removed, color was corrected and enhanced, and images were sharpened.

A team of producers, editors and reporters also worked on accompanying stories to further enhance the fight broadcast and transport fans to 1971:

· Epilogue: What became of Ali-Frazier after their first fight and after their careers were over?

· Scuffle: Behind the scenes of the scuffle between Ali and Frazier at the ABC Studios in 1974.

· 50th Anniversary Tease

· Biggest Crown Essay

· 15 Rounds Essay

ESPN Presents: “Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 50th Anniversary Special”

Date

Time (EST)

Platform

Sunday, 3/7

2 p.m.

ABC

6 p.m.

ESPN

Monday, 3/8

12 a.m.

ESPNEWS

4 a.m.

ESPN2

Ali-Frazier I had not been aired on U.S. television in nearly 30 years (it previously aired in August 1991) until it was shown on ESPN last June. Ali and Frazier met again on Jan. 28, 1974 — with no titles at stake — in what was called the “Super Fight II,” also at MSG. On Oct. 1, 1975, Ali and Frazier fought once again for the heavyweight championship in the “Thrilla in Manila” at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines.

Boxing fans can also re-live hundreds of the sport’s most historic fights on demand anytime.



ABC To Broadcast Its First-Ever German Bundesliga Match





ABC To Broadcast Its First-Ever German Bundesliga Match – FC Bayern München vs. Borussia Dortmund, Live From Allianz Arena in Munich, Saturday, March 6
March 3, 2021

ABC TO BROADCAST ITS FIRST-EVER GERMAN BUNDESLIGA MATCH – FC BAYERN MÜNCHEN VS. BORUSSIA DORTMUND, LIVE FROM ALLIANZ ARENA IN MUNICH,

SATURDAY, MARCH 6

German Soccer’s ‘Der Klassiker’ Rivalry Will Air on ABC, ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes

Coverage on ESPN Deportes Begins at 11 a.m. EST and 12 p.m. on ABC, ESPN+ and Digital Platforms

ESPN+ Exclusive – Star Cam Feed Featuring Gio Reyna and Alphonso Davies

ESPN+ and Bundesliga to Host a Special ‘Der Klassiker’ Virtual Watch Party

ABC will broadcast its first-ever German Bundesliga match – FC Bayern München vs. Borussia Dortmund – on Saturday, March 6 at 12 p.m. EST, as part of ESPN’s unprecedented English and Spanish-language coverage of German soccer’s latest “Der Klassiker” rivalry game. In addition to ABC, the Bayern-Dortmund match from Allianz Arena in Munich will stream live on ESPN+, the U.S. home for Bundesliga matches, and will air live on ESPN Deportes.

FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund are the two most successful clubs in German soccer, along with FC Bayern holding all six titles currently available to them including Club World Cup. They have combined to win the last 11 league titles, with FC Bayern – the 2020 UEFA Champions League champion – winning nine times, including the past eight seasons. Dortmund has won twice over the past decade-plus while finishing runner-up five times to FC Bayern. The recent success of both clubs has catapulted “Der Klassiker” (known as the German Clasico) to one of global football’s top rivalries.

Led by Poland forward Robert Lewandowski – the 2020 FIFA Player of the Year – and Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies (Lou Marsh Trophy holder), FC Bayern currently sits atop the Bundesliga standings. Dortmund features Norwegian forward Erling Haaland and American teenage soccer sensation Giovanni Reyna.

Star Cam Feed – Gio Reyna and Alphonso Davies

Surround coverage of Der Klassiker will include Star Cam feed, a live stream focused solely on in-game action of the two North American stars – Dortmund’s Gio Reyna (USA) and FC Bayern’s Alphonso Davies (Canada) – in the match. Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez will handle commentary on the feed, available exclusively on ESPN+.

Der Klassiker Match Commentators:

· ABC: Derek Rae (play-by-play), analyst Taylor Twellman

· ESPN Deportes: Fernando Palomo (play-by-play), analyst Mario Kempes

· ESPN+ English/Spanish: Rae and Twellman; Palomo and Kempes

· Star Cam: Sebastian Salazar and Herculez Gomez

· Studio Coverage: English – Dan Thomas (host), Juergen Klinsmann and Jan Aage Fjortoft (analysts), and Archie Rhind-Tutt (on-site reporter)

Der Klassiker Coverage Schedule:

Time (EST)

Program

Platforms

11:00 a.m.

Futbol Center

ESPN Deportes

12:00 p.m.

SportsCenter

ABC

12:00 p.m.

ESPN FC – Der Klassiker Pregame Special

Dan Thomas (host), Juergen Klinsmann, Jan Aage Fjortoft and Archie Rhind-Tutt (on-site reporter)

ESPN+

12:30 p.m.

FC Bayern München vs. Borussia Dortmund

English: Derek Rae and Taylor Twellman

Spanish: Fernando Palomo and Mario Kempes

ABC, ESPN+,

ESPN Deportes (12:15 p.m.)

2:30 p.m.

ESPN FC – Der Klassiker Postgame

ESPN+

2:30 p.m.

ESPN Deportes SportsCenter – Postgame Special

Palomo and Kempes (segments)

ESPN Deportes/Facebook

Surround programming:

· Der Klassiker Pregame: ABC’s coverage will begin at 12 p.m.

· ESPN FC: Dan Thomas will host a 30-minute pregame show with analysts Juergen Klinsmann and Jan Aage Fjortoft. Archie Rhind-Tutt will report from Munich. Throughout the week, ESPN FC will feature segments on Der Klassiker, available exclusively on ESPN+ (weekdays, 8 p.m.).

· ESPN Deportes: Futbol Center pregame at 11 a.m. will kick off daytime coverage of Der Klassiker through postgame edition of SportsCenter.

ESPN.com/soccer’s Der Klassiker Content:

· Tale of the tape matchup preview by reporters Tom Hamilton and Stephan Uersfeld

· Hamilton profiles Bayern’s 26-year-old midfield maestro Joshua Kimmich

· Post-match reaction and analysis from an ESPN global soccer correspondent

· Video content will include match highlights and quick-turn analysis by ESPN FC pundits.

Der Klassiker: A Rivalry like no Other – Exclusive on ESPN+

While proximity or socio-political divisions fuel most soccer rivalries, Der Klassiker is driven by FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund’s recent history as two of the most successful clubs in Germany and Europe.

Narrated by ESPN’s lead Bundesliga commentator Derek Rae, Der Klassiker: A Rivalry like no Other takes viewers on a journey from the 1960s when the Bundesliga was founded in Dortmund until today. In addition, the documentary explores some of the most defining matches of the rivalry in the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and the UEFA Champions League. The program will be available to stream on ESPN+ leading up to Der Klassiker match day.

ESPN+ and Bundesliga Host Virtual Watch Party

For the second time this season, ESPN+ and Bundesliga are teaming up to host a virtual watch party for the highly anticipated Der Klassiker match between FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund, streaming live in the United States on ESPN+. Hosted via OnLocationLive by ESPN’s Mauricio Pedroza and Vanessa Huppenkothen, the watch party will include interviews with Bundesliga soccer legends Ray Makaay (FC Bayern München) and Kalle-Heinz Riedle (Borussia Dortmund).

ESPN+ and Bundesliga also hosted a watch party for U.S. fans for the first Der Klassiker of the season – a 3-2 Bayern victory in Dortmund on Nov. 7, 2020.

Fans in the U.S. can attend the watch party for free here (scheduled to start at 12 p.m. EST on March 6). In addition to featuring legends conversations, both clubs and Bundesliga will have surprises in store for fans throughout the match.



Video: First Look at ESPN+ Documentary Series “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady”





Video: First Look at ESPN+ Documentary Series “Man in the Arena: Tom Brady”
In a groundbreaking new multipart series coming to ESPN+ in the Fall of 2021, Tom deconstructs the milestones of his legendary career.
[via press release from ESPN]
First Look at ESPN+ Documentary Series Man In The Arena: Tom Brady

Premiering Exclusively on ESPN+ in 2021

After 21 seasons in the NFL, Tom Brady will finally share a personal first-hand account of his Super Bowl appearances. In a groundbreaking new multipart series coming to ESPN+ in the Fall of 2021, Tom deconstructs the milestones of his legendary career. Told from Tom’s point-of-view, the series mines the psychological and emotional terrain of each victory and defeat. Each episode focuses on a single Super Bowl appearance and centers not just the pivotal moments, but everything that leads to them, illustrating the series of small steps that seem insignificant at the time, but when reflected upon, show the distance traveled.

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the industry-leading sports streaming service that offers fans in the U.S. thousands of live sports events, original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks and exclusive editorial content from dozens of ESPN writers and reporters. Launched in April 2018, ESPN+ has grown to more than 11.5 million subscribers.

Programming on ESPN+ includes exclusive UFC events, hundreds of MLB and NHL games, college sports (including football, basketball and nearly a dozen other sports from 20 conferences), top domestic and international soccer (Bundesliga, Serie A, FA Cup, MLS, Copa Del Rey, EFL Championship, Carabao Cup, Eredivisie, and more), Golf (coverage from PGA Tour, The Masters and PGA Championship), Top Rank Boxing, Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, exclusive ESPN+ Original series and studio shows (including ESPN+ NFL PrimeTime, Peyton’s Places, Stephen A’s World, SportsNation, The Fantasy Show, Detail, ESPN FC, Bettor Days, Our Time, Dana White’s Contender Series, and many more), plus exclusive access to the entire library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films.

Fans sign up to ESPN+ for just $5.99 a month (or $59.99 per year) at ESPNplus.com, ESPN.com or on the ESPN App (mobile and connected devices). It is also available as part of The Disney Bundle offer that gives subscribers access to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu (ad-supported) – all for just $12.99/month.



UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” Available Now on ESPN+





UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” Available Now on ESPN+
One season of the series will be made available each week leading up to the anticipated premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter 29” this summer.
[via press release from ESPN]
UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter Available Now on ESPN+

· Seasons 1, 2 and 22 available to re-watch now on ESPN+

· One season dropping on ESPN+ each week leading up to premiere of Season 29 this summer

· Subscribe to ESPN+ on the ESPN App, ESPN.com and connected TV devices

Seasons 1, 2 and 22 of The Ultimate Fighter, the acclaimed UFC reality television series, are available now for fans to re-watch on ESPN+. One season of the series will be made available each week leading up to the anticipated premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 29 (TUF 29) this summer.

Throughout its 28 seasons, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) has given fans – both die-hard and new – a behind-the-scenes look at the dedication, determination and toughness it takes to make it as a UFC athlete. TUF has been key to the growth and expansion of UFC, introducing the promotion to new fans and serving as a springboard for UFC’s most engaging stars and champions including: Michael Bisping, Michael Chiesa, Nate Diaz, T.J. Dillashaw, Rashad Evans, Tony Ferguson, Kelvin Gastelum, Forrest Griffin, Uriah Hall, Al Iaquinta, Rose Namajunas, Kamaru Usman, and Conor McGregor, who was a coach in The Ultimate Fighter 22.

Season 1 | The Ultimate Fighter 1: Team Liddell vs. Team Couture

Coaches: Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture

Weight Divisions: Light heavyweight, Middleweight

Team Liddell: Bobby Southworth, Sam Hoger, Forrest Griffin, Alex Schoenauer, Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Josh Rafferty

Team Couture: Stephan Bonnar, Mike Swick, Lodune Sincaid, Jason Thacker, Nathan Quarry, Chris Leben, Alex Karalexis, Chris Sanford

Winners:

Light heavyweight – Forrest Griffin over Stephan Bonnar

Middleweight – Diego Sanchez over Kenny Florian

Season 2 | The Ultimate Fighter 2: Team Hughes vs. Team Franklin

Coaches: Matt Hughes, Rich Franklin

Weight Divisions: Heavyweight, Welterweight

Team Hughes: Joe Stevenson, Luke Cummo, Josh Burkman, Jason Von Flue (Replaced Burkman), Sammy Morgan, Mike Whitehead, Dan Christison, Rob MacDonald, Tom Murphy

Team Franklin: Marcus Davis, Jorge Gurgel, Anthony Torres, Melvin Guillard, Keith Jardine, Seth Petruzelli, Rashad Evans, Brad Imes

Winners:

Heavyweight – Rashad Evans over Brad Imes

Welterweight – Joe Stevenson over Luke Cummo

Season 22: The Ultimate Fighter 22: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber

Coaches: Conor McGregor, Urijah Faber

Weight Division: Lightweight

Team McGregor: Abner Lloveras, David Teymu, Frantz Slioa, Marcin Wrzosek, Martin Svensson, Mehdi Baghdad, Sascha Sharma, Saul Rogers, Artem Lobov

Team Faber: Billy Quarantillo, Chris Gruetzemacher, James Jenkins, Jason Gonzaléz, Julian Erosa Ryan Hall, Thanh Le, Tom Gallicchio, Johnny Nuñez

Winner: Ryan Hall over Artem Lobov

In addition to live UFC Fight Night and pay-per-view events on ESPN+, The Ultimate Fighter joins a lineup of original and on-demand content that includes Dana White’s Contender Series, the four-part documentary UFC Fight Island Declassified, Ariel & The Bad Guy, Detail: From the Mind of Daniel Cormier, UFC Destined, UFC Unlocking Victory, UFC Embedded, UFC Reloaded, UFC Top 10, and a library of recent events, great title fights and classic UFC content.

About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the industry-leading sports streaming service that offers fans in the U.S. thousands of live sports events, original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks and exclusive editorial content from dozens of ESPN writers and reporters. Launched in April 2018, ESPN+ has grown to more than 11.5 million subscribers.

Fans sign up to ESPN+ for just $5.99 a month (or $59.99 per year) at ESPN.com, ESPNplus.com or on the ESPN App (mobile and connected devices). It is also available as part of The Disney Bundle offer that gives subscribers access to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu (ad-supported) – all for just $12.99/month.



National Geographic and ESPN’s The Undefeated Trace the Ongoing Plight and Journey of the Civil Rights Movement





National Geographic and ESPN’s The Undefeated Trace the Ongoing Plight and Journey of the Civil Rights Movement in ‘The March on Washington: Keepers of the Dream’
“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time …”

-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

One-Hour Documentary Special Gives a Timely and Powerful Look at Events Leading to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March and 2020’s March on Washington 57 Years Later as the Nation Reels From Civil Unrest and a Global Pandemic
The March on Washington: Keepers of the Dream Set to Premiere Thursday, Feb. 18, at 10/9c on National Geographic and Will Be Available Next Day on Hulu – Friday, Feb. 19
National Geographic announced today that THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON: KEEPERS OF THE DREAM is set to premiere Thursday, Feb. 18, at 10/9c and available next day on Hulu. The timely one-hour documentary special is from National Geographic and The Undefeated, ESPN’s content initiative exploring the intersection of sports, race and culture. It will trace the raw and uncensored journey of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of the heroes who marched for justice and equality in the 1960s, and the experiences of those on the front lines of the current fight for racial equality.

THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON: KEEPERS OF THE DREAM will feature historic footage, as well as the most gripping and poignant, first-hand accounts and emotional commentary from historians, activists and journalists, including Wes Moore (author), Dr. Mary Frances Berry (professor, UPENN), Dr. Vernon Allwood (‘63 March attendee), Chris Connelly (journalist), Dr. Todd Boyd (professor, USC), Bill Murphy Jr. (civil rights attorney), Jemele Hill (journalist), Clarissa Brooks (social activist) and Mariah Parker (social activist). The documentary will also illustrate the resilience of the civil rights movement and the sentiment of the people behind it.

The journey begins with events that set the stage for the March of 1963 – from the horrific photo of the corpse of 14-year-old Emmett Till, murdered by Mississippi vigilantes who were acquitted of all charges, to the broadcasts of police attacking peaceful Black protesters in Birmingham, Alabama. These images created the necessary public opinion and momentum for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders to carry out their historic march and demand federal action.

Yet after the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Acts were subsequently passed, violence toward Black America continued. The documentary will follow the history of these attacks, juxtaposed with examples of Black progress that have threatened to obscure a dangerous reality.

A deep dive into the events that led to the historic racial upheaval of 2020, including the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, will also explore a modern focus of King’s declaration: that the future of the Civil Rights Movement would be the struggle for “genuine equality.”

Candid insights on the long history of racial inequality include Moore’s testament to the current climate of unrest, “… the argument and demand is that there has to be a greater accountability and acknowledgement of Black life … Whether we are talking about the marches of the ‘60s or the marches that are taking place right now, that is what the marches are about – it’s about changing systems.”

The special concludes with images from the 2020 March on Washington and will bring full circle the themes which center on an underlying systemically volatile relationship between Black people and the police, and how it continues to be a deferred dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON: KEEPERS OF THE DREAM is a bold and powerful look at this nation’s dark history and the path Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paved for us despite grave opposition,” said Courteney Monroe, president, Content, National Geographic. “We are proud to have partnered with The Undefeated on this timely documentary special that provides a no-holds-barred look at the oppression faced by generations in this country as well as celebrates the unifying spirit and solidarity of the movement, then and now.”

“This compelling documentary takes viewers through the evolution of the March on Washington, and in the process highlights the galvanizing power of marches to fuel social change,” said Kevin Merida, senior vice president and Editor-in-Chief, The Undefeated. “We are proud to partner with National Geographic on this important film. The doc is a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made to make America better and how much work is left to be done.”

Produced by National Geographic Studios and The Undefeated. National Geographic’s Aneka Hylton-Donelson along with The Undefeated’s Kevin Merida and Sharon Matthews serve as executive producers. ESPN’s Emmy®Award-winning filmmaker Marquis Daisy is director, with The Undefeated’s senior writer Jesse Washington as producer and writer, and Chris Weber is SVP of National Geographic Studios.

The television special on National Geographic is an extension of ESPN’s Black History Always initiative – a companywide content commitment to highlight Black stories beyond the traditional Black History Month. #BlackHistoryAlways began with the Jan. 18th Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, continues through the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in early March and concludes during Jackie Robinson Day on April 15.

Using original short-form content across its platforms, National Geographic will also be celebrating Black voices in the worlds of science, adventure and exploration during Black History Month — including National Geographic Explorer Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, Mae Jemison and Courtney B. Vance of GENIUS: ARETHA. In addition to its on-air, social channels and digital platforms, National Geographic’s “Overheard” podcast and the National Geographic magazine will have dedicated content that will celebrate Black storytellers, leaders and heroes.

For the past year, National Geographic’s podcast series “Overheard” has explored the journeys of photographers and scientists who are focusing a new lens on history. On Feb. 12, National Geographic presents “In Conversation,” a special episode featuring explorer Tara Roberts, computer scientist Gloria Washington and photographer Ruddy Roye as they reframe Black history through their work—across maritime archeology, artificial intelligence and photo journalism. Listen @natgeo.com/listen.

National Geographic Kids (natgeokids.com) will also be updating its African American Heroes digital hub with four new profiles: John Lewis, Katherine Johnson, George Washington Carver and Bessie Coleman.

About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National

Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 133 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers … and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

About ESPN’s The Undefeated

The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com, which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.



ESPN Re-Signs World Series Champion Alex Rodriguez and Play-By-Play Voice Matt Vasgersian





ESPN Re-Signs World Series Champion Alex Rodriguez and Play-By-Play Voice Matt Vasgersian as “Sunday Night Baseball” Team Returns in 2021
In addition, the team also provides commentary for ESPN’s exclusive presentation of MLB Opening Night as well as the second-half opener.
[via press release from ESPN]
ESPN Re-Signs World Series Champion Alex Rodriguez and Play-By-Play Voice Matt Vasgersian as Sunday Night Baseball Team Returns in 2021

ESPN Senior MLB Insider Buster Olney Enters his 11th Sunday Night Baseball Season as Reporter

Trio to Call Exclusive Opening Night Telecast on April 1 as Washington Nationals Host New York Mets; Sunday Night Baseball Makes 2021 Season Debut on April 4 as Los Angeles Angels Host Chicago White Sox

ESPN today announced its broadcast team for the 2021 season of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell: the exclusive, national Major League Baseball game of the week. The team of World Series Champion and analyst Alex Rodriguez, play-by-play voice Matt Vasgersian, and reporter Buster Olney will return for their second season as a trio and their fourth season together overall.

Alex Rodriguez, World Series Champion and one of the most accomplished Major League Baseball players in history, has re-signed with ESPN and will enter his fourth season as Sunday Night Baseball analyst. Rodriguez, a 14-time MLB All-Star and three-time American League MVP, made his regular season ESPN broadcast debut on Opening Night in 2018.

Matt Vasgersian, who has also re-signed with ESPN, continues as just the third regular voice of Sunday Night Baseball, following Jon Miller (1990-2010) and Dan Shulman (2011-2017). Vasgersian began his ESPN tenure at the start of the 2018 MLB season.

Buster Olney, ESPN Senior MLB Insider, enters his 11th season as Sunday Night Baseball reporter. Olney joined the franchise during the 2011 season and has been a mainstay of the property for more than a decade.

In addition to Sunday Night Baseball, the team also provides commentary for ESPN’s exclusive presentation of MLB Opening Night as well as the second-half opener. The trio also called exclusive MLB Wild Card Series games in October of 2020.

Rodriguez, Vasgersian and Olney will call ESPN’s exclusive Opening Night telecast of New York Mets at Washington Nationals on Thursday, April 1 at 7 p.m., followed by the Sunday Night Baseball season debut on April 4 as the Los Angeles Angels host the Chicago White Sox at 8:30 p.m. The current 2021 Sunday Night Baseball schedule is below. For more details on ESPN’s season-opening coverage, visit ESPN Press Room.

Date Time (ET) Game
April 4 8:30 p.m.* Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels
April 11 7 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
April 18 7 p.m. Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs
April 25 7 p.m. San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
May 2 7 p.m. New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
May 9 7 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
May 16 7 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
May 23 7 p.m. Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
May 30 7 p.m. Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets
July 4 7 p.m. New York Mets vs. New York Yankees
July 15 7 p.m. Thursday MLB second-half opener: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
July 18 7 p.m. Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
*special start time

Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown presented by Chevrolet precedes Sunday Night Baseball each week, generally at 6 p.m. ESPN MLB analyst Eduardo Perez joins the show in 2021, alongside host Karl Ravech and analyst Tim Kurkjian. ESPN Senior MLB Insider Jeff Passan will also make regular contributions.

Sunday Night Baseball is also available on ESPN Radio as Jon Sciambi and analyst Chris Singleton enter their 11th season together. Additionally, Sunday Night Baseball is available on ESPN Deportes with Ernesto Jerez, analyst Luis Alfredo Álvarez and reporter Guillermo Celis on commentary. Sunday Night Baseball can also be streamed via the ESPN App.

Sunday Night Baseball enters its 32nd season as the premier MLB regular season game of the week. The franchise made its debut on April 15, 1990 as the Montreal Expos hosted the New York Mets.

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ESPN Films Latest 30 for 30 Documentary “Al Davis vs. The NFL” to Premiere February 4





ESPN Films Latest 30 for 30 Documentary “Al Davis vs. The NFL” to Premiere February 4
The documentary presents an intimate look inside one of the great rivalries in the history of the National Football League: former Raiders owner Al Davis and former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle.
[via press release from ESPN]
ESPN Films Latest 30 for 30 Documentary “Al Davis vs. The NFL” to Premiere February 4

Trailer for the film now available

Film will be available on ESPN+ immediately after its debut

ESPN will debut the next installment in the Peabody and Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series, “Al Davis vs. The NFL,” on February 4. Directed by Ken Rodgers (“The Two Bills,” “Elway to Marino”), the documentary presents an intimate look inside one of the great rivalries in the history of the National Football League – former Raiders owner Al Davis and former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, whose battle grew so intense that players, owners, franchises – even the League itself – became characters in a three-decade long Shakespearean feud that changed football forever.

The film traces the relationship from their early clashes in the AFL/NFL wars of the 1960s through their tacit reconciliation upon Rozelle’s retirement in 1989, with a special emphasis on the antitrust lawsuit Al Davis filed against the NFL in 1980. Davis wanted to relocate his legendary team from Oakland to Los Angeles, in pursuit of a state-of-the-art stadium, but the league would not approve. Today, with the Raiders recently completing their inaugural season in Las Vegas in a brand-new stadium, something Davis always dreamed of building himself, the film presents the adversarial relationship between the two visionaries. “Al Davis vs. The NFL” will premiere on February 4 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film will be made available on ESPN+ immediately after its premiere, along with the rest of the 30 for 30 library. Trailer: https://bit.ly/35BxZr0

Said Ken Rodgers: “No rivalry, on or off the field, helped shape the modern NFL as much as the decades-long struggle between Al Davis and Pete Rozelle. With the 2020 Raiders and the NFL collaborating to fulfill Al’s dream of a state-of-the-art stadium for his team, now is the perfect time to look back on two men who differed on many issues, but shared a mutual love of the NFL.”

The film features never-before-seen footage of both men, and takes a fresh, alternative approach: allowing Pete and Al’s spirits to tell their own story by using new, innovative technology, commonly known as “deepfake,” and having them narrate their shared tale in first-person. While the re-creations may not be the real thing, the specific stories each character tells are true, and their dialogue is based on a treasure trove of interviews from the NFL Films vault.
About ESPN Films

ESPN Films has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception in March 2008, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports. The high quality of storytelling, highlighted by the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series and the Academy-Award winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” has led to record viewership as well as multiple honors and critical acclaim. Additional projects from ESPN Films over the years have included 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX, SEC Storied and Emmy award-winning docu-series “The Last Dance.” ESPN+ is the exclusive home for the entire 30 for 30 library.

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College Football Playoff Semifinals Average 19 Million Viewers





College Football Playoff Semifinals Average 19 Million Viewers, ESPN’s Third-Most Watched Day on Record
ESPN spins the numbers for Friday, January 1.
[via press release from ESPN]
College Football Playoff Semifinals Average 19 Million Viewers, ESPN’s Third-Most Watched Day on Record

· CFP Semifinals Rank as Top Cable Telecasts since 2020 CFP National Championship Game

· Best Non-NFL Sporting Event Across Any Network Since 2020 National Championship

· Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Becomes Most-Viewed NY6 Bowl Game involving a Group of 5 Team of CFP Era

· New Year’s Day was ESPN’s Third-Most Watched Day Ever

This year’s College Football Playoff Semifinals started the New Year off strong, registering 19 million average viewers between the two matchups, roughly in line with last year’s CFP Semifinals. The CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One (Alabama vs. Notre Dame: 18,893,000) and the CFP Semifinal at the Allstate Sugar Bowl (Clemson vs. Ohio State: 19,149,000) are the top telecasts on cable since the 2020 CFP National Championship Game, making the semifinal round the best non-NFL sporting event across any network since LSU’s victory in the 2020 national title game. Additionally, the Rose Bowl Game was up 8 percent year-over-year compared to the early semifinal in 2020.

Friday, Jan. 1 was ESPN’s third-most watched day ever. One quarter of all people watching television on New Year’s Day were watching the CFP Semifinals during the game windows. That share of the TV audience was up 5 percent from the last time the Semis aired on New Year’s Day, and ranks as the third-best Semifinal TV share of the CFP Era. In total, the CFP Semifinals reached 40.8 million viewers across ESPN platforms.

Peach Bowl and Orange Bowl Each See Rise in Viewership from 2020 Editions

The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Georgia vs. Cincinnati) drew 8,727,000 viewers across all MegaCast feeds, the most-viewed NY6 Bowl Game featuring a Group of 5 team of the CFP Era, up 39 percent from last year’s comparable semifinal lead-in game (Memphis-Penn State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic) and up 3 percent from the Peach Bowl in Year 4 (UCF-Auburn), which led into the CFP Semis on New Year’s Day.

The Capital One Orange Bowl (Texas A&M vs. UNC) averaged 7,577,000 viewers, up 25 percent from last year’s Orange Bowl (Florida vs. Virginia).

New Year’s Six Games P2+

CFP Semi at the Allstate Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson 19,149,000

CFP Semi at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One: Notre Dame vs. Alabama 18,893,000

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: Georgia vs. Cincinnati 8,727,000

Capital One Orange Bowl: Texas A&M vs. North Carolina 7,577,000

Playstation Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Iowa State 6,679,000

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: Florida vs. Oklahoma 5,805,000

AVERAGE 10,966,000

Hometowns Highlight Top Local Markets

Birmingham was the top market for the Semifinals, leading the way in the local markets for the first CFP Semifinal. Birmingham’s 42.1 rating across both games was the best CFP Semifinal average for a single market in three years. Columbus was the second-ranked market for the Semifinals, ranking in the top spot for Ohio State’s Semifinal game. Additionally, Cleveland was up 5 percent from the same Ohio State-Clemson matchup last year and up 7 percent year-over-year across the two games. The top 10 local markets for each semifinal and for both games combined:

Semi #1: ALA-ND Semi #2: OSU-CLEM Semi #1 and #2 Combined

Rk Market Rtg Rk Market Rtg Rk Market Rtg

1 Birmingham 46.2 1 Columbus, OH 40.1 1 Birmingham 42.1

2 Columbus, OH 23.6 2 Birmingham 38.6 2 Columbus, OH 32.5

3 Greenville 19.7 3 Cleveland 28.3 3 Cleveland 22.1

4 Knoxville 18.0 4 Dayton 25.4 4 Greenville 21.0

5 Atlanta 18.0 5 Greenville 22.1 5 Dayton 20.3

6 New Orleans 16.6 6 Cincinnati 17.9 6 New Orleans 17.3

7 Oklahoma City 15.3 7 New Orleans 17.9 7 Atlanta 17.3

8 Tulsa 15.1 8 Atlanta 16.7 8 Knoxville 17.1

9 Cleveland 14.9 9 Knoxville 16.3 9 Cincinnati 16.4

10 Cincinnati 14.6 10 Nashville 15.7 10 Oklahoma City 15.0

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ESPN’s First NFL Wild Card Megacast Expands To Include ESPN+





ESPN’s First NFL Wild Card Megacast Expands To Include ESPN+; Six Disney Networks Combine Forces to Super-Serve All Fans for Baltimore at Tennessee on Jan. 10 During Super Wild Card Weekend

ESPN’S FIRST NFL WILD CARD MEGACAST EXPANDS TO INCLUDE ESPN+; SIX DISNEY NETWORKS COMBINE FORCES TO SUPER-SERVE ALL FANS FOR BALTIMORE AT TENNESSEE ON JAN. 10 DURING SUPER WILD CARD WEEKEND

Traditional Telecast of Ravens-Titans Airs on ESPN, Simulcast on ABC; ESPN Deportes With Spanish-Language Presentation

GRAMMY® -Winning DJ Khaled Special Halftime Performance to Air Exclusively on Freeform Highlighting the Network’s Star-Studded ‘Watch Party’

ESPN+ Offers Innovative Program, Combining Analysis, Analytics and Odds Discussion into Single Telecast; ESPN2 Airs Fan-Favorite ‘Film Room’

ESPN’s first NFL Wild Card MegaCast has expanded, as ESPN+ will join ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, Freeform and ESPN Deportes in a MegaCast presentation of Baltimore at Tennessee on Jan. 10 (1 p.m. EST), resulting in six Disney networks combining forces to super-serve fans while offering the most extensive multichannel NFL Playoff game offering to date during the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend.

With the traditional telecast of Ravens-Titans on ESPN and ABC featuring enhanced production elements serving as the foundation of the MegaCast, fans will be treated to an array of offerings across the other networks. GRAMMY®-winning artist DJ Khaled will perform exclusively on
Freeform, highlighting a star-studded “Watch Party” on the network throughout the game. A blend of nontraditional commentary, analytics, real-time analysis and a slice of betting will be featured on ESPN+’s “Between the Lines,” as multiple approaches will be combined into one
offering. MegaCast staple “Film Room” will air on ESPN2, offering a concentrated breakdown of game strategy in real time and ESPN Deportes will air the Spanish-language telecast, as the network ramps up to call a total of four postseason games, including Super Bowl LV.

In addition to the traditional telecast airing on ESPN with an ABC simulcast, the presentation will be streamed across devices on ESPN, ABC and NFL digital properties, and on mobile via participating club properties and Verizon Media mobile properties. ESPN Deportes will feature a
Spanish-language presentation and will be streamed across ESPN digital properties and Verizon Media mobile properties. Additional telecasts will be streamed across devices on ESPN, ESPN+, Freeform, and on mobile via the NFL mobile app and site.

ESPN Airs Traditional Presentation, Simulcast on ABC; Enhanced Technology Decorates Telecast
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” commentator team of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick and Lisa Salters with officiating expert John Parry will call the game on ESPN, which will be simulcast on ABC, from Nissan Stadium. The network’s full arsenal of production elements will be on hand in addition to technological enhancements:

Multiple cameras added, including 4K robotic cameras near the goal lines and more super-slow motion ability, resulting in a total of nine different cameras with that functionality.
Enhanced line-to-gain camera, which features both a virtual first down marker and virtual first down line; the virtual first down line is similar to the line fans are accustomed to seeing from the traditional camera angle.
In addition to the game coverage, the presentation will include multiple elements that viewers experience on Monday nights throughout the season, including a dynamic open, creative storytelling graphics and more.

Freeform Brings Freestyle Approach, Pop Culture and DJ Khaled to MegaCast’s “Watch Party”
Freeform’s “Watch Party” will add an energetic, younger lens to the MegaCast as high-profile guests delve into an array of topics with ESPN’s Jesse Palmer and Maria Taylor throughout the game. The appearance of the guests will be free-flowing and not set to a predetermined length of time as Palmer and Taylor will touch on a multiple topics, including matters surrounding the game and within pop culture.

Guests appearing with Palmer and Taylor will be from different backgrounds and genres, including television, music, sports, ties to Baltimore and Nashville and more. Popular Freeform personalities such as “Good Trouble”’s Cierra Ramirez and “Motherland: Fort Salem”’s Demetria McKinney and Ashley Nicole Williams will appear, along with more standout network stars. Viewers will be able to consistently follow the Wild Card Game during the telecast, as a multibox presentation will have the game consistently shown on the screen in addition to the hosts and guests.

The in-game presentation will surround multiplatform star DJ Khaled’s full halftime performance on the network, which will take place in Miami in advance of the game, and be presented to the audience with special post-production elements.

ESPN+ “Between the Lines”: Real-Time Analysis, In-Game Analytics and Odds Discussion in Innovative Format
Multiple disciplines of expertise will be presented together on ESPN+ “Between the Lines,” as the NFL “Live” and “Daily Wager” cast’s innovative approach will be brought to the platform. Analysis, analytics, odds discussion and film breakdown throughout the game will be presented in a casual, conversational format than a traditional telecast. The crew will also provide broad strokes betting conversations throughout the game.

Laura Rutledge, Mina Kimes, Dan Orlovsky and Marcus Spears along with Doug Kezirian, Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum will all appear and interact with each other during the telecast. The game telecast on the screen will be supplemented by an array of data and statistics, as the team provides their insights in a free-flowing format. The two groups will originate from their home studios, with “NFL Live” in Bristol and “Daily Wager” in Las Vegas.

ESPN2’s “Film Room”: Analysts from Countdown to Provide Live Breakdown of Game Plan and Strategy
The “Film Room” has been one of the most popular presentations throughout ESPN’s MegaCast history, with its NFL debut set to include Tedy Bruschi, Matt Hasselbeck and Rex Ryan from “Sunday NFL Countdown”; and Booger McFarland from “Monday Night Countdown” and Keyshawn Johnson from both ESPN Radio and “NFL Live.” The analysts will be hyper-focused on the detailed breakdown of the game plan approach of both teams, including telestrator analysis and predictive strategy adjustments in real time.

ESPN Deportes Airs Spanish-Language Presentation of Wild Card and Super Bowl LV
ESPN Deportes will have the Spanish-language telecast, with Pablo Viruega and Eduardo Varela on the call and John Sutcliffe reporting. The network will also air an NFL Divisional game on Jan. 16 or 17, the AFC Championship on Jan. 24 and Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7.

ESPN Madden NFL Wild Card Duos Premieres This Week
EA SPORTS, the NFL and ESPN have also teamed up to host the first-ever ESPN “Madden NFL” Wild Card Duos presented by USAA Insurance, in advance of ESPN’s Wild Card Megacast. Carolina Panthers’ Robby Anderson, Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Mixon, Detroit Lions’ D’Andre Swift and Las Vegas Raiders’ Johnathan Abram will pair up with some of the best “Madden NFL” players in the world to compete in “Madden NFL 21”’s newest mode, “The Yard.” The one-hour event, produced by Emmy® Award-winning SoHi Media, will premiere Thursday, Jan. 7, at 5 p.m. EST on ESPN2, and be available on the ESPN, NFL and Madden digital channels.



ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” Schedule for First Half of 2021





ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” Schedule for First Half of 2021 Features Baseball’s Biggest Superstars
ESPN’s signature Major League Baseball franchise will return for its 32nd season in 2021, featuring the game’s biggest superstars in action.
[via press release from ESPN]
ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball Schedule for First Half of 2021 Features Baseball’s Biggest Superstars

· Ronald Acuña, Jr., Pete Alonso, Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Mike Trout, Fernando Tatís, Jr., in Action

· Reigning League M.V.P.s José Abreu and Freddie Freeman Take the Field

· San Diego Padres Return to Sunday Night Baseball for First Time Since 2007

· MLB Opening Night April 1 Exclusively on ESPN: New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals Sunday Night Baseball – ESPN’s signature Major League Baseball franchise – will return for its 32nd season in 2021, featuring the game’s biggest superstars in action. Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell is the exclusive, national MLB game of the week, generally airing at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes and streaming via the ESPN App. ESPN will open its 2021 Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell schedule on April 4, at a special start time of 8:30 p.m. when the Los Angeles Angels and Mike Trout host the Chicago White Sox and American League M.V.P. José Abreu. The following week, on April 11, the Atlanta Braves and National League M.V.P. Freddie Freeman host the Philadelphia Phillies and Bryce Harper at 7 p.m. Additional 2021 Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell highlights:

· MLB superstars in action: Pete Alonso, Ronald Acuña, Jr., Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Juan Soto, Mike Trout, Fernando Tatís, Jr., and more;

· San Diego Padres return to Sunday Night Baseball for first time since 2007 (April 25 and May 16);

· Four appearances by the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets;

· Three appearances by the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees;

· Storied rivalries: Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (April 11 and May 9); Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals (May 23); Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets (May 30); Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees (July 15 and 18); New York Mets vs. New York Yankees (July 4 and September 12);

· Defending World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers in action (April 25).

Date Time (ET) Game
April 4 8:30 p.m.* Chicago White Sox vs. Los Angeles Angels
April 11 7 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
April 18 7 p.m. Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs
April 25 7 p.m. San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
May 2 7 p.m. New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies
May 9 7 p.m. Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
May 16 7 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Diego Padres
May 23 7 p.m. Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
May 30 7 p.m. Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets
July 4 7 p.m. New York Mets vs. New York Yankees
July 15 7 p.m. Thursday MLB second-half opener: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
July 18 7 p.m. Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
Sept. 12 8 p.m.* New York Yankees vs. New York Mets

*special start times

Additional game selections for Sunday Night Baseball will be made up to two weeks prior to the date.

MLB Opening Night April 1 exclusively on ESPN

ESPN’s 2021 MLB season-opening coverage begins with the exclusive, national telecast of Opening Night on Thursday, April 1, as the Washington Nationals and Max Scherzer host the New York Mets and Jacob deGrom at 7 p.m. ESPN’s season-opening coverage will include 11 game telecasts in the first six days. For more information on ESPN’s season-opening schedule, visit ESPN Press Room. Additionally, ESPN will exclusively televise the 2021 second half opener on Thursday, July 15 as the Boston Red Sox and Rafael Devers visit the New York Yankees and Aaron Judge at 7 p.m.

ESPN Communications notes

Honoring Joe Morgan

ESPN honors the legacy of National Baseball Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, who passed away on October 11, 2020. Morgan was ESPN’s first Sunday Night Baseball analyst and alongside Jon Miller, comprised one of sports broadcasting’s longest-tenured and highest-profile teams. The duo called Sunday Night Baseball from 1990 through 2010. ESPN Front Row paid tribute to Morgan in October: ESPN Remembers Joe Morgan. Rest in peace.

Celebrating Diane Lamb

ESPN celebrates the career of Diane Lamb, ESPN Communications Vice President, who retires in January after 36 years in the department. Lamb, who has led countless high-profile public relations initiatives for ESPN during her nearly four-decade career, was one of the first women to serve as a publicist in the Baseball industry. She led Sunday Night Baseball publicity for the better part of two decades during the 1990s and 2000s. We applaud her leadership and we are grateful for the roads she paved during her career.

Sunday Night Baseball launch

ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball franchise made its debut on April 15, 1990, as the Montreal Expos hosted the New York Mets from Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Expos won the game 3-1 behind pitcher Zane Smith’s winning performance.

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