ESPN to Nationally Televise Nine Major League Baseball Games





ESPN to Nationally Televise Nine Major League Baseball Games with Postseason Implications Through September 29
ESPN will nationally televise airing nine games through September 29, including the season finale of “Sunday Night Baseball” leading up to the exclusive coverage of the American League Wild Card Game on ESPN.
[via press release from ESPN]
ESPN to Nationally Televise Nine Major League Baseball Games with Postseason Implications Through September 29

· Sunday Night Baseball Season Finale Features Potential AL Wild Card Preview As New York Yankees Visit Boston Red Sox

· Postseason Impact Game Selections: New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

· ESPN to Exclusively Televise American League Wild Card Game on October 5

· Melanie Newman and Jessica Mendoza Make History in First All-Female Broadcast Team for a National MLB Telecast on September 29

ESPN is the national home of the baseball pennant races as the MLB regular season culminates. ESPN will nationally televise airing nine games through September 29, including the season finale of Sunday Night Baseball leading up to the exclusive coverage of the American League Wild Card Game on ESPN.

Postseason Impact Games

ESPN has selected additional postseason impact games to document the end of the regular season. The New York Yankees and Aaron Judge, currently half of a game behind the Toronto Blue Jays, will visit the Boston Red Sox and Xander Bogaerts on September 24 at 7 p.m. as part of an ESPN MLB tripleheader. The Red Sox are poised as the first AL Wild Card team as of September 21. Ravech, Perez and MLB national reporter Marly Rivera will provide commentary for the game on ESPN. Roxy Bernstein and Chris Singleton will describe the action over the airwaves on ESPN Radio.

Immediately following at 10 p.m., the first place Atlanta Braves and Freddie Freeman will visit the San Diego Padres and Fernando Tatis Jr. Mike Monaco will call the game with Olympic Gold Medalist and analyst Jessica Mendoza. The game is subject to blackout restrictions in the Atlanta and San Diego markets. The Padres return to ESPN in another postseason impact game on September 28 as they visit the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Ravech, Mendoza and analyst Tim Kurkjian will call the full national telecast at 10 p.m.

In addition to postseason impact games, ESPN will televise two Wednesday night doubleheaders. The Red Sox will host the New York Mets and Pete Alonso on September 22 at 7 p.m. with Ravech and Perez on the call. This game will be subject to blackout restrictions in both the New York and Boston markets. Next at 10 p.m., the Padres will host the first place San Francisco Giants and Mike Yastrzemski. Play-by-play voice Melanie Newman will join ESPN to call the telecast alongside analyst Doug Glanville. The game will be blacked out in the San Diego market.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Paul Goldschmidt, currently second in the NL Wild Card race, will host their rival Chicago Cubs to begin the ESPN MLB tripleheader on September 24 at 4 p.m., with Kevin Connors and analyst Xavier Scruggs on the call. This game will be subject to blackouts in both the St. Louis and Chicago market.

Newman and Mendoza will make history on September 29 at 10 p.m. as they become the first all-female broadcast team for a nationally televised MLB game, and the first all-female broadcast team on ESPN during a MLB, NBA or NFL regular season or playoff telecast. ESPN will select the games for September 29 in the coming days.

Sunday Night Baseball Season Finale

The 2021 season finale of Sunday Night Baseball Presented by Taco Bell will feature a potential AL Wild Card preview as the Red Sox host the Yankees in the exclusive, national game of the week. Matt Vasgersian, World Series Champion and analyst Alex Rodriguez and reporter Buster Olney will call the action at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown will precede Sunday Night Baseball at 6 p.m. with Ravech and Perez, plus additional contributions by Senior MLB Insider Jeff Passan. Sunday Night Baseball is also available on ESPN Radio, with Jon “Boog” Sciambi on the call with Singleton. Dave Jageler and Singleton will also call Saturday’s game on ESPN Radio.

All ESPN MLB games, programming and content is available on the ESPN App.

Upcoming ESPN Major League Baseball game schedule:

Date Time (ET)  Game Commentators Platforms

Wed, Sept 22

7 p.m. New York Mets* vs. Boston Red Sox* Telecast Presented by USAA Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez ESPN, ESPN App

Wed, Sept 22

10 p.m. Wednesday Night Baseball Presented by Hankook Tire: San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres* Melanie Newman, Doug Glanville ESPN, ESPN App

Fri, Sept 24

2 p.m. St. Louis Cardinals* vs. Chicago Cubs* Telecast Presented by USAA Kevin Connors, Xavier Scruggs, ESPN, ESPN App

7 p.m. New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez, Marly Rivera ESPN, ESPN App

10 p.m. Atlanta Braves* vs. San Diego Padres* Mike Monaco, Jessica Mendoza ESPN, ESPN App

Sun, Sept 26

7 p.m. Sunday Night Baseball Presented by Taco Bell: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Matt Vasgersian, Alex Rodriguez, Buster Olney ESPN Radio: Jon “Boog” Sciambi, Chris Singleton ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN App

Tue, Sept 28

10 p.m. San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Karl Ravech, Jessica Mendoza, Tim Kurkjian ESPN, ESPN App

Wed, Sept 29

7 p.m. To Be Determined Telecast Presented by USAA Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez, Tim Kurkjian ESPN, ESPN App

10 p.m. To Be Determined Presented by Hankook Tire Melanie Newman, Jessica Mendoza ESPN, ESPN App

Tue, Oct 5

8 p.m. American League Wild Card Game Matt Vasgersian, Alex Rodriguez, Buster Olney ESPN, ESPN App

*Blackout restrictions apply to local markets

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ABC and ESPN Networks to Televise Seven College Football Conference Championship Games





ABC and ESPN Networks to Televise Seven College Football Conference Championship Games, Dec. 3-4
Championship Saturday features six games across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, beginning with a pair of noon kickoffs through the final whistle of the primetime matchup.
[via press release from ESPN]
ABC and ESPN Networks to Televise Seven College Football Conference Championship Games, Dec. 3-4

College football’s regular season across ABC and ESPN networks will conclude with seven conference championship games December 3-4, including the ACC, American, Big 12, MAC, Pac-12, Sun Belt and SWAC.

Conference championship action kicks off Friday, Dec. 3, with the Pac-12 Championship Game from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The matchup is set for 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Championship Saturday features six games across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, beginning with a pair of noon kickoffs through the final whistle of the primetime matchup.

At 12 p.m., the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship Game from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas starts the day on ABC, while the Rocket Mortgage MAC Championship Game is scheduled for Ford Field in Detroit on ESPN.

A trio of afternoon games, all from campus sites yet to be determined, are scheduled for ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. At 3:30 p.m., the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game will commence on ESPN. At 4 p.m., the American Athletic Conference Championship Game will kick off on ABC with the SWAC Championship Game on ESPN2.

In primetime, the Subway ACC Championship Game closes out Championship Saturday from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. on ABC.

All conference championship games will be available on the ESPN App. ESPN Radio will also broadcast the Big 12 and ACC Championship games, as well as the Pac-12 Championship on Dec. 3, including a 30-minute pregame show for each.

Championship Weekend Clinched with College Football Playoff Selection Day on Dec. 5

ESPN’s conference championship weekend will culminate Sunday, Dec. 5 with Selection Day. ESPN will exclusively reveal the College Football Playoff Selection Committee’s final rankings, which will determine the four College Football Playoff semifinalists and the complete New Year’s Six participants. Later in the day, the full Bowl Season schedule and opponents will be released.

Selection Day programming details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Date Time (ET) Game Network

Fri, Dec 3

8 p.m.

Pac-12 Championship Game (Allegiant Stadium – Las Vegas, Nev.) ABC/ESPN Radio

Sat, Dec 4

Noon

Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship Game (AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas) ABC/ESPN Radio

Rocket Mortgage MAC Championship Game (Ford Field – Detroit, Mich.) ESPN

3:30 p.m.

Sun Belt Conference Championship Game (Campus Site TBD) ESPN

4 p.m.

American Athletic Conference Championship Game (Campus Site TBD) ABC

SWAC Championship Game (Campus Site TBD) ESPN2

8 p.m.

Subway ACC Championship Game (Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, N.C.) ABC/ESPN Radio

– 30 –



ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Delivers 13.8 Million Viewers





ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Delivers 13.8 Million Viewers, The Second-Most-Watched “MNF” Week 2 Telecast Since 2014
“Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli’s” audience increased by 138% in week 2, as 1.9 million viewers watched their alternate telecast of Lions-Packers, up from 800,000 viewers in Week 1.
[via press release from ESPN]
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Delivers 13.8 Million Viewers, the Second-Most-Watched MNF Week 2 Telecast Since 2014

· Lions-Packers Telecast Up 13% from 2019 Week 2 MNF Matchup

· Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli Grows Audience by 138%

· Season to Date: MNF Up Double Digits From 2020 and 2019

ESPN’s Monday Night Football presentation featuring the Detroit Lions at the Green Bay Packers (September 20, 8 p.m. ET) delivered a total audience of 13,808,000 viewers across ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes, the second-most-watched Week 2 MNF game since 2014.

The audience for the Packers’ 35-17 victory was up 13% from Week 2 in 2019 (Cleveland at NY Jets) and up 16% from 2018 (Seattle at Chicago), the most recent Week 2 MNF games only on ESPN’s cable networks. Last season, ABC propelled MNF’s Week 2 telecast (New Orleans at Las Vegas) to become the most-watched MNF telecast of the season.

Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli’s audience increased by 138% in week 2, as 1.9 million viewers watched their alternate telecast of Lions-Packers, up from 800,000 viewers in Week 1. The viewership is a new high for an ESPN alternate telecast since the concept was largely adopted in 2014 (more than 30 offerings). For Peyton and Eli’s viewers, more than half (931,000 viewers) were in the adults 18-49 demo.

Viewership reported by Nielsen for ESPN and ESPN2 includes streaming audience across ESPN, NFL, and Yahoo Sports properties.

MNF Up Double Digits Season to Date From Both 2020 and 2019

Through two weeks, ESPN’s Monday Night Football is averaging 14.6 million viewers (two games), up 19% from 2019 (three games) and 23% from 2020 (three games).

Additional Monday Night Football Highlights:

· Monday Night Football was the most-watched telecast of the night among households, viewers, and all keys demo: Men 18-34, 18-49, 25-54, and 55+ as well as persons 18-34, 18-49, 25-54 and P5+ on ESPN.

· Monday Night Football also helped ESPN become the most-watched network (broadcast and cable) in prime time among households, viewers and the same key male and people demos.

Monday Night Football Week 3: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

Monday Night Football continues in Week 3 with a classic NFC East rivalry, featuring Philadelphia at Dallas (September 27, 8 p.m.). Both teams come into the matchup with a 1-1 record. Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and John Parry will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on ESPN. Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli will air on ESPN2.

–30–



Auburn-Penn State Registers 7.6 Million Viewers for ABC’s “Saturday Night Football”





Auburn-Penn State Registers 7.6 Million Viewers for ABC’s “Saturday Night Football,” ABC/ESPN Win the Night in Week 3
ABC’s telecast averaged 7,606,000 viewers, the second-most-watched Week 3 game across all networks and fifth-best game of the year.
[via press release from ESPN]
Auburn-Penn State Registers 7.6 Million Viewers for ABC’s “Saturday Night Football,” ABC/ESPN Win the Night in Week 3

· Auburn/Penn State registered 7.6M average viewers, the second-most-viewed Week 3 matchup

· ABC has aired three of the top five games of the 2021 season

· Nearly 11M average viewers watching CFB in primetime across ESPN networks on Saturday

· ESPN boasts top two games on cable

ABC and ESPN continued to see multi-year viewership highs in Week 3 of the season, highlighted by Saturday night’s primetime matchup between then-No. 22 Auburn and then-No. 10 Penn State.

ABC’s Saturday Night Football Presented by Capital One averaged 7,606,000 viewers, the second-most-watched Week 3 game across all networks and fifth-best game of the year. ABC has aired three of the top five most-watched games of the year, and only once in the past decade (2016) have five games surpassed the 7.5 million viewers mark in the first three weeks of the season. The 7.6 million viewers is one of the five best September game audiences on ABC since the start of the 2018 season.

The matchup between the Tigers and the Nittany Lions peaked from 10:45 – 11 p.m. ET with 8.9 million viewers in the closing minutes of the game. This was the most-viewed Week 3 game on ABC since 2011 and the audience was up more than 100% from Saturday Night Football in 2020’s Week 3 (Miami/Louisville) and Week 3 in 2019 (Clemson/Syracuse). Driven by this game, ABC for the day was up +43 percent from 2019’s Week 3.

ESPN networks once again owned primetime as the top two networks among all key male and adult demos from 8 – 11 p.m. During that window, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU had a combined average minute audience of 10.7 million viewers.

Across the entire sport, 9.4 billion minutes were watched across all networks, up +12% from Week 2 and the most-viewed Week 3 since 2016.

ESPN Boasts Top Two Games on Cable in Week 3

ESPN notched the top two games on cable for Week 3, including South Carolina/Georgia (2,548,000 viewers) in primetime on Saturday, and Friday night’s UCF/Louisville matchup (1,881,000), which was up +8 percent from the 2019 Friday doubleheader (North Carolina/Wake Forest and Washington State/Houston).

College GameDay Built by The Home Depot Has Banner Day

ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot (9 a.m. – noon) had a high-powered weekend in Happy Valley, with the three-hour show averaging 1,910,000 viewers, which ranks as the most-viewed College GameDay since Rivalry Week in 2019. The audience was up +84 percent from Week 3 in 2020 (Louisville) and +7 percent from Week 3 in 2019 (Ames).

Saturday’s show ranks as the best Week 3 airing of the show since 2016 and the final hour (11 a.m. – noon) averaged 2,425,500 viewers, the best final hour since the 2019 season.

– 30 –



ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Season-Opening MegaCast: 15.3 Million Viewers





ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Season-Opening MegaCast: 15.3 Million Viewers, Delivering “MNF’s” Most-Watched Week 1 Game Since 2013
“Monday Night Football” also helped ESPN and ABC become the most-watched networks (broadcast and cable) in prime time among households, viewers and the same key male and people demos.
[via press release from ESPN]
ESPN’s Monday Night Football Season-Opening MegaCast: 15.3 Million Viewers, Delivering MNF’s Most-Watched Week 1 Game Since 2013

o Ravens-Raiders Delivers ESPN’s Second Most-Watched Week 1 MNF Game

o MNF MegaCast Viewership Up 42% and 17%, Respectively, from ESPN’s 2020 and 2019 Week 1 Early Game

o Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli Garner Strong Alternate Telecast Audience

ESPN’s Monday Night Football MegaCast presentation of the Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders (Sept. 13, 8:15 p.m. ET) delivered an impressive audience of 15,292,000 viewers across ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes. The audience for Raiders’ thrilling 33-27 overtime win represents ESPN’s best MNF Week 1 viewership since 2013 (15 games*) and second most-watched Week 1 game since it began airing Monday Night Football (31 games).

Additionally, the MegaCast audience for Allegiant Stadium’s first NFL regular season game with fans is up 42% and 17%, respectively, from the first MNF doubleheader game (7 p.m. kickoff) in 2020 and 2019. In both years, the first game of the doubleheader was the most-viewed game out of the two Week 1 games. On ESPN2 alone, Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli registered an audience of 800,000 viewers.

“ESPN’s culture of innovation inspired the launching of the MegaCast concept in 2004,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “Last night’s Monday Night Football presentation demonstrated ESPN’s continued creative evolution and unparalleled ability to reach fans through every available platform.”

Note: Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli also streamed on ESPN+. Viewership for that feed is not included in this release. ESPN+ also streamed Between the Lines and the audience for that viewing option is not included in the total audience.

Additional Ravens-Raiders MNF Viewership Highlights:

o Monday Night Football was the most-watched telecast of the night among households, viewers, and all keys demo: Men 18-34, 18-49, 25-54, and 55+ as well as persons 18-34, 18-49, 25-54 and P5+ on both ESPN and ABC

o Monday Night Football also helped ESPN and ABC become the most-watched networks (broadcast and cable) in prime time among households, viewers and the same key male and people demos

o Baltimore was the highest-rated local market, followed by Las Vegas and Sacramento. The complete Top 10:

Rank Market Local Rating
(ESPN, ABC, ESPN2)
1 Baltimore 30.0
2 Las Vegas 18.4
3 Sacramento 16.4
4 Kansas City 16.0
5 San Diego 15.9
6 San Francisco 14.4
7 Seattle 13.8
8 Denver 13.6
9 Cleveland 13.5
10 Portland 13.3

Note: Only 44 of the 56 markets are available; the additional 12 will be available tomorrow

Monday Night Football Week 2: Detroit at Green Bay on ESPN (Traditional) and ESPN2 (Peyton and Eli)

ESPN’s Monday Night Football season continues with the Detroit Lions visiting Green Bay, as reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers and new Lions quarterback Jared Goff seek their first wins of the season. The traditional telecast with Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salter and John Parry will air on ESPN, with Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli on ESPN2.

Note: From 2006-20, ESPN aired a doubleheader during Week 1 of the NFL season. This season, Ravens-Raiders was the only game that aired. The historical reference of ‘best since 2013’ is inclusive of the second game of the doubleheader in 2013 and then both games from 2014-20.

–30–



US Open Viewership Up 33% in Prime Time, 13% Overall





US Open Viewership Up 33% in Prime Time, 13% Overall
Coverage totaled 153 hours across ESPN and ESPN2, an increase of 15% over the 133 that had been scheduled.
[via press release from ESPN]
US Open Viewership up 33% in Prime Time, 13% Overall

Men’s Championship up 37% for Djokovic’s Grand Slam Quest

Women’s Championship up 30%; Hits Highest Peak Audience of Tournament

Men’s Semifinals Combine for 46% Increase

The 2021 US Open in New York averaged 881,000 viewers in prime time, up 33% (from 662,000) over last year, and it was up 13% (from an average of 702,000 to 796,000) for the entire two weeks of telecasts. Coverage totaled 153 hours across ESPN and ESPN2, an increase of 15% over the 133 that had been scheduled.

This past weekend’s women’s and men’s championships – both featuring historic storylines – each enjoyed large increases over 2020.

Women’s Championship: Fernandez vs. Raducanu

· Saturday’s women’s final between unheralded teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez – the first Major final, male or female, with two unseeded players in the Open Era (since 1968) – averaged 2.44 million viewers. That represents an increase of 37% over last year (Victoria Azarenka vs. Naomi Osaka).

· The match peaked at 3.4 million viewers at 6-6:15 p.m. ET, ESPN’s highest peak of the tournament.

· It is the most-watched women’s final of the seven ESPN has televised since acquiring US Open exclusivity in 2015 that did not include Serena Williams (2018, 2019).

· Raducanu – the first man or woman to reach a Major final having come through qualifying – defeated Fernandez 6-4, 6-3.

Men’s Championship: Djokovic vs. Medvedev

· The men’s final featured the first attempt by a man to win the Grand Slam – capturing all four Major crowns in one calendar year – since Rod Laver in 1969. Top-seeded Novak Djokovic was also seeking sole ownership of the record for career Majors won by a man, currently a tie at 20 with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

· His match against #2 Daniil Medvedev averaged 2.05 million viewers, up 37% from a year ago. It peaked at 2.7 million viewers at 6:15-30 p.m.

· Medvedev won his first Major title in denying Djokovic his place in history with a straight sets win – 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.

Men’s Semifinals

The Men’s Semifinals – now split into an afternoon match (Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Daniil Medvedev) and one in prime time (Novak Djokovic vs. Alexander Zverev) – combined to average 1.3 million viewers. That represents an increase of 46% over 2020.

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ABC’s “Saturday Night Football” and “Sunday Kickoff” Are Two Most-Watched Games of the Week





ABC’s “Saturday Night Football” and “Sunday Kickoff” Are Two Most-Watched Games of the Week, Multi-Year Viewership Highs in Week 1 as ESPN Platforms Welcome CFB Viewers Home
College football fans flocked to ESPN networks over the six-day stretch, including on the first full CFB Saturday of the season.
[via press release from ESPN]
ABC’s Saturday Night Football and Sunday Kickoff are Two Most-Watched Games of the Week, Multi-Year Viewership Highs in Week 1 as ESPN Platforms Welcome CFB Viewers Home

· UGA/Clemson (8.9M viewers) becomes the second-most-viewed Kickoff Saturday game in the past 20 years

· ND/FSU (7.8M viewers) now the second-most-viewed Kickoff Sunday game on record

· 10M+ average viewers watching CFB in primetime across ABC, ESPN & ESPNU on Saturday

· ABC is CFB’s most-viewed network in Week 1, up 28% from 2019

· ESPN/ABC win the night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday

ESPN and ABC scored several viewership superlatives in Week 1, with the networks combining to air the top two and three of the top four games in college football’s official premiere week, which has been determined now that Nielsen’s full reporting is available. More than 10 million viewers were watching college football in the average minute across ABC, ESPN and ESPNU in primetime on Saturday as the sport returned in full force.

College football fans flocked to ESPN networks over the six-day stretch, including on the first full CFB Saturday of the season. From noon to 11 p.m. ET on Saturday, there were at least 7.2 million viewers watching college football content in the average minute across ESPN platforms, including ABC, ESPN and ESPNU, as well as streaming on ESPN3 and ESPN’s college networks.

ESPN and ABC were responsible for 68 percent of the viewership on nationally-rated linear networks in Week 1, winning the night among all viewers and all key adult demos across all genres (not just sports) in primetime on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

ABC averaged 6.2 million viewers across its four-game slate over Labor Day Weekend, the network’s most-viewed Kickoff Weekend since 2017 and the third best in the past decade. ABC’s Kickoff Weekend audience was up 28 percent from 2019 and 21 percent from 2018. ABC was also the most-viewed network of Week 1.

Duke’s Mayo Classic Contest Between Georgia, Clemson Leads the Way

The top-five faceoff between Georgia and Clemson averaged 8,863,000 viewers, making the matchup the second-most-viewed Kickoff Saturday game in the past 20 years (Florida State vs. Alabama, 2017). The contest ranks in the top five regular season college football games on ABC the past five years.

Peaking with 9.7 million viewers, the game’s audience was up 29 percent from the comparable game (Oregon vs. Auburn, 2019) and 95 percent from the Week 1 Saturday primetime game (Alabama vs. Louisville) in 2018.

Labor Day Sunday Thriller Sees Big Numbers, Overtime Peak

One of the most exciting games of the season thus far, Notre Dame at Florida State averaged 7,751,000 viewers on Sunday night to rank as the second-most-watched game of Week 1. The Fighting Irish-Seminoles showdown, which peaked in overtime with 9.5 million viewers, is the second-most-viewed Opening Week Sunday game on record, trailing only Notre Dame vs. Texas in 2016.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Saturday Game Goes Down as No. 2 Game of the Day

Saturday’s matchup between Alabama and Miami averaged 5,674,000 viewers, the second-most-viewed game of the day on Saturday across all networks and the most-viewed game in that Week 1 timeslot since 2017. The audience peaked with 6.8 million viewers at the end of the first half. Viewership is up 22 percent from the comparable game in 2019 (Duke vs. Alabama) and up 8 percent from the Week 1 Saturday afternoon game of Washington vs. Auburn in 2018.

In-Conference Contests Register ESPN’s Most-Viewed Opening Friday in a Decade

Friday’s primetime opener of North Carolina at Virginia Tech averaged 2,580,000 viewers, the most-viewed Opening Friday game since 2012 (Boise State vs. Michigan State). The game between the ACC foes preceded a Big Ten battle between Michigan State and Northwestern, which recorded 2,101,000 viewers to help ESPN to its most-viewed Opening Friday in the past decade.

Date Matchup P2+ Viewers Network
Sat, Sep 4 Georgia vs. Clemson 8,863,000 ABC
Sun, Sep 5 Notre Dame at Florida State 7,751,000 ABC
Sat, Sep 4 Alabama vs. Miami 5,674,000 ABC
Mon, Sep 6 Ole Miss vs. Louisville* 2,944,000 ESPN
Fri, Sep 3 North Carolina at Virginia Tech 2,580,000 ESPN
Sat, Sep 4 Oklahoma at Tulane (Norman, Okla.) 2,526,000 ABC

* Based on Nielsen Fast Nationals

College GameDay Built by The Home Depot

ESPN’s three-hour College GameDay Built by The Home Depot (9 a.m. – noon) from Romare Bearden Park in Charlotte averaged 1,836,500 viewers, while the final hour (11 a.m. – noon) averaged 2,283,600 viewers.

– 30 –



Week 2 Welcomes Longtime Rivalries, 17 of the Top 25 Set for ESPN Networks





Week 2 Welcomes Longtime Rivalries, 17 of the Top 25 Set for ESPN Networks
Key Matchups: No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa State; No. 13 Florida at South Florida; Washington at Michigan; and No. 15 Texas at Arkansas

ESPN_on_ABC_College_Football_Week_2_Matchups_2021
After a jam-packed Week 1 slate, Week 2 of college football on ESPN networks is set for showdowns between non-conference foes, with matchups featuring 17 Top 25 teams. In total, nearly 60 games are slated for showcase across ESPN networks.

The battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy will reach new heights, as the first-ever Top 10 matchup will be featured in the rivalry between No. 10 Iowa and No. 9 Iowa State. Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe will be on the call from Ames at 4:30 p.m. ET. ESPN’s “College GameDay Built by The Home Depot” pregame show will make its second trip to Ames in three years for the Cy-Hawk rivalry on Saturday morning (9 a.m. – noon).

ABC is also home to the Sunshine State showdown on Saturday, Sept. 11, between No. 13 Florida and South Florida at 1 p.m., featuring Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky and Kris Budden announcing the action. Closing out the night on ABC, Washington-Michigan is slated for ABC’s “Saturday Night Football presented by Capital One” at 8 p.m. Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge and Molly McGrath will be on the TV call, with Sean Kelley, Barrett Jones and Ian Fitzsimmons on ESPN Radio from the Big House. The game will also feature both SkyCast and the Great Clips Command Center on ESPN3 and the ESPN App.

On ESPN, the longtime rivalry between Texas and Arkansas is renewed in primetime, as Joe Tessitore, Greg McElroy and Katie George call the contest between the Longhorns and the Razorbacks at 7 p.m. The matchup will be featured on SkyCast on ESPN3 and the ESPN App as well.

Pittsburgh and Tennessee kick things off with Dave Pasch, Dusty Dvoracek and Tom Luginbill at noon, with the Panthers-Vols matchup also live on ESPN Radio featuring Marc Kestecher and Max Starks. Another in-state rivalry on ESPN networks, No. 21 Utah takes on BYU at 10:15 p.m. on ESPN, as Dave Flemming, Rod Gilmore and Alex Chappell announce the action.

On ESPN2, UAB travels to No. 2 Georgia for the 4K Game of the Week, as Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III and Quint Kessenich call the matchup between the hedges. 2020’s breakout team, No. 17 Coastal Carolina, hosts Kansas at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept 10. Jason Benetti, Andre Ware and Paul Carcaterra will announce the action Friday night.

Ranked Showdowns Set for ESPN’s College Networks

Two of the top teams in the country are slated for afternoon action on ESPN’s College Networks. Top-ranked Alabama hosts Mercer at 4 p.m. on SEC Network, with the “SEC Saturday Night” trio of Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers and Cole Cubelic on the call. On ACC Network, No. 6 Clemson welcomes in-state opponent South Carolina State to Death Valley, as the “ACC Network Primetime” crew of Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck and Kelsey Riggs announce the action.

Newcomers Make Booth Debuts

Deuce McAllister, Brian Custer and Eddie Royal all make their booth debuts on ESPN networks this weekend. McAllister and Custer are both on noon calls Saturday, with McAllister announcing Alabama State at No. 25 Auburn on SEC Network, teaming up with Dave Neal and Andraya Carter. Custer will be on play-by-play duties for the matchup of South Carolina at East Carolina on ESPN2, joined by analyst Kelly Stouffer and reporter Lauren Sisler. Royal, a former Hokies standout, returns to his alma mater, joining Bill Roth on the call of Middle Tennessee at No. 19 Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. on ACCNX.

HBCU Matchup Featuring Coaches Eddie George and Deion “Prime Time” Sanders Set for Primetime

Saturday’s Southern Heritage Classic combines the passion and pageantry of HBCU football with the meeting of two head coaches who are legends in their own right. Tennessee State, led by Ohio State great Eddie George, and Jackson State, helmed by Florida State standout Deion Sanders, go head to head in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl. The game will be carried live on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. and tape-delayed later that evening on ESPNU at 10:30 p.m.

Additional ESPN Networks – Week 2 Highlights

Murray State at No. 7 Cincinnati: Saturday at 3:30 p.m., ESPN+
Talent: Connor Onion, Bobby Carpenter
Georgia State at No. 24 North Carolina: Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN3
Austin Peay at No. 20 Ole Miss: Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN+/SEC Network+
Talent: Richard Cross, Ben Hartsock
UNLV at No. 23 Arizona State: Saturday at 10:30 p.m., ESPN2
Talent: Beth Mowins, Kirk Morrison, Dawn Davenport

College Football Original Series on ESPN+

Eli’s Places – Former Ole Miss All-American and two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning takes on his own version of his brother Peyton’s signature show to explore what makes college football a way of life across the country. Episode two, “Heisman Campaigns,” debuts today, featuring football greats Larry Fitzgerald and Joe Theismann joining Manning on an exploration of the mystique surrounding college football’s most prestigious award, while political consultant and LSU superfan James Carville provides advice on running a Heisman campaign. Episode one of Eli’s Places, “The First Game,” is also available to stream now and follows Manning as he investigates the birth of college football with actor, comedian and New Jersey native Jon Stewart.
SMU Football: The Hilltop – “Welcome to Dallas,” the first episode of “SMU Football: The Hilltop,” a behind-the-scenes documentary series chronicling the Mustangs’ 2021 season, is available to stream now on ESPN+. Episode one shows Southern Methodist University head coach Sonny Dykes and his players as they enter fall camp in preparation for what they hope is a breakout season in Dykes’ fourth year at the helm. New episodes of “The Hilltop” will be available to stream every Thursday during the season.
Our Time: UCF Football – A new season of “Our Time,” featuring the University of Central Florida, will debut on ESPN+ this Thursday, Sept. 9. As new head coach Gus Malzahn enters this season seeking to further establish UCF as a national power, “Our Time: UCF Football” will give fans an all-access, inside look at the Knights every Thursday throughout the season. The “Our Time” series previously chronicled Oklahoma State and head coach Mike Gundy last year.



ESPN Recognizing 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks with Content Across Platforms





ESPN Recognizing 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks with Content Across Platforms
As the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks approaches, ESPN will recognize the anniversary and the intersection of sports, the attacks and their aftermath with special programming and content across platforms surrounding the anniversary date.
[via press release from ESPN]
ESPN Recognizing 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks with Content Across Platforms

As the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks approaches, ESPN will recognize the anniversary and the intersection of sports, the attacks and their aftermath with special programming and content across platforms surrounding the anniversary date.

Among the initiatives: the E60 program Comeback Season: Sports After 9/11; live Major League Baseball from New York on Sept. 11; features in College GameDay and Sunday NFL Countdown; content on ESPN.com and the ESPN Daily Podcast; features on the ACC and SEC Networks and more.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, the 8 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter on ESPN will note the national moment of silence for 9/11 at 8:46 a.m.

Some of the content on ESPN platforms will include:.

E60: Comeback Season – Sports After 9/11 (Wed., Sept. 8, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

E60 looks at the role sports played 20 years ago as the country mourned in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The one-hour program is hosted by Mike Greenberg from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. Among the sports figures appearing in the program are Vinnie Testaverde and Herm Edwards (New York Jets); Mark Messier (New York Rangers); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR); Kate Markgraf and Julie Foudy (USWNT); Joe Andruzzi (New England Patriots); Bobby Valentine (New York Mets); Amani Toomer and Howard Cross (New York Giants) and more. The program also will be available for on-demand viewing on the ESPN App for a limited time after the airing.

MLB – Yankees vs. Mets (Sat., Sept. 11, 6 p.m., ESPN Radio)

ESPN Radio will broadcast the Major League Baseball game between the New York Yankees and New York Mets on Saturday night, Sept. 11, from Citi Field in New York City. Michael Kay will call the game with analysis by Buster Olney. Bobby Valentine, who was manager of the Mets in 2001 when they played the Atlanta Braves in the first regular-season pro sporting event held in New York after 9/11, will be a pre-game guest on the broadcast as will former Yankees player Bernie Williams, who was a member of the team at the time. Other baseball figures from the 9/11 era also may join. Kay will join Olney on the ESPN Audio Baseball Tonight Podcast this week to discuss Saturday night’s game.

ESPN.com

Numerous features and stories related to 9/11 will appear on ESPN.com during the week of the anniversary. Among them:

· A photo-driven feature on the September 21, 2001, MLB game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, the first regular-season pro sporting event in New York City after 9/11. The feature focuses on some people at that game that night whose lives were never the same. (by Ryan Hockensmith).

· The Fun City Bowl, the annual football game between the NYPD and FDNY, which serves as a remembrance of 9/11 (by Tom Junod).

· College Football:

· Florida director of player personnel Charlie Skalaski left New York City and corporate America to pursue football coaching dreams after witnessing 9/11 up close (by Alex Scarborough).

· Indiana defensive coordinator Charlton Warren was working on cockpits at an Air Force Base in Georgia when it went into lockdown on 9/11 (by Andrea Adelson).

· Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, whose sister was in the towers and narrowly escaped, remembers a former player, Nick Brandemarti, who was killed in the attacks. (by Chris Low)

· Memories of the first college football game after 9/11 (Mississippi State-South Carolina) (by Chris Low).

College GameDay Built by The Home Depot (Sat., Sept. 11, 9 a.m., ESPN)

I n recognition of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, College GameDay on Saturday, Sept. 11, will include a feature from Gene Wojciechowski on how college football reacted, including personal stories from coaches. The show will also highlight tributes from various college football teams as they commemorate the anniversary.

Sunday NFL Countdown (Sun., Sept. 12, 10 a.m., ESPN)

The Sunday, Sept. 12, edition of Sunday NFL Countdown will include a feature on New York Jets coach Robert Saleh, whose brother’s second day of work in the World Trade Center was 9/11. The brother survived, but the experience resulted in Robert leaving his job as a financial analyst and going into coaching. Adam Schefter narrates. (Also a written piece on ESPN.com by Rich Cimini).

ESPN Radio

· The Friday, Sept. 10, edition of the ESPN Radio program Keyshawn, JWill and Max (6 a.m. ET), will feature an interview with Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, Edwards was coach of the New York Jets.

· Also on Sept. 10, host Mike Greenberg will talk with former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine on Greeny (10 a.m.). The Mets hosted the first regularly-scheduled pro sports game in New York following the 9/11 attacks.

ESPN Daily Podcast

Host and native New Yorker Pablo Torre will discuss his memories of 9/11 in an essay during the Friday, Sept. 10, edition.

ACC Network

· ACC coaches remember and offer their perspective on 9/11.

· The importance to Boston College of Welles Crowther and the Red Bandanna.

SEC Network

· Feature on former Vanderbilt pitcher and 1995 graduate Mark Hindy, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Former teammates Bump Elliot and Josh Paul share their memories of Hindy and how they’ve honored him in the years since 9/11.

· Feature on Alachua Country Fire & Rescue’s annual tradition of climbing steps in Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to honor the victims of 9/11, including NYC firefighters and first responders. The ACFR, like many Fire Departments all over the country, will climb over 2,200 steps to replicate the steps taken on get to the top of the World Trade Center.

Other 9/11 Content on ESPN Platforms

Among 9/11-related content that will appear on SportsCenter or other ESPN platforms as part of the recognition:

· “First Pitch” – The ESPN Films 30 for 30 short looks at President George W. Bush’s ceremonial throw at Yankee Stadium to kick off Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, just seven weeks after the September 11 attacks. (Available on ESPN+).

· “The Man in the Red Bandanna” – ESPN’s SC Featured remembers former Boston College lacrosse player Welles Crowther, who led people to safety after planes struck the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

· “Bingham” – The SC Featured piece from 2016 explores the legacy of 9/11 hero Mark Bingham, who helped stop Flight 93 from reaching the U.S. Capitol. In his honor, an inclusive rugby team was formed in New York, and others followed.

· Also: a look back at the Army-Navy game that took place on Dec. 1, 2001, in Philadelphia; a personal 9/11 story from ESPN reporter Adam Schefter; an essay from ESPN writer Tom Junod on sports and 9/11, and more.



ESPN Announces “Monday Night Football” Music Collaboration





ESPN Announces “Monday Night Football” Music Collaboration with Award-Winning Artist Drake
ESPN has collaborated with Drake to choose music that encapsulates both the energy and mood of select Monday Night Games on ESPN.
[via press release from ESPN]
ESPN Announces Monday Night Football Music Collaboration with Award-Winning Artist Drake

ESPN announced today that Billboard’s Artist of the Decade, Drake, will work with ESPN throughout the entire NFL season to curate music for select Monday Night Football games. ESPN has collaborated with Drake to choose music that encapsulates both the energy and mood of select Monday Night Games on ESPN. The music will be a combination of Drake’s most recent releases, potentially some classics, as well as new music from other artists he identifies; all of which will run in Monday Night Football promotional spots, live telecasts and pre-game shows for ten games this season, starting this week.

“Now we are here… the kickoff of the football season. And who better to curate music for Monday Night Football than Drake who sits firmly at the intersection of music and sports. We couldn’t be more excited for this upcoming collaboration,” said Emeka Ofodile, Vice President of Sports Marketing, ESPN. “The music curator role has been a big hit with our fans with Diplo and DJ Khaled in previous years… .and this season, we will be living inside the moment with Drake as our NFL on ESPN soundtrack.”

Aubrey “Drake” Graham is a Grammy Award-winning, platinum-selling recording artist, multi-faceted performer and film and TV producer. His first studio album, “Thank Me Later” was released in 2010 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Albums chart. Drake’s sophomore album “Take Care,” released in 2011, won the highly regarded Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. The album went multi-platinum, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Albums chart, selling 631,000 copies its first week, and earning three top 10 songs on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart. His fourth and quadruple platinum album, “Views” was released in April of 2016 and landed on the US Billboard 200 list as number one for thirteen non-consecutive weeks. Most recently, Drake released his highly-anticipated six studio album “Certified Lover Boy,” which broke Apple Music’s one-day streaming record in under 12 hours. He holds the record for the most number one hits on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Chart.