Some more links for you today.
Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner has the preview of the sports weekend. He also mentions a new show, Fast Cars & Superstars, hosted by ESPN’s Kenny Mayne which premieres before the NBA Finals tonight.
ESPN2 and ESPN360 are showing the MLB Draft from 2 -6 p.m. ET, then MLB.com will pick up the coverage. Watching ESPN’s coverage online, it looks frighteningly similar to the NFL Draft. ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Steve Phillips and Peter Gammons are on hand at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is announcing the picks just like NFL Commish Roger Goodell did in April. This being the first year in covering this draft, ESPN is lacking in some video of players, but when they do have video, the network doesn’t hesitate to show it. Plus, Gammons and Phillips give a good perspective on the young players. We’ll see if this becomes successful and goes to the MLB Network in two years. USA Today was live blogging ESPN’s coverage for about an hour.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell has info about Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. Who? She’s a 19 year old tennis player from Serbia and she easily defeated Maria Sharapova today in the French Open semi-finals. She’ll face Justine Henin-Hardenne in the finals on Saturday. If you watched either the Tennis Channel or ESPN2 the last two weeks, you will have noticed how gorgeous she is. Darren linked to some of her pictures from her calendar. I don’t have to link. I can embed it right here.
She’s definitely a rising star.
We told you in our Thursday morning links that Versus signed a sublicensing agreement with Fox Sports Net for 5 Big 12 college football games. That agreement also includes 5 Pac 10 games, so Versus basically gets the contract that went to Turner Sports last year (thank you, Sports Media Watch). Now college football fans West of the Mississippi will have the same problems NHL fans have had with Versus and that is finding the channel. Already, I’ve culled the following games to be on Versus, Iowa-Iowa State and Cal-Stanford. Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle says fans of both teams may have trouble finding the channel.
Ron Kantowski of the Las Vegas Sun remains skeptical that the Mountain West Conference can gain wider distribution for the Mtn. channel. Thus far, the Mtn. has a few deals with various cable companies, but nothing major.
DirecTV has announced expanded coverage for the US Open Golf Championships next week including four dedicated channels. DirecTV says:
DIRECTV’s U.S. Open Mix channel (216) will offer four channels on one screen, tunable by remote to full-screen channels that will include ESPN’s weekday national telecast and three channels that will air live from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 14, and Friday, June 15.
DIRECTV’s U.S. Open coverage will include:
ESPN National Telecast – The first mix cell will be devoted to the ESPN national telecast of the championship. During the 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET window, the channel will feature the NBC national broadcast to coincide with NBC’s national broadcast rights for the event.
“Featured Group” and “Featured Holes” – During the morning and early afternoon, the second channel will feature specific players as they make their way through their round. On Thursday’s opening round, the channel will feature Tiger Woods and his player group; on Friday, Phil Mickelson and his player group will be the focus.
During the late afternoon and evening, the channel will feature coverage of championship play specific to either the 8th and 9th holes or 17th and 18th holes.
“U.S. Open Up Close” – This channel will be a hosted production featuring a mix of player interviews from the Oakmont Country Club driving range, as well as press conferences with players and championship officials as they occur.
“U.S. Open Highlights” – The fourth and final corresponding channel will offer a loop of U.S. Open highlights that will be continually updated as the first two rounds unfold.
Having DirecTV, the expanded coverage for the NFL, MLB, NCAA Tournament, US Tennis Open and French Open has been an absolute joy. I’m sure next week’s interactive golf coverage will be just as enjoyable.
Primetime Viewing choices coming up.