07/13/15: FOX, ESPN step up to the plate for All-Star festivities; UFC gets a makeover; Adidas eyes Blatter spot


Good morning. It’s Monday July 13, 2015, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing. 

This week’s All-Star Game festivities hit full swing over the next two days with the 2015 Home Run Derby slated to run tonight at 8p on ESPN, while Tuesday will see FOX offer the All-Star Game at 7p, with play-by-play announcer Joe Buck joined by analysts Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci in the booth, while Pete Rose makes his return to baseball where he will work pregame, among other duties. ESPN’s coverage of the Home Run Derby will see Chris Berman join John Kruk and Aaron Boone in coverage, while the channel’s Baseball Tonight comes from Great American Ball Park for three hours of coverage leading in to the Home Run Derby with host Karl Ravech  joined by Curt Schilling (Sunday Night Baseball) and reporters Buster Olneyand Tim Kurkjian.

Talent from both ESPN and FOX Sports discussed the state of the game last week, with Rose’s return being a hot topic among reporters.

Pete Rose on the possibility of reinstatement: Just having him [Commissioner Manfred] review my status, I’m happy. I’m looking forward to sitting down one-on-one with Mr. Manfred and discussing the situation. I’ll be as honest as I possibly can about my life in baseball. I’m elated and I’m genuinely happy that Mr. Manfred is willing to reconsider my status. I’ve never met him before, but hopefully I can introduce myself soon. When you’re in my situation, you’ll be happy with pretty much anything. I’m just happy that he’s willing to review my status, and we’ll go from there.”

Joe Buck on the evolution of the All-Star Game: As somebody who’s about to do their 17th one of these, I can tell you the evolution of how it started and where it is now. How crazy would it be to play and manage a game to win?  That’s supposed to be a bad thing?  In 2002, Barry Bonds would take two at-bats and be out of the game and be out of the stadium and on a jet home. If you’re upset because you don’t play, despite getting a jersey with your name on your back, the fanfare, and you get to be in the locker room with other stars, then be better next year and get more votes. This game was irrelevant and MLB made it relevant again.  At least now you get a game worth watching. There’s a reason they put a carrot at the end of the game for these guys to play for. In the extra inning New York game the starters who were long out of the game were still in the dugout cheering on their teammates.  I completely disagree with people who say this is a mistake to make this game count for something.

Aaron Boone on Rose’s involvement in the on-field All-Star Game ceremonies: I’m fine with it. I think on this level he should be allowed to participate in things on a limited basis. I think teams like Cincinnati and maybe even the Phillies in controlled situations should be allowed to have him be a part of their organization, part of their marketing, whatever. I think it’s time that we celebrate him in his accomplishments in a limited way. But I also don’t believe that he should be allowed all the way back into the game. I think that the violations that he’s ultimately committed, I think, has been very clear, and I don’t think he should be allowed to be in decision making situations anymore in the game. But I absolutely believe there is a place for him in the Hall of Fame. I believe there is a place for him certainly with the Cincinnati Reds organization and certainly at this AllStar Game. 

Curt Schilling on the future of the Home Run Derby: I think it has potential to be openended as far as life span goes.  I think what you’re seeing – I tell you what, for the duration of Rob Manfred’s tenure it will be here because Rob has shown a willingness to act quickly, which I think you have to do in certain situations. And I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a fan say, wow, I went to the Home Run Derby and it was horrible.  It’s fun.  It’s a unique event.  I think that they’re trying to address the one major issue, everybody is, which is the length of time. 


After offering a taste of the changes to come via a new logo last week, UFC showcased an overhauled visual identity during its programming over the weekend, marking the first since the organization was purchased by Zuffa in 2001. UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor on Saturday featured the launch of a completely redesigned graphics package, created in partnership with Troika. Innovations included an on-screen information system, “enabling depth of storytelling while enhancing the viewing experience with a low profile footprint that does not distract from the action in the famed Octagon.” “UFC has and always will be true to its DNA,” UFC Chief Global Brand Officer Garry Cook said. “We didn’t set out to reinvent ourselves, we looked at ways to build on our solid foundation and better deliver on a broad range of storytelling components, providing more context and meaning, and further enhancing the viewing experience for our fans.”

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race to ever run on NBCSN kept pace with last year’s run. The telecast posted a 2.0 in Nielsen overnight household numbers to run even with last year’s event as well as the 2015 average on cable, according to the company.

After Serena Williams crushed Wimbledon to snag yet another trophy for her collection, fans will be treated to the full Serena Slam courtesy of Tennis Channel today starting at 1p. The network lined up Serena Williams’ last four sequential Grand Slam final victories. in chronological order, beginning with the 2014 US Open, followed by the 2015 Australian Open and French Open, and ending with her Wimbledon win today. In addition, starting Tuesday, July 12, digital subscription platform Tennis Channel Plus will feature a fully dedicated section to the "Serena Slam" and will run her US Open, Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon wins on a 24/7 loop for fans to enjoy.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., reportedly mulling only one more fight before retiring, may take his Sept. 12 bout to free TV, according to CBSSports.com. The champion, who has not yet named an opponent, could be mulling a fight that would air live on CBS in lieu of PPV.

Speaking of boxing and the broadcasters, Premier Boxing Champions released its summer broadcast slate. With six partners in play, the PBC Series will air on ESPN (July 11, Aug 1 and 29), NBC (Sept 12 and Sept 26), CBS (July 18 and Sept 6), NBCSN (July 25 and August 15), Spike (Aug 14 and Sept 11) and Bounce TV (August 2).

ESPN made its game selection for the July 26 edition of Sunday Night Baseball presented by Taco Bell, choosing the Tigers/Red Sox at 8p. Dan Shulman offers commentary with analysts Curt Schilling and John Kruk and reporter Buster Olney. Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton will call the action for ESPN Radio.

On July 16, Emmy season kicks off for real as the nominations for TV’s biggest event are announced. But who’ll make the cut? Titan "Amazing Race"? Outsider "Dance Moms"? Staple Carson Daly? Get the whole scoop in the new Cynsiders, where we poll three TV experts and sort through the names, the categories and the politics to find out who’ll be the survivors. Click here.

MSG Networks is adding New York Liberty away games to the schedule. Channels will now carry 29 of the 34 Liberty regular season games overall. “We are very excited our fans will now be able to follow the Liberty on MSG Networks all season long, as the team competes in critical matchups across the country,” said New York Liberty Team President Isiah Thomas. “I heard the message from many of our fans, that it was important to be able to see New York Liberty home and away games broadcast locally, and we are happy to be able to make that a reality this season."


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FIFA sponsor Adidas is pushing for UEFA President Michel Platini to fill the shoes of the outgoing Sepp Blatter. Company CEO Herbert Hainer was quoted by German weekly Focus as saying, "For me, Platini is the most suitable candidate." He goes on to state "He leads UEFA, with the best club teams worldwide and the strongest club competition, the Champions League," Hainer added. "He has done a really good job in his two terms in office."

In addition to record ratings at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FOX Sports nabbed a cool $40 million in ad revenue, according to Media Life. Fox Networks Group President of Ad Sales, Toby Byrne, said that the company sold out most of the spots in the tourney in advance but held a few back just in case the US team went far. The $40 million figure easily bests the $6 million collected by ESPN in 2011, according to Kantar Media.


Ikegami announced that its 8K cameras will be used by NHK on July 17th at Yankee Stadium to spotlight the matchup between the Mariners/Yankees. The use of the cameras will mark the first MLB game ever to be recorded in 8K. Overall, six Ikegami 8K cameras (Model: SHV-8000) will be deployed throughout Yankee Stadium for the game and members of the media will have the opportunity to view the production on 8K monitors which will be onsite in a special suite.


AOL series 2 Point Lead, which blends sports and satire, has a new take on the Season 5 finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The video can be found here.


MLBAM updated its mobile game MLB.com Home Run Derby 15 to include the eight participants this year and new bracket and timed round format for fans to compete in the derby from Great American Ball Park. The new version of the game is available as a free download on the Apple App Store and Google Play and includes multiple ballparks, highlighted by its HD re-creation of Great American Ball Park.


The Home Run Derby tonight at 8p on ESPN.



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ON THIS DAY in 2005: The NHL and NHL Players’ Association agree in principle to a new collective bargaining agreement.

In The Know: Which five events comprise the modern Olympic pentathlon? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company and city.)

Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Which current AAC teams are former members of the CAA? Answer: ECU/Navy. Kudos: Andrew Feingold-Nielsen/NY; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.

Later — Chris
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