Seen on Screen: ESPN to Host College Football Playoff Selection Show; NBCSN Set to Debut Sunday Sports Report

by Jarrel Harris, Editorial Assistant

ESPN will provide exclusive coverage for the inaugural College Football Playoff’s with a selection show debuting Dec. 7. As a new era begins in college football with the creation of the College Football Playoff, so too will the playoff group’s approach to revealing its selections for the two Playoff Semifinals and the other four New Year’s Six bowls (Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl). On Sunday, Dec. 7 at 12:45 p.m. ET, the College Football Playoff Selection Show will debut on ESPN and be hosted by Rece Davis with analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Danny Kanell and David Pollack.

The four teams playing in the two semifinal games – the 2015 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual and the Sugar Bowl, will be revealed at the top of the show. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will then reconvene to finish its work. By 3 p.m., the pairings for the remaining New Year’s Six games will be revealed.

In addition to debate and analysis about the selections, the show will include a live interview with Jeff Long, chairman of the Selection Committee, and interviews with all four coaches playing in the semifinals.

ESPN reached an exclusive 12-year agreement through 2026 with the College Football Playoff to televise the national championship game and semifinals, as well as the four bowl games that will be part of the rotation to host the semifinals. All games will be featured across ESPN platforms including ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV and via WatchESPN on computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox LIVE. Additionally, ESPN can distribute the matchups on ESPN Deportes and around the world via ESPN International….

…NBCSN is launching NBCSN Sunday Sports Report, a weekly one-hour program that will showcase the news and highlights of the sports properties that primarily air on NBC and NBCSN. The one-hour program premieres August 17 at 11:30 p.m. ET. Every Sunday night, NBCSN Sunday Sports Report will go in-depth into the high-profile sports properties that are carried by NBC Sports Group, including the Olympics and Olympic sports, NFL, NASCAR, NHL, Premier League, golf, Triple Crown horse racing, Notre Dame Football, Formula One, IndyCar and more.

Liam McHugh will host NBCSN Sunday Sports Report from Studio 3 at NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. The show will feature live and taped remote reports, as well as NBC Sports Group commentators, experts and guests providing commentary from Studio 3.

During the NFL season, viewers will see post-game reports and commentary from the site of Sunday Night Football featuring Cris Collinsworth, Josh Elliott, and Hines Ward, as well as interviews from Michele Tafoya. McHugh, Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Pierre McGuire will talk pucks during NHL season. Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Marty Snider and Kelli Stavast will provide regular NASCAR reports, while Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earl, Robbie Mustoe and Kyle Martino will provide Premier League commentary. Viewers can expect similar reports, commentary and interviews for other sports during their respective seasons…

…NBCSN will televise Liverpool’s first match in the United States in 2014 as the Reds meet AS Roma in a “Football at Fenway” friendly at Fenway Park in Boston on Wednesday, July 23. NBCSN will produce a special pre-match show at 7 p.m. ET. Kickoff follows at 7:30 p.m. ET.  Announcers will be named at a later date.

On Barclays Premier League “Championship Sunday” on May 11, Liverpool secured a second-place finish in the Premier League and their first UEFA Champions League berth since 2009-10 with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Newcastle at Anfield.  AS Roma clinched second place in Serie A this season, also securing a Champions League berth.  The two clubs last squared off on July 25, 2012 – also at Fenway Park — before a sold out crowd of more than 37,000 fans.

With “Championship Sunday,” NBC Sports Group concluded its unprecedented coverage of the thrilling 2013-14 Premier League season featuring all 380 matches televised live on the networks of NBCUniversal and the Premier League Extra Time bonus TV package, and every game streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra. A record 31.5 million Americans tuned in to NBC Sports Group’s television coverage of the 2013-14 Premier League season and 259.2 million minutes of Premier League action were streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.

The 2014-15 Premier League season kicks off on Saturday, August 16.

…ESPN will provide extensive coverage of the Samsung NBA Summer League 2014 in Las Vegas with 23 live games on ESPN3 and a full week of on-site SportsCenter segments which started Friday, July 11. ESPN3’s slate of games tipped off with a doubleheader Friday, July 11, when the Golden State Warriors met the Charlotte Hornets at 8:30 p.m. ET. Following, the NBA D-League Select Team faced the New Orleans Pelicans at 10:30 p.m. ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard and analyst P.J. Carlesimo will contribute to SportsCenter from Las Vegas throughout opening weekend with live hits, reports and analysis.

Beginning Monday, July 14, and continuing through the week, NBA Countdown host Sage Steele will join Carlesimo, Broussard and analysts Avery Johnson and Tom Penn for around-the-clock SportsCenter coverage on site at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. Carlesimo and Johnson have previously coached NBA Summer League, while Penn, a former NBA team executive, will provide front office perspective.

ESPN3 will also provide archived coverage of the Samsung NBA Summer League 2014 Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals from Saturday, July 19, through Monday, July 21.

… NBC Sports Ventures has added another business to its portfolio by signing a joint marketing and media rights agreement with obstacle-race organizer Spartan Race. The deal gives NBC the exclusive broadcast, cable and digital rights to the Reebok Spartan Race series. It also becomes the exclusive sponsorship sales arm for Spartan Race’s 40-plus competitions, which attract more than 500,000 participants annually.

In exchange, Spartan Race will have six races broadcast annually and receive promotional spots on NBC’s national and regional sports networks. NBC Sports Group’s coverage will culminate with the Spartan Race World Championship on Sunday, November 16th at 3 p.m. ET on NBC. Leading up to the World Championship, NBCSN will telecast five additional Reebok Spartan Races, beginning Tuesday, July 22nd at 11 p.m. ET with a race from Tuxedo, NY. All of its races will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.

During each telecast, viewers will be provided a front- row seat to competitors tackling a gauntlet of obstacles, including spear throws, fire jumps, aerial traverses over water, challenging rope climbs and barbed wire crawls. In addition, the all-access experience will chronicle the stories of many of the amazing people competing in the races.

…With excitement for the 2014 Tour de France growing each day, ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series will take a look back at one of the sports’ most epic rivalries with “Slaying the Badger” on Tuesday, July 22, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Before Lance Armstrong, there was the three-time Tour champion Greg LeMond.  LeMond was the first and is currently the only American to officially win the Tour de France. In this engrossing documentary, directed and written by John Dower (“Once in a Lifetime,” “Thrilla in Manila”), LeMond looks back at the pivotal 1986 Tour and his fierce rivalry with friend, teammate and mentor – five-time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault. The film is based on the book with the same name written by Richard Moore.

Then the reigning Tour champion, Hinault (known as “The Badger”) had seemingly promised to help LeMond to his first victory, in return for LeMond supporting him when he struggled in 1985 when they were teammates. But in a sport that purports to reward teamwork, “Slaying the Badger” demonstrates that sometimes it’s really every man for himself. The documentary features interviews with Greg and Kathy LeMond, Greg’s father Bob LeMond, Hinault, former team coach Paul Koechli, former teammate Andy Hampsten, cycling journalists and others.

NBC Sports Group and the National Pro Grid League, the country’s first ever professional fitness league, today announced an exclusive coverage agreement to present more than 10 hours of the league’s inaugural playoffs across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

NBC Sports Group’s coverage will culminate with a live telecast of the National Pro Grid League Final on Friday, October 3 at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. NBC will broadcast an encore presentation of the NPGL Final on October 5 at 1 p.m. ET. Leading up to the Final, NBCSN will telecast the National Pro Grid League Quarterfinals, September 23-24 from Charlotte, N.C. and the NPGL Semifinals, September 30-October 1 from Las Vegas, Nev. All races shown on NBC and NBCSN will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets.

Featuring some of the premiere functional fitness stars in the United States, including Annie Thorisdottir, Kenny Leverich, Lindsey Valenzuela, and Marcus Hendren, the National Pro Grid League is a collection of eight co-ed teams (five men and five women, one of each 40 years of age or older) who compete in head-to-head timed fitness competitions throughout a season. Teams include the Boston Iron, Los Angeles Reign, Miami Surge, New York Rhinos, Philadelphia Founders, Phoenix Rise, San Francisco Fire, and Washington D.C. Brawlers.

During each telecast, viewers will be provided a front-row seat as teams go head-to-head across 11 different races. Each race is slightly different, incorporating a variety of weightlifting and bodyweight challenges such as, deadlifts, cleans and snatches, pull-ups, handstand push-ups, and sprinting. In addition, the all-access experience will chronicle the stories of many of the amazing athletes competing in the races.

 …You Herd Me, a daily show featuring the best segments from Colin Cowherd’s ESPN Radio broadcast, will debut Monday, July 14, at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The fast-paced 30-minute production will be highlighted by Cowherd’s unique opinions and personality.  He will introduce the segments from that day’s radio show and at times provide additional context.

During football season, the show will feature the best moments from Colin’s Football Show including “Cage Confessionals,” interviews with top names in sports and entertainment.

The ESPN2 lineup features the early morning Mike & Mike, First Take, Numbers Never Lie, SportsNation, Highly Questionable, and the late-night Olbermann.

…Volar Video, the Kentucky-based company that runs youth sports destination, has partnered with Sporting News Media to create Team 1 Sports, a new online portal for all forms of amateur sports.

The new digital network, at, builds upon the existing streaming infrastructure, audience and content of to allow various amateur sports organizations to stream their events.

Sporting News Media will run advertising sales for the venture, and with Volar Video has created a revenue-sharing structure for participating groups.

The portal will be free to both participating sports organizations and viewers of the network. The website is set to debut this week.

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