Sports Emmy Award Nominations: ESPN, Fox Sports Lead Networks; E:60 and Super Bowl LIV Top All Programs

The nominees for the 41st Annual Sports Emmy Awards were unveiled today, as ESPN and Fox Sports led the way with 58 and 48 nods, respectively. Meanwhile, ESPN’s E:60 (10) and Fox Sports’ Super Bowl LIV (seven) received the most nominations per program. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced earlier this month that the Sports Emmys ceremony, which had been scheduled for April 28 in New York City, would be postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. CLICK HERE for the full list of nominees.

Nominations were announced in 42 categories including Outstanding Live Sports Special, Live Sports Series and Playoff Coverage, as well as technical awards including the George Wensel Technical Achievement, Outstanding Technical Team Remote, and Outstanding Technical Team Studio categories. This year’s competition marks the debut of a new category for Outstanding Esports Coverage.

In addition, Lesley Visser will become the first woman to receive the Sports Lifetime Achievement Award at the 41st Annual Sports Emmy Awards.

The Breakdown: ESPN and Fox Lead the Way
ESPN and Fox Sports’ haul of nominations were followed by NBC Sports Group (24), CBS Sports (20), Turner Sports (17), HBO Sports (16), MLB Network (12), NFL Network (12), Netflix (six), Showtime Sports (four), and Univision and YouTube (three).

As for the nominations by program, E:60 and Super Bowl LIV are followed by 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, NFL on Fox, HBO’s 24/7, and ESPN’s SC Featured with five apiece and ESPN’s College GameDay, and HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel with four each. Three nods apiece went to The Masters (CBS Sports), MLB Tonight (MLB Network), NASCAR on FOX, NFL 360 (NFL Network), and NFL on CBS.

In terms of nominations by individual networks, Fox pulled in 39 nominations followed by ESPN (36), FS1 (23), CBS (19), NBC (18), HBO (16), MLB Network (12), NFL Network (12), TNT (12), NBCSN (11), ESPN Deportes (9), ABC (7), and Netflix (6).

Technical Categories: Fox Lands Three Wensel Award Nods
The prestigious George Wensel Technical Achievement Award category features three nominations for Fox Sports along with one apiece for ESPN, CBS Sports, and NBC Sports. The nominees are the C360 PylonCam-MarkerCam on ESPN Monday Night Football/ESPN College Football; Fox Sports’ UHD HDR production of Super Bowl LIV; CBS Sports’ “Every Shot, Every Hole” production at The Masters; two nominations for NASCAR on Fox for its use of Broadcast Analytics and a Virtual Set; and NBC’s use of Augmented Reality on the Tour de France.

The Outstanding Technical Team Remote category features nominations for the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship (ESPN), The Masters (CBS Sports), MLB on Fox (Fox/FS1), Sunday Night Baseball (ESPN), and Tour de France (NBC/NBCSN).

Outstanding Technical Team Studio nominations went to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 (Fox/FS1), 2019 NFL Draft (NFL Network), College GameDay (ESPN), Fox NFL Sunday at Super Bowl LIV (Fox), and MLB Tonight (MLB Network).

Live Sports Programs: Fox Leads Live Sports Special Category
Competing in Outstanding Live Sports Special will be the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final (Fox), 2019 Stanley Cup Final (NBC), the 61st Daytona 500 (Fox), the 115th World Series (Fox), the 145th Kentucky Derby (NBC), The Masters (CBS), and Super Bowl LIV (Fox)

The Outstanding Live Sports Series competition will be a football-only affair between ESPN/ABC College Football, NFL on CBS, NFL on Fox, SEC on CBS, and NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

In terms of Outstanding Playoff Coverage, the 2019 College Football Playoff Semifinal (Clemson Tigers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes) on ESPN, 2019 NBA Playoffs on TNT, AFC Playoffs on CBS, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on TBS/CBS/TNT/truTV, and the NFC Wild Card (Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints) on Fox will be in the running.

Studio Shows: NFL Shows Lead Weekly, ESPN Rules Daily Category
NFL programming dominated the Outstanding Studio Show – Weekly category with College GameDay (ESPN), Football Night in America (NBC), Fox NFL Sunday, Fox NFL Thursday taking four of the five spots — joined by Inside the NBA (TNT)

ESPN snagged three of the six Daily Studio Show nominations with Outside the Lines, Pardon The Interruption, and SportsCenter. Also nominated were The Dan Patrick Show (B/R Live/DirecTV/NBCSN), MLB Tonight (MLB Network), and NHL Live (NBC/NBCSN).

Nominations were dolled out in the Outstanding Studio Show – Limited Run category to Fox’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, TNT’s Inside the NBA: 2019 NBA Playoffs, MLB on Fox: The Postseason, NFL Network/NFL Films’ NFL 100 All-Time Team, and TBS/CBS/TNT/truTV’s Road to the Final Four.

Esports Joins the Sports Emmy Party
This year’s competition marks the debut of a new category for Outstanding Esports Coverage with the 2019 ELEAGUE on TBS, Road To The Rocket League World Championship, 2019 Fortnite World Cup Finals on YouTube (Epic Games/NGE/Victory Pictures), EXP APEX Legends Pro Am on ABC/ESPN (ADVNCR), EXP Invitational Apex Legends at the X Games on ESPN2 (So-Hi Media), FIFA eWORLD Cup Grand Final 19 London on FS2 (FIFA TV), and the League of Legends World Final on YouTube (Riot Games) competing.

NASCAR, NFL Headline Audio Categories
As usual, NASCAR and NFL properties dominated the audio categories this year. Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound nominations went to MLB on Fox, NASCAR on Fox, NASCAR on NBC NFL on CBS, and NFL on Fox.

Meanwhile Post-Produced Audio/Sound nods went to Radioactive: The Championship Race on FS1 (NASCAR Productions), Road To The Super Bowl on Fox (NFL Films), Super Bowl LIV Next 100 on Fox (72andSunny/LIME Studios), That Other Pregame Show – Fantasy Man on CBS/CBS Sports Network, and Zero Gravity on Red Bull TV (Red Bull Media House).

Graphic Design Categories New and Revamped Looks 
The Outstanding Live Graphic Design Category saw nominations for the 2019 NBA All-Star on TNT, ACC Network, NFL on ESPN, NHL on NBC, and the SEC Network.

As for Outstanding Post-Produced Graphic Design, Inside College Football – CFB 150 Animated on CBS Sports Network, Losers on Netflix (Topic Studios), MLB Now’s B=ASe+BA(L)2 on MLB Network, NFL on ESPN, NFL on FOX, and The NFL Today each earned nominations.

Fox dominated the Outstanding Studio or Production Design/Art Direction with nods for Fox NFL Sunday (Super Bowl LIV: Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag”), NASCAR Race Hub on FS1, NFL on Fox (NFL100), Super Bowl LIV (Next 100) on Fox (72andSunny/Prettybird) to go along with CBS Sports’ nomination for That Other Pregame Show (Fantasy Man).

The Multiplatform Scene: Trans-Media, Digital, and Social Categories 
Beyond the linear TV side of things, The Outstanding Trans-Media Sports Coverage category saw nods for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (Fox/FS1/, 2019 NCAA March Madness ( Sports), 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Megacast (multiple ESPN platforms), NFL 100 Greatest & All-Time Team (NFL Network), and NBC/NBCSN’s Premier League coverage.

MLB Network was recognized for Outstanding Digital Innovation for both the MLB Sporty Bot and MLB Tonight’s Postseason P.O.V, while nods also went to Red Bull TV’s virtual production for Red Bull Rampage, YouTube/RYOT’s VR/360Video Wingsuit BASE Jump for Tales from the Edge:Jeb Corliess, and Fox Sports for its Watch Parties.

Outstanding Social TV Experience nominations went to #SandlotToTheShow (MLB Network), 2019 NBA Twitter Live (Twitter/Turner Sports), Always Late w/ Katie Nolan (ESPN2/ESPN+/Facebook), Inside the NBA on TNT, and NBA Desktop (The Ringer).

ESPN Deportes Rules Spanish Language Categories
ESPN Deportes garnered the most nominations in the Spanish Language programming categories with nine, followed by Univision/TUDN with three and Telemundo with two.

The Outstanding Studio Show in Spanish category features A Los Golpes (ESPN Deportes), Futbol Central (Univision/TUDN), Hoy en la Copa Mundial Femenina de la FIFA (Telemundo), Mision Europa (UniMas/TUDN), and SportsCenter Deportes (ESPN Deportes).

ESPN Deportes pulled in four Outstanding Features Stories in Spanish nominations for are Destino Confidencial (Campeonas), The ESPN Bucket List (Boca vs. River), Reportajes Especiales (El Síndrome del Jamaicón), and SC Reportajes (Los Leones de la Habana) to go with Golf Channel’s Golf Central (Dylan Reales: El Loco del Palo).

Andres Cantor of Telemundo, José Ramón Fernández of ESPN Deportes, Ernesto Jerez of ESPN Deportes, Adriana Monsalve of Univision/TUDN, and Jorge Eduardo Sánchez of ESPN Deportes were acknowledged for Outstanding On-Air Personality in Spanish.

Sports Emmys Ceremony Postponed for Now
The ceremony was originally scheduled for April 28, 2020, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall and was postponed until later this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today we honor the talented professionals who through their work and creativity inform and entertain the passionate fanbase that makes up the sports universe,” said Adam Sharp, President & CEO, NATAS. “The diverse set of nominees is nothing short of inspiring.”

“We look forward to celebrating our community and the wide range of outstanding achievement across all facets of our industry,” said Justine Gubar, Executive Director, Sports Emmy Awards. “Despite the uncertainty, we are optimistic about holding the ceremony at a rescheduled date in the fall so that we can come together in good health and honor the absolute best in sports coverage as well as our groundbreaking Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Lesley Visser.”

CLICK HERE for the full list of nominees.

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