Seen on Screen: NBC Sports Joins Virtual Racing Circuit With IndyCar, Short Track iRacing Challenge; SEC Network’s Marty & McGee To Return April 4
Seen on Screen provides a roundup of the current sports programming landscape as networks deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In this week’s edition, major networks like NBC Sports, Fox Sports, and ESPN are combating the silence of no live sports with previously-released, taped, or archival content. Many networks have also continued producing live studio content – often with on-air talent located remotely.
NBC Sports presents the INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, a live, virtual racing event featuring a field of NTT INDYCAR SERIES drivers, this Saturday with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the virtual Barber Motorsports Park live at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The event will mark the inaugural INDYCAR iRacing event to appear on NBCSN.
More than two dozen INDYCAR drivers are expected to compete in this weekend’s INDYCAR iRacing Challenge, including five-time series champion Scott Dixon, two-time and reigning series champion Josef Newgarden, and 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud. Last Saturday, 2013 Indy Lights champion Sage Karam won the inaugural INDYCAR iRacing Challenge American Red Cross Grand Prix at the virtual Watkins Glen International.
NBC Sports’ lead INDYCAR broadcast team of Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), Paul Tracy (analyst), and Townsend Bell (analyst) will call the action…
…Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin headline a group of 18 drivers that will compete at virtual versions of iconic and short tracks across America next week on NBCSN, as NASCAR America presents the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challengebeginning Monday, April 6, at 7 p.m. ET.
From Monday-Wednesday, six different drivers will compete in two timed races in Cup Series cars at an iconic track at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. The top two finishers from each night will advance to the championship race at the virtual Martinsville Speedway on Thursday night on NBCSN.
- Monday – Rockingham Speedway
- Tuesday – Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis
- Wednesday – Myrtle Beach Speedway
- Thursday – Martinsville Speedway (Championship Race)
The following drivers will compete in the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge:
- Monday at Rockingham Speedway – Kyle Busch, William Byron, Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Tyler Reddick, and Bubba Wallace
- Tuesday at Lucas Oil Raceway – Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Harrison Burton, Denny Hamlin, and Kyle Larson
- Wednesday at Myrtle Beach Speedway – Landon Cassill, Matt DiBenedetto, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Timmy Hill, Ryan Preece, and Myatt Snider
NBC Sports NASCAR commentators Rick Allen and Steve Letartewill call the action, including interviews with drivers during the races. Jeff BurtonandMarty Snider will host the NBC eSports Short Track iRacing Challenge via Zoom…
…After a three-week hiatus, Marty & McGee will return to its weekly Saturday morning schedule on SEC Network with an audio-only format, beginning Saturday, April 4, at 7 a.m. ET. The show, which will now extend to three hours from 7-10 a.m., continued in the interim with its weekly ESPN Radio presence, and now becomes the second SEC Network programming offering to return to live TV with a new format.
SEC Network’s televised format of the show will feature a slate, showcasing the live audio from the ESPN Radio broadcast of the show. This format is also being utilized for The Paul Finebaum Show, which returned to TV this week.
SEC Network has also introduced a robust lineup of social and digital programming for SEC fans who are looking for current conversation surrounding the world of sports, including SEC For Now, No Offseason with Laura Rutledge, and SEC Game Night. Daily content is premiering on SEC Network’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as SECNetwork.com…
…NESN is leveraging social media for their broadcast presentations of archival content. For encore showings of past playoff runs from both the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox, the regional sports network will be hosting Twitter Takeovers, where tweets will be shown in the lower third of viewers’ television screens. For example, former Bruins player Chris Kelly will be with NESN on Saturday to answer fan questions during a showing of Game 4 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals, a game that clinched the series against the Philadelphia Flyers…
…CBS Sports will feature the final rounds of the 2004 and 2019 Masters Tournaments on Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12. These two classic tournaments featured historic victories from two of golf’s biggest names, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
CBS Sports’ broadcast coverage will also be available to stream live on the CBS All Access subscription service, with additional content throughout the week and weekend on the CBS Sports HQ streaming sports news network, CBSSports.com, and The First Cut podcast, as well as on CBS Sports social handles.
Masters.com and @TheMasters social media will feature complementary archival and never-before-seen content from the iconic final rounds. Fans are encouraged to follow along and share their viewing experience using #MastersRewind.
The schedule will be
Saturday, April 11
- THE MASTERS: 1975 (1:30-2:30 PM, ET)
- FINAL ROUND – 2004 MASTERS TOURNAMENT (2:30-6:00 PM, ET)
Sunday, April 12
- FINAL ROUND – 2019 MASTERS TOURNAMENT (12:30-6:00 PM, ET)…
…The Masters content continues on ESPN, where the network will salute the Masters Tournament with encore presentations of the final rounds of two of Tiger Woods’ five wins, Jack Nicklaus’ stunning victory in 1986 and other classic editions of the iconic event at Augusta National Golf Club over three days beginning Wednesday, April 8.
Viewers will be able to watch Woods’ wins in the 1997 and 2005 Masters, with the final round of the 1997 event, his first Masters win, airing in prime time at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 9. The final round of his win in the 2005 Masters will air at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 10.
In 1986, Nicklaus shocked the golf world with his come-from-behind win, scoring his record-setting sixth Masters title as well as his 18th and final major championship. The final round airs Wednesday, April 8, at 3 p.m. On that same day, ESPN will open the salute at 1 p.m. with highlights from the 2018 Masters Par 3 Contest, an event highlighted by Nicklaus’ grandson (and caddie) G.T. Nicklaus scoring a hole-in-one as his proud grandfather watched. The Par 3 Contest re-airs at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.
Also featured will be the final round from 2012, when Bubba Watson won the first of his two Masters green jackets, airing on Thursday at 2 p.m. Watson beat Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff with an incredible shot off the pine straw on the 10th to set up his winning putt.
The final round of the 2013 Masters, won by Adam Scott over Angel Cabrera in a playoff, airs Friday at 12:15 p.m. It remains the popular Australian’s only Masters win.
The airdates for the Masters salute coincide with the dates ESPN would have been televising the Masters Par 3 Contest and the first two rounds of this year’s event before it was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak…
…GOLF Channel will get in on the Masters content as well, featuring an immersive programming experience to celebrate one of sports’ most special weeks and the indelible moments that have transpired through the years at Augusta National Golf Club. Kicking off this weekend with encore airings of the 2019 Augusta National Women’s Amateur (Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, NBC) and 2019 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals (Sunday, 8 a.m. ET, GOLF Channel), coverage will continue all next week on GOLF Channel, chronicling the timeless narratives that cemented the careers of revered Masters champions.
Celebrating The Masters Airing Throughout The Week
Premiering at 8 p.m. ET on both Monday and Tuesday, Celebrating The Mastersreflects on what makes The Masters so special through a collection of past critically-acclaimed GOLF Films Shorts produced for Golf Central Live From The Masters. Additionally, Celebrating The Masters will complement the encore final round Masters telecasts airing on ESPN and CBS from Wednesday through Saturday with corresponding Masters champion-winning press conferences.
Celebrating The Masters, Monday, 8 p.m. ET – GOLF Films Shorts include:
- A look at Augusta National’s par-4 18th hole, and its long list of unforgettable moments
- Trying to put a price on Tiger Woods’ putter that’s been in the bag for 14 major titles
- Rory McIlroy’s pursuit of the career grand slam at The Masters
- Reflecting on the 1979 Masters, and Ed Sneed’s moment of heartbreak
- Shane Caldwell’s emotional meeting with Tiger Woods at The Masters
- The Masters’ green jacket: sports’ most unique prize
- A stroll down Magnolia Lane through the eyes of Masters participants
Celebrating The Masters, Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET – GOLF Films Shorts include:
- The forgotten details of what made the 1975 Masters so magnificent
- The underrated story of sportsmanship from Bob Goalby’s victory at the 1968 Masters
- An examination of the historical significance of Augusta National’s “Crow’s Nest”
- Bryson DeChambeau’s encounter with fate and good fortune
- The immense impact of Tiger Woods’ first Masters win in 1997
- An improbable comeback: reflections of Woods’ fifth Masters title in 2019
Golf Central Live From The Masters Relives Tiger Woods’ Improbable 2019 Victory
Next Saturday-Sunday, GOLF Channel will re-air its signature Golf Central Live From The Masters wraparound news show to relive Tiger Woods’ improbable 2019 Masters victory. Coverage will begin with an encore airing of Golf Central Live From The Masters recapping the 2019 third round on Saturday night (7 p.m. ET). Last year’s Golf Central Live From The Masters final round pre-game show will re-air at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday leading into final round encore coverage on CBS, and at 6 p.m. ET, GOLF Channel will air an encore of Golf Central Live From The Masters post-round show that aired following Woods’ historic victory last April.
Augusta National Women’s Amateur, Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals This Weekend
Airing Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC will be the encore broadcast of last year’s inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. A monumental day in golf and the overall sports landscape, Jennifer Kupcho captured the first edition of the event while battling Maria Fassi in the final pairing. GOLF Channel also will air the final day Saturday at 9 p.m. ET and again on Monday at 11 a.m. ET.
GOLF Channel also will televise both the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals from Augusta National Golf Club. The 2018 competition will air at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, while the 2019 National Finals will air Sunday at 8 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET. During the 8 a.m. ET re-air of the 2019 National Finals, GOLF Channel will celebrate the 2020 National Finalists with several dedicated features that will post on the network’s social media handles (@GolfChannel on Twitter and Facebook). The 2020 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals is rescheduled for Sunday, April 4, 2021. All participants scheduled to compete in the 2020 event will compete in 2021.
Additionally next week, GOLF Channel will televise each of the past five editions of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, beginning at 7 a.m. ET Tuesday-Saturday (2015 – Tuesday; 2016 – Wednesday; 2017 – Thursday; 2018 – Friday; 2019 – Saturday).
Masters Highlights and GOLF Films Airing All Week on GOLF Channel
Kicking off with Arnold Palmer on Monday, GOLF Channel will air several hours of Masters highlights throughout the week, in addition to its GOLF Films featuring Masters champions, including Arnie, Jack, and Hogan. Masters highlights will feature a list of champions that include: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Billy Casper, Larry Mize, Seve Ballesteros, and Bob Goalby.
Feherty Celebrates The Masters with Archive of Episodes Featuring Masters Champions
Emmy-nominated GOLF Channel original series Fehertywill commemorate Masters week by airing a collection of episodes from the series’ archive featuring Masters champions. Airing Wednesday-Friday on GOLF Channel, episodes will feature Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, Fred Couples, Raymond Floyd, Bernhard Langer, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson, Mark O’Meara, Fuzzy Zoeller, Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, and Jackie Burke Jr…
…To celebrate the NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four, ESPN will air a total of nine matchups from years past on ESPN and ESPNU on Friday, April 3, and Sunday, April 5. On Friday—when this year’s Women’s Final Four was set to begin—seven previous semifinal matches will air on ESPNU beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The slate culminates on Sunday with the 2006 and 2018 championships airing in primetime on ESPN. Maryland’s victory over Duke in overtime will air at 7 p.m., followed by the Notre Dame’s buzzer-beater to take down Mississippi State at 9 p.m.
Semifinals on the schedule include:
- Louisville vs. Mississippi State (2018)
- LSU vs. Tennessee (2008)
- UConn vs. Notre Dame (2012)
- Texas A&M vs. Stanford (2011)
- Notre Dame vs. UConn (2018)
- Mississippi State vs. UConn (2017)
- Notre Dame vs. South Carolina (2015)…
…Beginning April 6, NBC Sports will present Racing Week in America on NBCSN, providing racing fans with a chance to relive the most thrilling motorsports moments from the past two decades on NBC and NBCSN.
Featuring races from NASCAR, INDYCAR, IMSA, Supercross and other series, Racing Week in America will have a specific theme for each day, starting with “Mayhem Monday” on April 6. NBC Sports will air 12 hours of motorsports coverage (1 p.m.-3 a.m. ET) Monday-Thursday and seven hours (8 p.m.-3 a.m. ET) on Friday-Saturday. Sunday’s coverage airs 2-4 p.m. ET and 10:30 p.m.-3 a.m. ET. Below is each day’s highlighted content throughout the week:
- Monday, April 6: “Mayhem Monday”
- Tuesday, April 7: “Twists and Turns Tuesday”
- Wednesday, April 8: “WednesDale”
- Thursday, April 9: “Best at the Brickyard”
- Friday, April 10: “Daytona Speed Day”
- Saturday, April 11: “Championship Saturday”
- Sunday, April 12: “Sunday Funday”
Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app…
…ESPN’sWednesday night Best of the NBA presented by State Farm series debuts tonight at 7 p.m. ET with a historic NBA doubleheader. The night begins with Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals, where the Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, defeated the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, starring Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, forcing another game in the series. In Game 5, James and Irving became the first teammates in NBA Finals history to each score over 40 points. At 9:30 p.m., ESPN will re-air Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, where the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors for the third straight game, bringing Cleveland its first NBA title and becoming the first team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals.
Prior to the games, NBA Champion and analyst Richard Jefferson, who was a member of the 2015-16 Cavaliers team, will reflect on Games 5 and 7 with digital commentator Omar Raja beginning at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN’s Twitter…
…NBC Sports presents nine hours of live racing coverage this week as NBCSN simulcasts TVG’s Trackside Live from 4-7 p.m. ET, starting Friday, April 3 and continuing through Sunday, April 5.
Anchored by several TVG on-air Talent who cover racing every day, TVG’s Trackside Live provides fans with live horse racing from various tracks across the country. Live coverage will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.
The schedule will be:
- Fri., Apr. 3 TVG’s Trackside Live 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Sat., Apr. 4 TVG’s Trackside Live 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Sun., Apr. 5 TVG’s Trackside Live 4 p.m. – 7 p.m…