Seen on Screen: NBC Sports, Telemundo Deportes Tag Team Premier League’s Return; ESPN Gears Up for Le Mans Virtual, The Basketball Tournament
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 kicks off live coverage of the Premier League’s return to action with a pair of matches on Wednesday, June 17 – the first of 36 days of live games in a 40-day stretch to conclude the 2019-20 season.
Peacock – NBCUniversal’s new streaming service – will also mark the debut of live sports on the platform with the Premier League’s return. Beginning Saturday, June 20 at 2:45 p.m. ET, with Crystal Palace, aiming to move into the top half of the table, visiting a Bournemouth side looking to avoid relegation, Peacock will stream all live matches currently available via NBC Sports Gold’s “Premier League Pass,” including seven games in the first three match weeks (schedule below). Premier League matches are included with Peacock Premium, which is currently available to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers across the country. Peacock will launch nationally with free and premium tiers across mobile, web and connected TV devices on July 15.
In the first match of the resumed 2019-2020 Premier League season, Aston Villa, in 19th place and looking to avoid relegation, host seventh-place surprise Sheffield United, at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Then at 3:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN and Universo, second-place Manchester City host ninth-place Arsenal.
Premier League games on NBC and NBCSN will be streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs. Coverage will be streamed via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value for their subscription service, and making high-quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire…
…Telemundo Deportes presents the return of Premier League’s 2019-20 season starting Wednesday, June 17 with Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United at 12:55 p.m. ET on the Telemundo Deportes app, followed by second-place Manchester City hosting Arsenal live at 3:15 p.m. ET on Universo and the Telemundo Deportes App.
Exclusive, live Spanish-language coverage will continue to air across Telemundo, Universo, and the Telemundo Deportes app featuring 36 days of live action in a 40-day stretch. PL is the third major club league to resume its season since COVID-19 shutdown.
Following Wednesday’s kick off, Telemundo Deportes will present six additional matchups in the first full round weekend, starting Friday, June 19 at 3:15 p.m. ET when Tottenham host Manchester United live on Universo. On Saturday, Brighton Hove Albion faces Arsenal live on Universo at 10 a.m. ET followed by Telemundo’s first broadcast West Ham vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers at 12:30 p.m. ET featuring Mexican Wolves’ star Raul Jimenez.
On Sunday, Telemundo presents a doubleheader starting at 11:15 a.m. ET when fourth-place Chelsea visit Aston Villa. This could be U.S. Men’s National Team star Christian Pulisic’s possible first appearance for Chelsea since New Year’s Day, after recovering from a thigh injury. Action will be followed by the Merseyside Derby Liverpool vs. Everton at 2 p.m. ET as first-place Liverpool continue their run to their first championship in England’s top flight in 30 years, with just three points away from clinching the PL title.
The network’s soccer experts return to provide play-by-play commentary led by Andrés Cantor, Sammy Sadovnik, Copán Álvarez, Eduardo Biscayart, Carlos Hermosillo, and Manuel Sol. The commentators will also contribute to the pre and post analysis alongside Miguel Gurwitz…
…A host of major broadcasters including ESPN in the USA and Eurosport pan Europe and pan Asia will televise the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, bringing the exhilarating combined world of motorsport and esports to a potential 400 million plus homes across the globe.
A special TV show covering this unique event this will be produced live from Paris and will include an expert commentary team made up of nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen and the 2013 FIA World Endurance Champion, Allan McNish. Also commentating on the virtual race will be endurance experts Martin Haven and Ben Constanduros plus pitlane reporter Hayley Edmonds
With a quarter of the current F1 drivers plus renowned US-based teams such as Penske Motorsport as well as former IMSA and IndyCar Champions Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya set to compete at #LeMans24Virtual, ESPN will broadcast 12 hours of the race live on ESPN2, reaching millions of homes. American residents will also be able watch the full race live via the ESPN app and ESPN.com. Meanwhile, Discovery Velocity will air the whole race live in Canada plus REV – a 24/7 motorsports network – which will also follow the action live. South American stars Rubens Barrichello, Tony Kanaan, and Pietro Fittipaldi, most of whom are domiciled in the USA, bring added interest to viewers across the world…
…ESPN and The Basketball Tournament (TBT) have reached a new, multi-year, multi-platform rights extension. TBT is the single-elimination tournament featuring top professional, college alumni, and international basketball players competing for a winner-take-all, one million-dollar prize, with each game concluding with an Elam Ending. ESPN has presented TBT games annually since the event’s inception in 2014.
Due to the extenuating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will be unique – a 24-team quarantined tournament held at a single location – Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Competition will take place over 10 days, July 4-14 with all 23 games available on an ESPN network.
The 2020 TBT will be also fanless with teams and staff arriving five days prior to competition for multiple rounds of COVID-19 testing. Once underway, a single positive test by a team member would result in the removal of the entire team.
TBT’s exposure on ESPN has grown every year since the event was founded in 2014. In 2019, a record 48 hours of TBT aired on ESPN networks with a combined audience of more than five million viewers and more than 600,000 people watching Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State Alumni) defeat the Golden Eagles Alumni (Marquette Alumni) in the most-watched Elam Ending in TBT history.
The highly-competitive tournament has attracted some of the best basketball players currently playing around the world. In 2019, 60 recent NBA players competed, and 23 teams were composed of alumni from Division I programs including Syracuse, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Kansas, UCLA, Dayton, Kentucky, Clemson, Memphis, Marquette, Arkansas and St. Mary’s.
TBT’s application period featured record demand in 2020, with over 120 teams applying, including several notable NBA players. Seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson will be competing with four-time champion Overseas Elite. Again this year, all games will feature the Elam Ending, the end of game format made famous during the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, which eliminates the game clock after a certain point and features teams playing to a Target Score.
The 24-team field, bracket, and game schedule with television designations will be announced in the coming days.