The NBC Sports Group is set to start another season of its “Summer at Saratoga” series today. NBC Sports Network will have the Jim Dandy Stakes and the Diana Handicap starting at 5 p.m.
Rob Hyland, who will produce most of broadcasts during the next six weeks, is looking forward to the third year of the series.
“We’re really excited about this year,” Hyland said. “It’s the 150th year of racing at Saratoga, which will be a centerpiece of a lot of the telecasts, and the celebration of the 150 years. In terms of how we’re presenting it, it’s going to be similar to how we do all of our horse racing across NBC and NBC Sports Network.”
But there is one big change that has Hyland excited.
“NBC has nine of its own cameras that are all high definition,” Hyland said. “This year, NYRA has now gone HD, as well. So, we will have not only the resources of our own camera compliment, but also the cameras that NYRA has at Saratoga. I think they have six robotic cameras and a number of other cameras that we will have access to. We really will have a full and
robust coverage from Saratoga while we’re there for all the races.”
Hyland believes this will enhance the coverage.
“Our primary goal is to showcase the venue and showcase the racing,” Hyland said. “To have additional angles that can help in replay, to help out of a commercial to help sell a beautiful shot, it helps a lot.”
Hyland is missing today’s race because his wife, Michelle, is set to give birth to the couple’s second child. Hyland’s father-in-law is Michael Matz, who trained Barbaro.
After today’s broadcast, the remainder of the schedule will have the Whitney Invitational Handicap on NBC13 (WNYT) next Saturday at 5. On Aug. 10 at 5, the Fourstardave Handicap will be on NBC13.
On Aug. 11, NBCSN has the Adirondack and Saratoga Special at 5. The Aug. 17 broadcast on NBCSN is the Alabama Stakes and Sword Dancer Invitational at 5.
The big broadcast is Aug. 24, when NBC televises the Travers Stakes and King’s Bishop at 4:30. The Travers Stakes could see the three winners of this year’s Triple Crown races — Orb (Kentucky Derby), Oxbow (Preakness Stakes) and Palace Malice (Belmont Stakes).
The series concludes Aug. 31 on NBCSN with the Bernard Baruch Handicap, the Forego Stakes and the Woodward Stakes. Coverage starts at 4.
ECAC Finals on FCS
The ECAC Hockey tournament final four will be back with FOX College Sports this season in Lake Placid.
The league announced the deal Thursday. FCS televised last season’s semifinals and championship game from Atlantic City, and will do so again this season when the tournament moves back to Lake Placid for the first time since 2002.
“We are thrilled to once again partner with FOX College Sports as our men’s championship returns to Lake Placid,” ECACH commissioner Steve Hagwell said in a statement. “The league is committed to showcasing its marquee event. This partnership gives us an opportunity to bring our league and member institutions to a wider audience.”
The semifinals March 21 will be at 4 and 7:30 p.m. The March 22 final is at 7:30 p.m.
NASCAR back at NBC
NASCAR is driving back to the NBC Sports Group.
The two sides announced a deal Tuesday that will put the stock car series on NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network starting in 2015 and running through 2024. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The deal gives NBC Sports Group the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional and Touring Series events and other live content.
NBC’s 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes becoming the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s final 10 races of the season, including its season-ending championship event which will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. NBC will have seven NASCAR races, with the other 13 on NBCSN. Four Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.
NBC Sports televised the second half of the NASCAR schedule from 2001-06, while FOX Sports had the first half. The new deal marks the return to those days of just two networks televising NASCAR. TNT aired a few races before ESPN/ABC carried the remaining races.
With the new deal, ESPN and TNT will be off the track.
“When NBC was involved with NASCAR from 2001 to 2006, it was a very good experience for NBC, the rich history of NASCAR,” NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said on Tuesday’s conference call. “We think that the stakeholders at NASCAR, led by Brian [France, NASCAR chairman and CEO], as well as the teams, the owners, the tracks, the drivers, will all welcome us back with open arms based on previous history and experience with us, and we couldn’t be happier to have NASCAR back as a tent pole property for NBC and NBC Sports Network.
“Over the past 2 1⁄2 years, we have set forth, since Comcast bought NBC, to renew and acquire properties. We’ve done a significant amount of deals in that time period, but this is one that we’ve really been focused on, one that we have wanted to have the opportunity to be able to sit at the table when contractual opportunities came due, and the fact that we are going to be working with all of those NASCAR constituencies to build content for NBC, NBC Sports Network, our
regional sports networks, the quantity of content that this deal provides and the quality of content that this provides is really a game changer for us for our entire group, and we can’t wait to get started.”
In addition to rights to NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series races, NBC also
obtains exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for NBC’s national series events during their portion of the season, as well as rights to broadcast the NASCAR K&N Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NASCAR’s season-ending banquets. Further, NBC has been granted Spanish-language rights, certain video-on-demand rights and exclusive TV Everywhere rights for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events.
FOX SPORTS 1 NEWS
FOX Sports was busting with talent announcements.
It started Monday with its college football announcing teams for this season. FOX Sports 1 will go head-to-head with ESPN’s “College GameDay” with “FOX College Saturday.” Erin Andrews will host the program that will air from 10 a.m. to noon and debut Aug. 31. Joining
Andrews will be former college football players Eddie George, Joel Klatt and Petros Papadakis, rules analyst Mike Pereira and FOXSports.com writer Clay Travis.
The announcers, listed in order of play-by-play, analyst and sideline reporter, are as follows:
FOX Sports: Gus Johnson/Charles Davis/Kristina Pink.
FOX Sports 1 Thursday night: Justin Kutcher/Joel Klatt and Petros Papadakis/Kristina Pink.
FOX Sports 1: Craig Bolerjack/Joey Harrington/Ryan Nece; Justin Kutcher/James Bates/Brady Poppinga; Adam Alexander/Chris Simms.
On Thursday, it announced more hirings for its flagship show “FOX Sports Live.”
Charissa Thompson will return to FOX Sports to host the show’s opinion and analysis segments. She spent the last two years at ESPN, where she hosted or co-hosted “Numbers Never Lie,” “ESPN First Take” and “SportsNation.” Previously with FOX, Thompson worked as sideline reporter on FOX’s NFL coverage, co-hosted
“The Best Damn Sports Show Period,” covered the 2007 MLB All-Star Red Carpet Parade and appeared on “The Baseball Report” on FOX Sports Net.
Also joining “FOX Sports Live” are former NFL players Donovan McNabb and Ephraim Salaam, and former NBA star Gary Payton.
British Open ratings
Phil Mickelson’s victory in the British Open was popular with the TV audience.
ESPN’s final-round coverage of Sunday’s British Open earned a 3.1 overnight rating, according to Nielsen. The telecast, which averaged 4,372,000 viewers, tied the ratings record set in last year’s final round for the highest-rated cable telecast of the event and set a cable viewership record for the event, eclipsing last year’s mark of 4,227,000.