Some news, notes and other thoughts as I prepare to take a week off while singing the Go-Gos song “Vacation is all I ever wanted.
Vacation, had to get away.” My apologies to the Go-Gos for ruining their song.
- It has been a great couple of weeks for NBC Sports Group. Last week, it announced it had secured part of the NASCAR TV package starting in 2015.
This week, NBC Sports Group announced its plans for the first few months of its English Premier Soccer League coverage. Let me just say that if you are a soccer fan here in the Capital Region, you will be happy, for the most part.
The good news is that live coverage of all 130 matches begins two weeks from today. A total of 69 Premier League matches — at least five games each week in the season’s first three months — will be presented on NBC Sports Network, NBC and CNBC. The 61 remaining Premier League matches will be made available on Premier League Extra Time, a bonus television package available at no extra cost for customers who receive NBCSN.
In addition, 27 matches in the season’s first three months will be telecast in Spanish by Telemundo and mun2.
All Premier League games will be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets. Games airing on NBC Sports Network will be live streamed via “TV Everywhere.”
To date, AT&T U-verse, Cablevision’s Optimum, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, DirecTV, DISH, and Suddenlink have opted to carry the additional Premier League matches via the Premier League Extra Time package, and AT&T U-verse,
Cablevision’s Optimum, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DirecTV, DISH, Suddenlink and Verizon FiOS will make all Premier League games available through TV Everywhere. Additionally, over 100 NCTC partners have either signed-on to the Premier League Extra Time package or have opted-in via TV
Everywhere, including Blue Ridge Communications, Buckeye CableSystem, CenturyLink Prism, and RCN.
Notice what company is missing, Capital Region viewers? Yep, Time Warner Cable. And that’s what prevents me from saying this is a great deal for you soccer fans.
Why does it seem like Time Warner Cable is slow to add something like this? It was the last top-10 cable company in the country to add NFL Network.
To be fair, you can watch games that are on NBC Sports on NBC Sports Extra, but not the games on NBCSN. That stinks. I wish I could have watched many of the Stanley Cup playoff games that were on NBCSN on my computer.
Get a deal done, please.
- NASCAR and FOX Sports, which negotiated a new deal last October, announced a two-year extension to that agreement on Thursday.
The original deal, set to start in 2015, will now run through 2024. FOX Sports added exclusive rights to three additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and the first 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series events of each season. FOX secured exclusive rights to the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season through 2022 last fall, and that part of the agreement also has been extended through 2024.
FOX Sports will air nine Cup races, the other seven will air on the FOX Sports 1, which debuts two weeks from today.
With this extension and the deal with NBC Sports GroupNASCAR has everything aligned with its TV rights.
- The ESPN networks coverage of 75 Little League World Series regional games started Friday.
Unfortunately, if you want to see Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake play in pool-play games from the Mid-Atlantic regional in Bristol, Conn., you will have to travel there. None of the pool-play games are being picked up by the ESPN Networks.
The Mid-Atlantic semifinals will be on ESPN Friday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The title game will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 11 on ESPN2. Karl Ravech and Chris Burke will call the games.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, the New York State champions, opens play today against Lionville (Pa.).
- While on the subject of ESPN, it televised “The Top 50 “This is SportsCenter” commercials of all time Thursday night. Fans had a chance to vote on their favorites.
The easy winner should have been ESPN NFL insider John Clayton pulling off his suit after doing an update to letting his hair down and wearing a Slayer T-shirt, cranking up the stereo, plopping on his bed, picking up a box of Chinese food and then screaming, “MOM, I’M DONE WITH MY SEGMENT!”
Well, somehow, that didn’t win. It finished second.
The winner? New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and his various hand slaps. That isn’t one of the better ones. It wouldn’t even be in my top 50.
The voters didn’t do a good job.
- The NFL preseason starts Sunday night on NBC Sports with the annual Hall of Fame game. The Dallas Cowboys take on the Miami Dolphins at 8. The game will be on NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD.
Dial Global has radio coverage of the contest, and it will be on WOFX-AM (980).
- In more football news, ESPN announced Wednesday that its various channels will televise 69 weekday college football games this season.
The schedule starts Thursday, Aug. 29, with double-headers on ESPN and ESPNU. ESPN will have North Carolina at South Carolina at 6 p.m., and Mississippi at Vanderbilt at 9:15. The ESPNU games are Tulsa at Bowling Green (7) and Rutgers at Fresno State (10:30).
ESPN3 will have six games that night.
- Finally, today is a big horse racing day on TV.
CBS Sports Network has the Hambeltonian at 3 p.m. NBC13 carries the Whitney Invitational Handicap from Saratoga Race Course at 5. Also at that time, MSG Plus televises the West Virginia Derby. Then at 8, MSG Plus has the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes.