There’s been a flurry of news in the sports TV/radio business of late. Here’s some quick hitters on what’s going on:
Cosmos are back: I was a kid when the New York Cosmos became the rage of American soccer. I saw Pele’s first game as a Cosmo, on Randall’s Island, and attended a number of matches at Giants Stadium and even Yankee Stadium. Well, the Cosmos and North American Soccer League are back, albeit as a lower-tiered league than the predominant Major League Soccer. The Cosmos have signed a deal for their seven home matches, at Hofstra University, to be televised by SportsNet New York (SNY), starting with Saturday’s 7 p.m. match with Fort Lauderdale. J.P. Dellacamera, one of my favorite soccer announcers, and Janusz Michallik will have the call. The other SNY telecasts: Aug. 24 vs. San Antonio, 7 p.m.; Sept. 8, vs. Atlanta, 8 p.m. (tape delay); Sept. 15, vs. Minnesota, 8 p.m. (TD); Sept. 29, vs. Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. (TD); Oct. 12, vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.; Oct. 20, vs. Edmonton, 8 p.m.
Little League on TV: The ESPN Networks will televise 75 Little League games this month, starting with this weekend’s regional tournament action for major baseball. Most of the regional action can be seen on the ESPN3 website, with the finals of each region on ESPN or ESPN2. The Little League baseball World Series will be shown in its entirety on ESPN or ESPN2 starting Aug. 15.
Must-see NBA TV: The NBA will release its schedule, and its national TV schedule, on a special telecast on NBA TV on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Word has it that the Knicks and Nets may be hosting Christmas games, likely to be aired on ABC and ESPN.
Two weeks until Fox Sports 1 debuts on August 17: Really, what more needs to be said? Well, except for the fact that FS1 is seeking a better home on most cable systems – somewhere in the ESPN tier – once Speed Channel becomes FS1. By the way, there is still talk that Fuel TV will soon become Fox Sports 2.
Early pre-game: CBS Sports Network will air a four-hour NFL pregame show on Sundays, called “The Other pregame Show.’’ The 9 a.m. show will utilize CBS talent, and the final hour may focus on fantasy football while CBS airs “The NFL Today.’’ It is expected CBS Sports Network will also carry additional U.S. Open Tennis coverage, though no announcements have been made.
Breakfast on the Pitch: NBC Sports has released its schedule for the first three months of the English Premier League. In general, NBC Sports Network will air matches at 7:45 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturdays and NBC will air a number of 12:30 p.m. matches. On Sundays, there are generally 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. doubleheaders on NBCSN. Monday Night Futbol, in London, that is, means 3 p.m. afternoon matches on NBCSN. There will be some Spanish-language telecasts on mun2 and Telemundo.
College football has a weeknight home: Remember when there was such outrage when ESPN decided to air Friday night college football games, and the gatekeepers of high school football said it was going to spell the end to their tradition? Well, both entities are doing just fine. ESPN has released a schedule of 69 games to be played on weeknights, including 25 on Friday nights, 31 on Thursday nights and 13 on assorted Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Vroom, vroom: NBC made headlines by signing away the second half of the NASCAR TV package from ESPN and Turner Sports starting in 2015. Later inside reports said ESPN and Turner didn’t put up a big fight because of declining ratings, but that talk may be nothing more than spoils. Fox Sports had re-upped for the first half of the Sprint Cup season last October; last week, Fox extended its deal by two years, to 2024, and picked up the three races that NBC did not sign up.
No Olympic surprise: The early Olympic TV hosting assignments have been passed out by NBC. Al Michaels will serve as weekday daytime host on NBCSN and afternoon host on NBC’s weekend action. Famed short-track speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno will sere as an analyst for his sport, plus handle some other reporting duties. Though not announced yet, you can be sure Bob Costas will be the prime-time host on NBC, and don’t be surprised if Dan Patrick and Mary Carillo reprise hosting roles.
College hockey: The ECAC Hockey League will have its semifinals and finals televised once again by Fox College Sports. The National Collegiate Hockey Conference will have Friday night games aired on CBS Sports Network. Still waiting to hear from NBC Sports Network regarding its package, which includes Hockey East, Notre Dame home games and assorted other contests. Atlantic Hockey is sticking with its current web streaming service.