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NFL Network

Jeff Van Gundy Says He Was Wrong About The Heat

After LeBron James and Chris Bosh arrived in Miami, ABC/ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy was the first to hop on the bandwagon, predicting more than 72 wins for the Heat and a chance at topping the Lakers’ 33-game winning streak.

“They will break the single-season win record [of 72]. And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers’ 33-game [winning] streak [in 1971-72], as well. And only the Lakers have even a remote shot at beating them in a playoff series. They will never lose two games in a row this year. They have put together a much better roster than anybody could ever have expected. There is now no good way to defend them. They are unguardable. They are indefensible. They are just too good and have added so much shooting and are so versatile that they will score at will.” Read more

MLB Bringing Silver Slugger Awards to TV

Major League Baseball is taking its annual Silver Slugger Awards to the television set. MLB Network will air the 2010 Silver Slugger Award announcement show live Thursday, November 11, starting at 6 PM ET.

The event is part of the network’s off-season original programming push, which is seeking to give baseball fans a stockpile of original content to enjoy in the gap between the end of the World Series, and when pitchers and catchers report next Spring.

The league has been leveraging MLB Network, presenting awards and events like the MLB draft in a way that haven’t been presented in years prior. Adding the Silver Sluggers to that list makes sense. Hardcore baseball fans will find it must-see TV, while the event aspect broadens the appeal.

Also on tap for the coming months are new episodes of MLB Network series’ “Prime 9″ and “MLB Network Countdown,” as well as original documentaries.

More information, after the jump.

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Despite Losing SNF Battle, World Series Ratings Grow

Is Major League Baseball worried about losing a head-to-head matchup with NBC’s Sunday Night Football last night?

Not according to their press release about the numbers from Game 4.

According to the league, World Series numbers are continuing to grow despite “facing the toughest television competition of any major sports championship.”

15.54 million viewers tuned in to see the Rangers-Giants game on Halloween night, the highest total for the World Series to date. Read more

Run Marathons. Just Don't Get Hurt

The New York Times – gearing up for the New York City Marathon with On The Run (Look! Old guys running marathons!) – takes a look at runnings who can’t get insurance.


Well, apparently health insurance companies like runners because they are fit. They don’t, however, want to insure marathoners because they get hurt. Like all the time.

Another study published in 2008 in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that 28 percent of 694 male runners polled sustained a lower-extremity injury while running in a marathon or in the month before it.

As a result, runners get lumped into the same category as overweight people of the same age who are greater risks for more serious (read: costly) health problems. Ridiculous but true.

I just ran five miles. As a blogger, I have free time on my hands. Let’s stop talking about concussions and discuss the fact that I can’t get cheaper health insurance.

NBC News, NFL Exploring 'The Science of NFL Football'

NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, and the National Science Foundation are partnering with the NFL on a 10-part video series “The Science of NFL Football.” Designed to be used by teachers and educators, the video series will be available to the public at and

The series is timed to the start of the new school year, as well as, of course, the new NFL season.

“The Science of NFL Football” is the second video series to come out of a partnership between NBC News and the NSF. During the Winter Olympics in Vancouver they produced “The Science of the Olympic Winter Games.”

The series is very similar to the Emmy-winning series “Sport Science” on ESPN. Both use high speed cameras, professional athletes and scientists to demonstrate how science and sports intersect.

In the case of the NFL series, episodes will focus on topics such as “vectors,” “nutrition, hydration and health” and “projectile motion and parabolas.”

“As children go back to school and the country gets back to football, we are pleased to partner with NBC and NSF to bring our fans a new way to understand the game they love,” said Tracy Perlman, NFL Vice President of Entertainment Marketing and Promotions in a statement.

The full list of athletes participating in the series is after the jump.

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'FarmVille Meets Fantasy Sports:' CBS Takes Fantasy Football to Facebook has long had its own fantasy football league, but now the company is expanding its fantasy presence to a new platform: Facebook.

The network is launching “Franchise Football,” a new variation of fantasy football, which will be available exclusively on the social networking site. Calling it “FarmVille meets Fantasy Sports,” the game will have users selecting real players who will play statistically accurate simulated games. Users can earn virtual cash or “reputation points” depending on how their virtual team plays.

“Fantasy sports is really one of the original social networks so it’s a natural for to extend these games into the world of social media,” said Jason Kint, Senior Vice President and General Manager, “Franchise Football will serve as a great extension of our award-winning fantasy football games on, giving casual players and fanatics alike an avenue to participate in the game on a year round basis.”

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WWE Raw to Bodyslam Viewers with Episode 900

Monday night USA Network will televise the 900th episode of WWE’s “Monday Night Raw.” “The Simpsons,” by comparison, has aired “only” 420 episodes.

The wrestling show has been a staple of cable programming since it debuted in 1993, and has consistently ranked as one of the top programs (if not the top program) on cable every week since 1999. USA goes out of its way to tout its original programming success with shows like “Royal Pains” and “Covert Affairs,” but the one constant on the network through all of it has been wrestling.

The success of the WWE on the channel is that much more surprising when you consider that USA’s original dramas draw a large number of female viewers.

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'Kiner's Korner' Gets New Life Online

For many New York Mets fans, gameday would not be complete until you watched “Kiner’s Korner,” the postgame and rain-delay show that aired on Channel 9. Hosted by hall-of-famer Ralph Kiner, the program would feature interviews with players and coaches, often, but not always, from the Mets.

Now SNY, the regional sports network affiliated with the Mets, is bringing the show back… online.

Richard Sandomir in the New York Times reports that SNY is taking classic episodes of the program and turning them into webisodes, which will combine some of Kiner’s classic interviews with new studio discussions between him and SNY’s Ted Berg .

Update: The first installment is now online, check it out after the jump.

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Tennis Channel Sets 2010 US Open Schedule

US OpenTennis Channel has unveiled its coverage plans for the 2010 U.S. Open Championship, set to begin August 30. Among the changes: the network is adding two-time US Open singles winner Tracy Austin to its lineup of commentators. Austin had been making regular appearances on the channel through its “Tennic Channel Academy” series. She will be appearing as an afternoon and late-match analyst. Austin joins the channel’s current commentator lineup, which includes Bill Macatee, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova (pictured) and Lindsay Davenport.

The network is also building “Tennis Channel Plaza” which will serve as the network’s programming hub, and will be located just outside of Arther Ashe stadium. Tennis Channel talent will conduct interviews and host segments from the plaza, withy ticket holders able to watch in person.

The network’s full TV schedule, as well as broadband and digital coverage, is after the jump.

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Challenges Ahead for ESPN in the UK

ESPN LogoESPN is the premier media company for sports coverage here in the U.S., with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews and all a regular part of many fans’ media diet. In the U.K. however, the company is still viewed as an outsider attempting to storm the local shores.

It was just over a year ago that ESPN acquired the rights to broadcast Premier League football games when Setanta Sports went under, drawing much hay from local fans worried the company would “Americanize” the coverage of their favorite (or favourite) sport. That didn’t happen, as a fascinating interview with ESPN chief George Bodenheimer in The Guardian points out.

“We’re not interested in being the US sports network that appeared on your shores. We want to be the sports network that is authentic, that understands fans’ passion and is doing a great job in its market. We don’t see ourselves as an import…”

Hiring local talent, including Ray Stubbs and Kevin Keegan, and using Sky’s pictures (it will use its own cameras from this season), were a conscious attempt not to scare the horses and fit with Bodenheimer’s localisation mantra.

While ESPN has made the transition as smooth as possible, it faces new challenges going forward: Read more