ESPN ThisWeek — October 22, 2012

ESPN FILMS PREMIER

NBA on ESPN RV TOUR, THIS IS SPORTSCENTER, MLB AND MORE


ESPN Films’ Benji to Premiere October 23 on ESPN
contact: jayjay.nesheim@espn.com
ESPN Films30 for 30, presented by Buick Verano, will premiere Benji on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.  Benji is directed by Coodie and Chike and examines the tragic death of Simeon High School star Ben Wilson.  In 1984, 17-year-old Benjamin “Benji” Wilson Jr. was a symbol of everything promising about Chicago: a beloved, sweet-natured youngster from the city’s fabled South Side, and America’s most talented basketball prospect.  Wilson was the first high school player in Chicago’s history to be ranked as the No. 1 recruit, and his senseless murder the day before his senior season sent ripples through the city and the nation. The trailer for Benji can be viewed at espn.com/30for30/.


NBA on ESPN RV Tour Marketing Campaign Returns with New NBA Stars
contact: kristen.m.hudak@espn.com and ben.cafardo@espn.com
ESPN returns the popular NBA on ESPN RV Tour marketing campaign to promote the upcoming NBA season. Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook stars in the first spot, which debuts today online and on television.

The campaign, which launched in 2007, chronicles the adventures of ESPN commentators Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Breen, Magic Johnson, Doris Burke and Jon Barry as they cross the country in an NBA on ESPN branded RV, joined by high-profile NBA stars. In the first spot, Van Gundy discovers his glasses have been mistakenly exchanged with Westbrook’s. The Thunder star squints to see as he drives the RV through an unexpected detour.

Additional spots will be released in coming weeks with Minnesota Timberwolves teammates Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.

ESPN’s coverage tips off  Friday, Nov. 2, with Kia NBA Countdown at 7 p.m. followed by a star-studded doubleheader — the Miami Heat at New York Knicks at 8 p.m. and Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ESPN’s multiplatform coverage includes 90 games over the course of the 2012-13 NBA season.


Detroit Lions QB Matt Stafford, UGA’s Hairy Dawg Star in Latest This is SportsCenter Spots
contact: kristen.m.hudak@espn.com
ESPN debuted two new This is SportsCenter spots today starring Detroit Lions Quarterback Matt Stafford and Georgia mascot, Hairy Dawg. In one, the former Georgia Bulldog cleans up an apparent Hairy Dawg accident in the ESPN break room. In another, Hairy Dawg steals Stafford’s unwanted leftovers from the refrigerator. The spots were filmed in February at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus. Wieden + Kennedy New York serves as the creative agency for this campaign.


ESPN’s Baseball Tonight On the Road for the World Series
contact: kristen.m.hudak@espn.com and ben.cafardo@espn.com
Beginning Wednesday, Oct. 24, ESPN’s Baseball Tonight will air live from the World Series before and after every game (generally 7 p.m. and 1 a.m.). Karl Ravech and Steve Berthiaume will host coverage with a variety of ESPN MLB commentators, including John Kruk, Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, Curt Schilling, Aaron Boone, Rick Sutcliffe, Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian and guest analyst Terry Francona.

Additionally, ESPN Radio will serve as the exclusive radio broadcast home of the Fall Classic. Dan Shulman and analyst Orel Hershiser will describe the action with Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton and reporter Peter Pascarelli providing pre-game and post-game coverage. ESPN Deportes Radio will also deliver every game live with Eduardo Ortega, Renato Bermudez, Jose Francisco Rivera, Marly Rivera and Enrique Rojas anchoring the coverage.

Throughout the World Series, Chris Berman, Ravech and Berthiaume will anchor daily, on-site SportsCenter coverage from the Baseball Tonight set and ESPN Deportes studio shows will provide around-the-clock news and analysis. In addition, ESPN.com’s World Series coverage will be led by reporters Jayson Stark, Jim Bowden, Jerry Crasnick, Howard Bryant, Jim Caple and David Schoenfield.

ESPN International also has television and digital World Series coverage throughout Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, New Zealand and the Middle East and on ESPN America in Europe.


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville
contact: andy.hall@espn.com
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will compete on the only short track in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, on Sunday, Oct. 28, and ESPN will have a live telecast of the 500-lap race. NASCAR Countdown airs at 1 p.m. with the green flag at 2:01 p.m. Allen Bestwick will call the action with analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.


E:60: Cortland Finnegan; Matthew Stafford; Story of Heroic Comeback
contact: dan.quinn@espn.com
ESPN’s award-winning news magazine, E:60 continues its 11-week run Tuesday at 7 p.m. when it presents pieces on: St. Louis Rams cornerback  Cortland Finnegan  who says, “Sometimes you got to be a hero, sometimes you got to be a villain;” Matthew Stafford and where the Detroit Lions quarterback’s football life began, where it is going and just how tough of a player he actually can be; and Portland, Ore., high school football player Hayward Demison, who suffered an on-field heart attack.


ESPNU All-Access: Ole Miss Football on Tuesday
contact: gracie.blackburn@espn.com
ESPNU All-Access goes inside the hearts & minds of the Ole Miss football team Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. ESPNU cameras shadow first-year head coach Hugh Freeze as he leads coaches through devotional and positional meetings. Viewers will also follow along with Freeze as he chats with players about their academics during his weekly “class check,” in addition to hearing the coaches wired at practice.


Recruiting: Georgia Matchup Showcasing Future Auburn and Alabama Players
contact: gracie.blackburn@espn.com
On Friday, Oct. 26, at 9 p.m. ESPNU will showcase Georgia high school teams Milton at Walton in the week nine matchup in the ESPN GEICO High School Showcase. Both teams feature ESPN 150 players committed to SEC teams — Milton’s defensive end Carl Lawson is ranked No. 5 in the nation and committed to Auburn, while Walton’s running back, Tyren Jones, is ranked No. 76 and committed to Alabama.


NHRA Las Vegas Action on ESPN2, ESPN3
contact: andy.hall@espn.com
In the penultimate event of the season, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series races this weekend in the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Drag racing fans can watch action on ESPN2 and ESPN3. Anchor Paul Page and analyst Mike Dunn will describe the racing.

Date Time (ET) Event Network
Fri, Oct 26 6 p.m. Qualifying (live) ESPN3, WatchESPN
Sun, Oct 28 1:30 a.m. Qualifying ESPN2, WatchESPN
  2 p.m. Eliminations (live) ESPN3, WatchESPN
  4 p.m. Qualifying (re-air) ESPN2, WatchESPN
  8 p.m. Eliminations ESPN2, WatchESPN

WTA Championships from Istanbul on ESPN3, ESPN2; 58 Hours from ATP Events in Valencia, Basel
contact:  dave.nagle@espn.com
The coveted year-end top ranking in the WTA will be on the line when the top eight women’s tennis players in the world meet in Istanbul, for the round-robin TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships on ESPN3 and ESPN2 beginning Tuesday, Oct. 23.  ESPN3 will present 22 live hours from the Sinan Erdem Arena with coverage daily through the championship Sunday, Oct. 28.  The final match will be aired on ESPN2 on a short delay at 2 p.m. with Patrick McEnroe and Jimmy Arias on the call.

The eight players will play in a round-robin format leading to the semifinals – the top two players in each half – and culminating with the championship.  The players, in order of current ranking:  Victoria Azarenka, 2004 champion Maria Sharapova, two-time winner Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, defending champion Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Li Na.  The year-end No. 1 ranking will be decided between current No. 1 Azarenka and Sharapova, No. 2.

ESPN3 will present two matches per day from the round-robin action Tuesday, Oct. 23 – Friday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The semifinals will be shown Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 a.m. with the championship on ESPN3 and ESPN2 Sunday, Oct. 28, at 11 a.m.

In addition, ESPN3 will present 58 live hours of men’s play from the ATP Swiss Indoors Basel, from Switzerland, and the ATP Valencia Open 500 in Valencia, Spain, including the championship of both events from Tuesday, Oct. 23 – Sunday, Oct. 28.  In Basel, hometown hero Roger Federer won the event for a fifth time last year and will have to contend with Andy Murray and Juan Martin Del Potro.  The field in Spain is topped by David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Janko Tipsarevic and John Isner.

WTA Tennis This Week on ESPN Networks

Date Time (ET) Match  
Tue, Oct 23 – Fri Oct 26 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. WTA Championships Round Robin Action ESPN3
Sat, Oct 27 8 a.m. – Noon WTA Championships Semifinals ESPN3
Sun, Oct 28 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

2 – 4 p.m.

WTA Championships Final

WTA Championships Final (tape delayed)

ESPN3

ESPN2

ATP Tennis This Week on ESPN Networks

Date Time (ET) Match  
Tue, Oct 23 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Wed, Oct 24 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Thur, Oct 25 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 ESPN3
  10 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel ESPN3
Fri, Oct 26 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Quarterfinals ESPN3
  8 a.m. – 4 p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Quarterfinals ESPN3
Sat, Oct 27 8:30 a.m. – 1:30  p.m. ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Semifinals ESPN3
  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Semifinal #1 ESPN3
  2 – 4:30 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Semifinal #2 ESPN3
Sun, Oct 28 9 a.m. – Noon ATP Swiss Indoors Basel Championship ESPN3
  11 a.m. – 2 p.m. ATP Valencia 500 Championship ESPN3

ESPN.com’s Streak For The Cash Logs Its Five Millionth Player
contact: kristie.chong@espn.com
On Saturday, ESPN.com’s popular Streak For The Cash pick ‘em game added its five millionth player.  To date, the game has logged more than 637 million picks made since it first launched on August 25, 2008.  Additionally, the game has awarded more than $5.4 million in total cash prizes to 97 different winners, two of whom each received a $1 million payout.

Streak For The Cash has featured 41 different sports in the game, which challenges players to select the outcome of various daily sports-related questions tied to the day’s sports events.  It has featured not only the major leagues and conferences, but also MMA, bowling, curling, rugby, lacrosse, cricket, horse racing, Olympics, X Games, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and even Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day.  The five most-picked sports overall and their respective winning percentages include: international soccer (52.4 percent), MLB (53.8 percent), college football (54 percent), NBA (52.5 percent), and golf (51.7 percent).  The overall winning percentage across all entries to date is 52.9 percent.

Picks can be made online at ESPN.com or through the Streak For The Cash app, which has been downloaded more than 1.17 million times across iPhone and Android devices.

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