Month: June 2018

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FOX Sports Takes Dirt Aces Bell and Larson Back to their Roots for NCWTS Race at Eldora Speedway

Bell and Larson Make FOX Sports Broadcasting Debuts July 18 at Eldora

CHARLOTTE, NC – FOX Sports is adding a pair of young Wednesday night dirt racers and past Eldora Speedway winners to its broadcast team at Tony Stewart’s half-mile dirt track in Ohio.

Veteran dirt aces and current NASCAR stars Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson will make their FOX Sports broadcasting debuts in the July 18 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race at Eldora (9:00 PM ET on FS1), with Bell covering pit road and Larson serving as an analyst in the FS1 booth.

Bell, the reigning Truck Series champion, won the Chili Bowl Nationals championship in 2017 and 2018 and the 2013 USAC National Midget championship. Larson won the 2011 4-Crown Nationals at Eldora, becoming just the second driver in history to win in all three types of USAC cars in a single night, as well as the 2011 Belleville Midget Nationals championship.

“Eldora is my favorite race track in the country and the Truck race at Eldora is one of my favorite events of the season, so when this opportunity presented itself, I quickly jumped on it,” said Bell, driver of the No. 20 Rheem Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing. “I’m looking forward to joining Hermie [Sadler] and Kenny [Wallace] in the pits to help cover the storylines from one of the best nights in racing.”

Calling the one-of-a-kind race is Truck Series voice Vince Welch alongside analysts Larson and Michael Waltrip. Bell, Hermie Sadler and dirt racing legend Kenny Wallace cover everything unfolding in the pits. John Roberts hosts pre-race coverage on NASCAR RACEDAY-NCWTS (8:30 PM ET on FS1) alongside analysts Todd Bodine and Phil Parsons.

Bell, who won the 2015 NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race at Eldora, and Larson, the 2016 victor, are on-hand for all Truck Series action telecast on FS1 from Eldora July 18, including single-truck qualifying (4:30 PM ET), qualifying races (7:00 PM ET), the race (9:00 PM ET) and post-race coverage (11:00 PM ET).

“After watching the Truck race last year at Eldora, I thought it would be really cool to have some drivers on the broadcast with a dirt background,” said Larson, driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. “I’m really excited that FOX liked the idea and decided to run with it. Eldora is a great track, and this is a really unique race, so I look forward to hopefully providing some more insight into what it’s like to not only race a truck at Eldora, but some of the nuances of racing on dirt. This race is a great chance to show NASCAR fans the excitement of dirt racing, and hopefully shows dirt fans the intensity of NASCAR racing.”

FOX Sports Truck Series producer Mark Smith, who has helmed the Eldora race broadcast since its inaugural run in 2013, says the inclusion of Bell and Larson adds a unique perspective to the broadcast.

“Eldora is such a special event, and since we have access to two of the best dirt racers in the entire country, why not add them to the FOX Sports race telecast? We look for them to help us not only understand the art of dirt racing better than anyone else can explain, but to translate the challenges of racing a Truck on dirt to the millions of dirt-racing fans out there. They might be a little nervous about being part of a TV broadcast for the first time, but both of them lit up when we sat down to discuss this opportunity.”

Smith says the genesis of the concept came in the form of 140 characters from Larson several months ago.

“I originally got the idea from Kyle,” Smith recalled. “When FOX announced its ‘Drivers Only’ NASCAR XFINITY SERIES broadcast, he tweeted something out about how cool it would be to have an all-dirt drivers broadcast. So, I guess FOX Sports and I asked him to put his money where his mouth was. We’re all looking forward to this unique opportunity.”

Bell and Larson join a star-packed roster of NASCAR drivers who have served as driver analysts in the FOX Sports booth since 2015. For four consecutive seasons, FOX Sports has opened its NASCAR XFINITY SERIES analyst chair to active MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES drivers, including for the 2017 and 2018 “Drivers Only” broadcasts, held at Pocono Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway, respectively. In addition, several drivers routinely serve as analysts on FS1’s NASCAR RACE HUB.

Kevin Harvick helped call the 2017 race from Eldora and is scheduled in the FOX Sports booth for the Truck Series races from Kentucky (July 12 at 7:30 PM ET on FS1), Bristol (Aug. 16 at 8:30 PM ET on FOX) and Talladega (Oct. 13 at 1:00 PM ET on FOX).

Holly Sonders

Legends of the Game Chase Rocky Mountain High at 39th U.S. Senior Open Championship at the Broadmoor

Colorado Springs, Colo. – Following a dramatic 2018 U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills, culminating in the first championship defense in nearly 30 years by 2017 U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka, the FOX Sports golf team heads west to another iconic venue for the 39th U.S. Senior Open Championship at The Broadmoor’s East Course in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Preview coverage begins today with WEDNESDAY AT THE U.S. SENIOR OPEN from 12:00 to 1:00 PM ET on FS2, with live television coverage beginning on Thursday, June 28 from 4:00 to 9:00 PM ET on FS1. On Friday, June 29, second round action airs on FS1 from 3:30 to 8:30 PM ET, while coverage of the third and final rounds airs from 4:00 to 9:00 PM ET on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1 on FS1.

On Thursday and Friday, early “bonus” coverage from the first and second rounds airs on usga.org, featuring a unique live stream that features only sounds from the on-course action. All of FOX Sports’ linear coverage is live streamed concurrently on the FOX Sports App, and all four rounds are also supplemented by a separate featured groups stream.

FOX Sports’ linear and digital programming schedule for the 2018 U.S. Senior Open:

Date Program Time (ET) Platform
Weds, June 27 Wednesday at the U.S. Senior Open 12:00 – 1:00 PM FS2
 
Thurs, June 28 First Round – Bonus Coverage 12:00 – 2:00 PM usga.org
  First Round 4:00 – 9:00 PM FS1/FOX Sports App
  First Round – Featured Groups 3:40 – 9:00 PM FOX Sports App
 
Fri, June 29 Second Round – Bonus Coverage 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM usga.org
  Second Round 3:30 – 8:30 PM FS1/FOX Sports App
  Second Round – Featured Groups 3:30 – 8:30 PM FOX Sports App
 
Sat, June 30 Third Round 4:00 – 9:00 PM FS1/FOX Sports App
  Third Round – Featured Groups 4:00 – 9:00 PM FOX Sports App
 
Sun, July 1 Final Round 4:00 – 9:00 PM FS1/FOX Sports App
  Final Round – Featured Groups 4:00 – 9:00 PM FOX Sports App

Lead analyst Paul Azinger anchors the 18th Tower throughout the championship, alongside analyst Brad Faxon and play-by-play Shane Bacon for weekday competition, and seven-time Emmy Award-winning announcer Joe Buck for the third and final rounds.

On the course, reporting duties are performed by two-time U.S. Open winner Curtis Strange, four-time European Tour winner Ken Brown and PGA Tour veteran Brett Quigley. Holly Sonders conducts interviews and former USGA Executive Director David Fay provides rules analysis.

Bonus coverage will be hosted by Ned Michaels, who also serves as play-by-play announcer for each afternoon’s featured groups stream, with analyst Michael Breed and on-course reporter Nicole Castrale.

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FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Tuesday, June 26

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

ICYMI Monday on FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT

Today’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas on the Argentinians’ attitude making it out of the Group Stage: WATCH

“First, you get a sense of relief, then belief. Yes, because they did what everybody expected, but certainly not the way they expected. This was a much better performance. It started with Messi scoring that goal. And it was a magical goal – those touches set the stage for this game. Then, it was about a lot of moments – risk – the way they played on the edge, in a physical perspective. Ultimately, they got the job done. You don’t care how you get out of the group, just get out of the group.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Kelly Smith on what set the Argentinian team apart against Nigeria:

“From the first, it really started with Higuain. Where he went, the team went. They started so well. There was a hunger and desire from this Argentinian side, passing the ball better, from side to side, playing forward, and more intent with the passing. Messi, with more high-speed running. It was a different side with a different mentality from the off. They pushed, and they were determined right to the end. To be able to get the goal with four minutes left was really special for them.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Ian Wright believes Argentina should change the team up against France:

“I wasn’t impressed with Higuain. Apart from the closing down, it’s a given that you do that, but he needs to get in there and get chances and finish those chances. There’s no way I’m starting Higuain in front of Aguero.”

Wright believes Argentina has a good chance to beat France now:

“It just feels like something is happening now. It’s taken them three games to get there, but it’s only going to be brilliant for the tournament.

“We saw night and day, from the first game to this game, Argentina team played with intensity and good quality. Mascherano was fighting in the midfield, winning stuff, getting second balls – that’s what you expect from Argentina, and then you get the ball forward to people like Messi.

“What we’re seeing here is the passion, the intensity, the skill – everything. This is synonymous with Argentina, and we haven’t seen it. This is what, when we started this World Cup, I expected so much more from them, and now we’ve got it, and this might be an Argentina side to be reckoned with.”

Wright believes France will lose to Argentina:

“[France] is disappointing. For the team, they’re able to put out and the way they can play, they’re very disappointing. They’re don’t seem to get it together as a unit. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of camaraderie between them. They should be beating teams. I think the way Argentina played tonight, [Argentina] will beat [France].”

Smith on Mascherano leading the Argentinian team:

“Messi was in and out of the game. He didn’t affect it as much as I would have hoped. Mascherano played really well. He was leading by example and closing down the middle. He should be the captain. He is so good when he gets the ball. He distributes it well. He led from the middle today. He really took charge today, and when he gets the ball, he loves to feed Messi, and they played well off each other.”

FOX Sports game analyst Tony Meola praises the Nigerian team for their effort:

“There’s a lot to look forward to, if you’re a Nigerian fan. This young side has proven they can play with the best in the world. They’re fun to watch.”

Meola on Argentina’s second goal:

“Look at this ball in, and when you talk about attacking players and finishing, Marcos Rojo is not the name that’s at the top of your list, but it doesn’t get any better than that. What a great finish. He buries it. And the celebrations are on here.”

 Meola calls Lionel Messi’s first goal: WATCH

“There’s reason to believe, Diego Maradona, as Lionel Messi – just when you needed him – found a way to unlock this defense on an outstanding ball by Ever Banega. Look at the touch, look at the weight of the pass. Messi puts it in his path and buries it to the far post. What a great touch, set up, and shot by Lionel Messi.”

FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Derek Rae on Croatia’s tie-breaking goal: WATCH

 “Croatia back on course for a 100% Group Stage!”

 Smith on fans enjoying their World Cup experience:

“Fans make this World Cup – the jerseys, the hats, the scarves, the face paint, the passion.

“It’s vibrant, it’s fun, and they’re even keeping me up at night because the party goes on until about 5:00 AM outside my room. I’m not complaining, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.”

Lalas adds:

“An experience at a World Cup is so much more than the actual games and the actual scores. It’s the people that you meet, especially people from different cultures.

“It’s those types of experiences that mean so much, and everybody is having them here. This city is on fire partying. Whether Russia is winning or not, it’s a fun place to be.”

Lalas says Mexico needs to finish the job tomorrow vs. Sweden:

“For Mexico, to come out [of the Group Stage] is no big accomplishment … They sit on this precipice right now where they don’t want to undo all of the good that has happened. Not just the way that they perceive themselves, and the way that Mexican fans perceive their team, but the way the world has looked at this team and said: ‘This is a fun team!’ You’ve got to finish the job here and the reality is that if Mexico loses to Sweden and German wins against South Korea by more than two goals, Mexico is going out of this tournament … Mexico has to finish this job.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Clarence Seedorf reacts to France’s scoreless draw with Denmark:

“Another poor performance. They have a lot of action going on, but in the end, nothing happens.

“They disappoint me because they have so much talent.”

Lalas expects to see a reinvigorated France in the Round of 16:

“At some point, they have to turn it on. We’ll find that some of these bigger teams will have a whole new mentality once they get to that Round of 16.”

Seedorf says that though France has talent, they’re still a bit too young to win the tournament:

“I don’t have those high expectations of this team yet. I think they’re just too immature yet to go all the way, but we’ll see.”

FOX Sports lead play-by-play announcer John Strong says French fans expect commanding performances from their team:

“The French do not have a word for winning ugly. It is not in their vocabulary.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden says changes in France’s lineup today are an opportunity for less experienced players to prove themselves:

“There are chances for some of these French players that haven’t started so far in this tournament to stake a claim to be a part of the roster going into the knockout stages.”

FOX Sports lead studio host Rob Stone reacts to Peru getting a win in its first World Cup in 36 years: WATCH

“The emotions that overtake them – getting a win when they’ve already been eliminated, tells you again, the power of the World Cup.”

Lalas adds about Peru:

“It’s wonderful to see. Another one of these teams that’s going home that really acquitted themselves well and really left a lasting impression with the way that they played, the emotion that they brought.”

Smith wants people to lay off Neymar for his outpouring of emotion at the end of Brazil’s last match:

“I hate the fact that he’s been criticized for crying after, because no one knows what he went through for those two months. When you’re injured, you’re isolated, you’re lonely, you don’t know – you’re fearful you might not make it. No one knows how hard he’s been working to get back to full fitness. The pain that he’s had in his foot – to overcome that – those emotions come out because he was so thrilled to be there. I don’t like the fact that he’s been criticized for that. He’s only human.”

Lalas says VAR has been a positive during the World Cup: 

 “If I had to grade VAR in this tournament, I’d give it an A-. Just because you disagree with a decision doesn’t mean VAR isn’t working.

“I think VAR has made this tournament, and ultimately this game, better.”

Today’s Top Videos:

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 9:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FOX and FS1)
  • 10:00 AM – Mexico vs. Sweden (FOX / Jorge Perez-Navarro and Mariano Trujillo)
  • 10:00 AM – Korea Republic vs. Germany (FS1 / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 12:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX and FS1)
  • 2:00 PM – Serbia vs. Brazil (FOX / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 2:00 PM – Switzerland vs. Costa Rica (FS1 / Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
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FOX Sports Becomes New Home of SmackDown® Live

NEW YORK and STAMFORD, Conn., June 26, 2018 – For the first time, every Friday night beginning October 4, 2019, FOX broadcast network will air WWE®’s flagship program SmackDown Live as part of a new five-year agreement with FOX Sports. The weekly, two-hour live event will air 52 weeks a year and captivate fans with a unique combination of edge-of-your-seat action, unpredictable drama and world-class athleticism.

“At FOX we are thrilled to welcome WWE to the FOX Sports family and bring SmackDown Live to broadcast television,” said Eric Shanks, President, COO and Executive Producer FOX Sports. “We are huge fans and know that together FOX Sports will be the leader in live events for the foreseeable future.”

“WWE and FOX are a perfect match,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “Moving SmackDown Live to broadcast TV and having the ability to leverage FOX’s extensive portfolio of world-class sporting events will expand the reach of our flagship programming.”

SmackDown Live is a consistent winner on television, currently averaging1 1.3M P18-49, 1.3M P25-54 and 3M total viewers P2+.

On air for almost 20 years and nearly 1,000 episodes, SmackDown Live is the second-longest running weekly episodic cable television show in U.S. primetime history, only behind Monday Night Raw®. SmackDown Live is currently among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable and delivers more viewers in primetime than any cable network in the U.S. (2.9 million average viewers).

SmackDown Live has also helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock®” Johnson, John Cena®, Undertaker®, Triple H®, “Stone Cold®” Steve Austin and The Bella Twins™.

1: Source: Nielsen NNTV, 2018 YTD through April (1/1/18-4/30/18), Live+7 Average Viewers for selected demographics (P18-49, P25-54, P2+).

About FOX Sports
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century FOX’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FS1, FS2; FOX Sports Regional Networks, their affiliated regional web sites and national programming; FOX Soccer Plus; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. In addition, FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, including FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports app. Also included in the Group are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that established the FOX Sports Radio Network.

About WWE
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE’s TV-PG, family-friendly programming can be seen in more than 800 million homes worldwide in 24 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo. Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to: WWE Network; major distribution agreements; our need to continue to develop creative and entertaining programs and events; a decline in the popularity of our brand of sports entertainment; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent K. McMahon; possible adverse changes in the regulatory atmosphere and related private sector initiatives; the highly competitive, rapidly changing and increasingly fragmented nature of the markets in which we operate and greater financial resources or marketplace presence of many of our competitors; uncertainties associated with international markets; our difficulty or inability to promote and conduct our live events and/or other businesses if we do not comply with applicable regulations; our dependence on our intellectual property rights, our need to protect those rights, and the risks of our infringement of others’ intellectual property rights; the complexity of our rights agreements across distribution mechanisms and geographical areas; potential substantial liability in the event of accidents or injuries occurring during our physically demanding events including, without limitation, claims relating to CTE; large public events as well as travel to and from such events; our feature film business; our expansion into new or complementary businesses and/or strategic investments; our computer systems and online operations; a possible decline in general economic conditions and disruption in financial markets; our accounts receivable; our revolving credit facility; litigation; our potential failure to meet market expectations for our financial performance, which could adversely affect our stock; Vincent K. McMahon exercising control over our affairs, and his interests may conflict with the holders of our Class A common stock; a substantial number of shares which are eligible for sale by the McMahons and the sale, or the perception of possible sales, of those shares could lower our stock price; and the relatively small public “float” of our Class A common stock. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends (including under our revolving credit facility), general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant. Forward-looking statements made by the Company speak only as of the date made, are subject to change without any obligation on the part of the Company to update or revise them, and undue reliance should not be placed on these statements.

Media Contacts:
Matthew Altman, WWE
203-352-1177
Matthew.Altman@wwecorp.com

Eddie Motl, FOX Sports
212-556-2486
Eddie.Motl@fox.com

Investor Contact:
Michael Weitz, WWE
203-352-8642
Michael.Weitz@wwecorp.com

Kate Abdo, Ian Wright, Kelly Smith and Alexi Lalas at 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Studio in Moscow’s Red Square

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Monday, June 25

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

Today’s Top Stories:

ICYMI Sunday on FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT

Today’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports studio analyst Kelly Smith evaluates Portugal’s performance against Iran:

“In parts, they were good, and in parts, I don’t think they were as good. I was disappointed with Andre Silva. He didn’t show it for me today. He had a quiet performance. That’s a credit to Iran for keeping him quiet. But what does worry me is Pepe and Fonte in the back. They are [Portugal’s] weakness. When they’re up against Uruguay, and Suarez and Cavani, that will be a problem for them.”

FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Derek Rae and game analyst Aly Wagner on Portugal’s goal:

Rae:Sensational. Ricardo Quaresma for Portugal. The moment of magic Portugal wanted. It comes courtesy of a 34-year-old reinstated to the lineup.”

 Wagner: “Reinstated and he rewards his manager. It’s just a nice, little combination coming inside. Then, oh, that curler! His right foot, he lines it up perfectly, up and over, dips it behind Beiranvand. Nothing he can do about this! Sweet sensation!”

FOX Sports studio analyst Ian Wright on what Spain needs to do to improve their play after tying Morocco 2-2:

“I think it’s more concentration for Spain. There’s a fragility about them. We saw that header that went in today. They would normally stop that cross coming in. Spain worked hard to do that [in the past]. They don’t seem to be doing that at the moment. They’re normally a lot more tight in their positioning and more precise. They need to focus a bit more. They can’t make those kinds of mistakes.”

 FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas looks forward to what will happen between Spain vs. Russia and Portugal vs. Uruguay:

“There is a difference between playing Russia and playing Uruguay. We saw what Uruguay did to Russia. If you’re Spain, you’re thinking: ‘Alright, we got the good one.’ It’s not that it’s going to be easy to walk over them, but Portugal, right now, is not a perfect team. They understand that and they’re going to come up against it and because of a goal here or there, it completely changed everything. When it comes to this Portuguese team, we saw someone step up in that moment to score that goal, and that’s all fine and good.”

Lalas on VAR so far at the World Cup:

“VAR has not been a big story in the World Cup, and that’s a good thing. For the most part, it’s worked right. The calls that they are making, ultimately, they’re getting them right.”

Wright previews what Argentina needs to do vs. Nigeria:

“You’re hoping that they can find their groove, if that’s Messi playing further forward. I honestly don’t know what it is, because if you look at Argentina, I don’t know what their pattern of play is. Is he playing further up?  Is he playing Biglia? Is he playing Mascherano? Mascherano is looking like he’s a bit leggy. Sampaoli saying he’s not really worried. The fact is, when you look at the manager and the way he was on that bench, that looks like somebody who’s under an intense amount of pressure because his team, to me, is more than good enough to be putting up better performances than they’re doing. You have one of the best players in the world – best players in football history – and you can’t find a system that works with him. I think that comes down to the manager.”

FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Mark Followill reacts to Morocco’s first goal of the 2018 World Cup against Spain: 

“Look at the space and Boutaib is in! The chance to get Morocco the opener — and he does. Their first goal of the 2018 World Cup. It’s Boutaib against Spain!”

FOX Sports studio analyst Warren Barton adds:

“You can’t say they don’t deserve it after the first two games. The game plan was to allow them to have it and when there is a moment of hesitation or a sloppy pass, you go for the jugular.

“The execution is excellent!”

 Smith reacts to a FOX Sports exclusive feature on Cristiano Ronaldo: 

 “He is just amazing, and what he does individually – he grabs the team by the scruff of the neck. He’s just an unreal human being and player. It’s just fantastic to see him on this world stage.”

Lalas adds:

“I think you saw in that piece that he’s managing expectations, because he knows that he’s not surrounded by the greatest talent. It doesn’t mean that they can’t win. I’m not sure that he’s enough, even with how great he is, putting his team on his shoulders.”

 Smith says Portugal needs to step up and support Ronaldo:

 “They need to possess the ball, because in later games that’s going to be a problem. You can’t just hit the ball to Ronaldo and expect him to score. Other players need to step up and keep the ball for that team.”

 Smith on the pressure facing Argentina and Lionel Messi:

 “There’s a lot of pressure on this team, but they can’t control the press – the media circus that’s around them. All they can do is control their own individual performances. Yeah, Messi is the best player in the world – he needs to bring it. It’s time for him to deliver.

“It’s time for him and his teammates – they’ve got to have the game of their life in order to get out of this group. It is doable and they have been given this massive, massive lifeline.”

 Lalas adds that that there’s no reason for Argentina’s poor performance so far:

 “The talent they have at their disposal has to do better.

“He [coach Jorge Sampaoli] just hasn’t figured out how to get that right mix that works for Argentina and, maybe more importantly, works to get Messi in the positions that you need.”

 FOX Sports lead studio host Rob Stone reacts to Uruguay’s win:

 “The big guns of Cavani and Suarez both on display today. That’s something this team really needed to see.”

Seedorf on Uruguay’s style of play:

“The most important thing for them is that their strikers are on shot and that they have that confidence, because Uruguay’s not going to change their game plan against anybody.”

Play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera on Russian breakout star Denis Cheyshev:

 “That’s what the World Cup is about – not just stars coming in, but players who make a name for themselves during the tournament. Cheryshev is one of them.”

 FOX Sports game analyst Tony Meola on Russia exceeding expectations by making it out of the Group Stage:

 “They have captured the heart and soul of the entire country, as we’ve seen over the last couple weeks. Coming into this, there were no expectations … Now, all of a sudden, the manager’s a hero; the players are stars; you’ve got this newfound fame. But now they’re in the business-end of the tournament, and the competition just gets tougher from here.”

Former Russia National Team coach Guus Hiddink on how attitudes have changed following Russia’s hot start:

“How life can change in 10 days in this city, because everyone before this tournament said … it will not work. All of a sudden, it works, and they’re partying through six o’clock in the morning.”

Lalas adds:

“It’s been wonderful to see, and I think it just shows the power of this tournament and the power of this sport, that it can turn people so quickly – an entire nation.

“They’re partying in the streets; they’re loving this team. This team gave them something to love – not just the results, but the way those results happened.”

Lalas believes Mohammad Salah was unable to bounce back from his early injury:

“When we were coming into this World Cup, we were talking about how this will shape or redefine the image of this player and how it could enhance his image…It’s not a good World Cup in terms of exiting, but we didn’t see the best of him from a physical perspective because of that injury coming in. If this is the end for Mo Salah for the national team, that’s a shame, but I certainly don’t think it’s the end in terms of watching him score goals and play soccer.”

FOX Sports studio analysts Clarence Seedorf and Kelly Smith reflect on their experiences as players, as they predict what lies ahead for Egypt’s Mohammad Salah:

Seedorf: “I doubt that this is the end. I think they will probably change coaches. And the first thing the new coach will do is go after Salah and convince him to continue. It’s really early [in his career]. He’s in the finest stage of his career right now and he should enjoy this. I didn’t enjoy it fully, my experience with the national team, and I missed it.”

Smith: “I’ve been injured coming into a tournament. In the Olympics, I had a stress fracture in my foot and I wasn’t at full fitness, so I know exactly how he’s [Salah] feeling. He’s frustrated. I think he would want an opportunity to play another World Cup. There’s no way he could retire. He’s too young and too good.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 9:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FOX and FS1)
  • 10:00 AM – Denmark vs. France (FOX / John Strong and Stu Holden)
  • 10:00 AM – Australia vs. Peru (FS1 / Jorge Perez-Navarro and Mariano Trujillo)
  • 12:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX and FS1)
  • 2:00 PM – Nigeria vs. Argentina (FOX / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 2:00 PM – Iceland vs. Croatia (FS1 / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 11:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
Rob Stone Studio Desk

2018 FIFA World Cup™ is Weekend Warrior for FOX & FS1

FOX Sports recorded its two most-watched days of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ over the weekend with average viewership of 3,875,000 on Saturday and 3,158,000 on Sunday.

Through Matchday 11, 2018 FIFA World Cup™ matches on FOX and FS1 are:

  • Up +31% over the complete Group Stage average of the last four World Cups combined, excluding U.S. matches
  • Up +20% over the 2010 World Cup Group Stage average, played in a comparable time zone, excluding U.S. matches.

On Sunday, Colombia’s 3-0 win over Poland was the most-watched match of the day and drew 4,555,000 viewers on the FOX broadcast network and FOX streaming sources. With 4,384,000 viewers tuning in on FOX alone, the match is up +135% over the 2010 Group Stage average, excluding U.S. matches, and up +69% over the 2014 Group Stage average, excluding U.S. matches.

2018 FIFA World Cup™ matches now account for FOX’s five most-watched non-U.S. soccer telecasts ever.

Click HERE for Sunday’s digital highlights.

David Ortiz at 2017 World Series

MLB Superstar David Ortiz Makes 2018 All-Star Game Debut as FOX Sports Studio Analyst

World Series MVP ‘Big Papi’ Signs Multi-Year Deal with FOX Sports

NEW YORK – Big Papi is back! Three-time World Series Champion, World Series MVP presented by Chevrolet and ten-time MLB All-Star, David Ortiz appears on FOX Sports as studio analyst for the network’s pregame and postgame coverage, signing a multi-year deal. The announcement was made today by John Entz, FOX Sports President of Production & Executive Producer.

Ortiz contributed as studio analyst throughout FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2017 postseason and will again be alongside first ballot Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas, World Series Champion Alex Rodriguez and Emmy-nominated host Kevin Burkhardt. MLB on FOX, the Postseason won in the category of Outstanding Studio Show – Limited Run at the 2017 Sports Emmy awards.

“Big Papi brings a level of excitement and knowledge that balances nicely with Alex, Frank and Kevin,” said Entz. “David is incredibly likable and has unbelievable postseason experience. And we think we’re set in the hitter department.”

Ortiz will contribute to FOX Sports’ spring training, regular season, All-Star Game, postseason and World Series coverage. He makes his 2018 debut during the network’s coverage of the 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard from Nationals Park in Washington, DC.

“I had a lot of fun working for FOX Sports during the postseason last year and am pumped up to get back in the studio with Kevin, Alex, Frank and our leader behind-the-scenes, coordinating producer Bardia Shah-Rais,” said Ortiz.

Prior to his retirement, Ortiz made his broadcasting debut during the 2014 World Series, for Games 1 and 2, as a guest studio analyst for FOX Sports.

Ortiz entered the league in 1992 with the Seattle Mariners before he was acquired by the Minnesota Twins in 1997. With six seasons under his belt, the Twins released Ortiz in 2003. Shortly after, the slugger signed with the Boston Red Sox, where he had a breakout year as a designated hitter. “Big Papi” remained in “Beantown” for the rest of his professional career, serving as a driving force in the 2004, 2007 and 2013 World Series Championships. Averaging a .688 with seven runs scored, Ortiz also earned the 2013 World Series MVP title. The 10-time All-Star and seven-time Silver Slugger retired at the end of the 2016 season with 541 home runs, 2,472 hits and 1,768 RBIs. As a tribute to his success under their organization, the Red Sox retired Ortiz’s jersey (No. 34) in 2017.

Alexi Camera Lens

FIFA World Cup™ on FOX Programming Highlights: Sunday Afternoon, June 24

Today’s Schedule & Results (all times ET):

Today’s Top Stories:

This Afternoon’s Top Quotes:

FOX Sports lead studio analyst Alexi Lalas says Colombia showed their potential tonight:

“This is a team that is feeling it now after tonight. We actually saw what Colombia can be, everyone stepping up, James, Falcao – what a wonderful moment for him to get that goal. So, I’m on the Colombian wagon now.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Clarence Seedorf said Colombia’s Falcao finally had a great performance: 

“Falcao, we were waiting for his goal. He was one of the big strikers missing in this tournament still to get his goal. He got it. Great performance from the team – James, Falcao, they gave that extra. I loved the Colombia team today. Poor Poland.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden felt Colombia delivered a much better match against Poland than their first match:

“I was worried about them after that first game. I know they went down a man early, but the way in which they responded – this team is as gifted, and as technical, and talented as a lot of others out there. They are strong at the back. Good performance from Yerry Mina and Davinson Sanchez, two relatively inexperienced players at the international level, but they looked like a complete team tonight.”

FOX Sports lead game analyst Stu Holden on Juan Cuadrado’s goal: WATCH

“This pass from James Rodriguez is filthy. Filth of the highest order. Just look: he bends it into the path of Cuadrado. I mean that is just ridiculous. And still the composure here. To finish this off for his eighth international goal. Cuadrado has been a menace on the right side. He’s been running up and down, defending, and then, he too, gets his reward. So cool and calm, much like Falcao.”

Holden on Radamel Falcao’s goal for Colombia in the second half: WATCH

“A deserved reward for Radamel Falcao. He’s been excellent this game. Selfless running, in and out, finding a little half gap. And what about this pass? It comes in from Quintero. Delicious. Look at this. First time. He takes this one. The run from Falcao to stay on side. And then he has the composure. You’ve seen him do it so many times in his career. In these spots, the first touch sets it up in front of his body. On the outside of the boot, cool, calm, collected. There was never a doubt. What a finish! Another excellent pass from Quintero. He’s been the orchestrator in the middle of the park tonight. Another example of vision and execution, and a finish of the highest order from Radamel Falcao. Enjoy it.”

FOX Sports lead play-by-play announcer John Strong and Holden call Colombia’s first goal against Poland: 

Strong: “Yerry Mina sending the Kazan Arena into raptures!”

Holden: “The set piece was on and how many reverse passes have we seen from Quintero? Another lovely one. You can see when he cuts it back, Poland trying to squeeze up. Then James Rodriguez just sets it up with a delightful little cross. Get up there, big man, attack it! Yerry Mina smashes it home. Powerful header. Nothing Szczesny can do about it.”

Lalas assesses Japan after the team’s 2-2 draw with Senegal:

“This is not a great Japanese team, but I think this is a team that recognizes that mistakes are going to be made … but their heads don’t go down, and they find a way to come back.”

FOX Sports studio analyst Moises Munoz added on Japan:

“They kept on fighting, kept on pushing forward, and they got their reward by tying this game. That puts them in a great spot to move on.”

Lalas says Senegal has to feel good about its chances to advance out of the Group Stage:

“I think that they’re flying right now. I think that they’re confident. I think that they came into this tournament with something to prove.

“They have gotten here and they have just continued on with what they are doing. They have proven that they not only deserve to be here, but this is a team that should be feeling confident that they are going to go through.”

Prior to Japan vs. Senegal, former Dutch player and coach Clarence Seedorf praises Senegal coach Aliou Cissé:

“I think we like diversity. It’s good to have an African, black coach doing what he’s doing and being successful. I wish them more success. Especially from his side, jumping from playing to coaching and then coming to a World Cup, performing properly.”

Seedorf says, for Senegal, M’Baye Niang is to Sadio Mane what Philippe Coutinho is to Neymar for Brazil:

“I see Niang as the Coutinho of Senegal. All eyes on Mane, and he will do his thing. I think they’re going to be a great combination.”

FOX Sports game analyst Warren Barton on Japan’s response to tie the match, 2-2:

“That’s what Japan have – they’ve got experience in these key moments of games. They didn’t revert from what they do best – keep the ball, retain it in midfield.”

Barton on Senegal’s second goal:

“There was confusion; there was movement; there were bodies. Senegal do what they do best – they put you under pressure.

“The reason they get so much love is the way that they play. They’re not a team that sits back, defends, trying to grind out results. When they go forward, they go forward with pace, energy, enthusiasm.”

Barton on Japan’s equalizer:

“There’s a pass with a purpose.

“All you do is just wrap your foot around that and hit that into the side netting … Nothing the goalkeeper can do – good movement; good awareness.”

Lalas adds that Senegal’s attack can be lethal:

“Up top, Mane, Niang and Sarr, these are three players that can put the fear of God into you at certain points, and they’ve got to do that on a consistent basis.”

Former England international Kelly Smith on her first impressions of Senegal:

“They’ve surprised me a little bit. You can just see the team spirit and chemistry with the dancing – I want to be a part of that.

“They’ve really come out strong.”

Lalas says Senegal is a team people enjoy watching:

“No stress for this Senegal team. You want to sing with them; you want to dance with them; you want to party with them; but ultimately, you want to watch this team.”

Seedorf says England and Belgium are in a good position, personnel-wise, heading into the final match of the Group Stage:

“It’s quite ideal for both coaches. They can rotate, put players in that they may need further ahead in the tournament, to get some rhythm. Because when you’re out for weeks and not playing, it’s not easy, when you have the call from the team, to perform. It’s an opportunity for those who have had less minutes to come in and do their thing.”

Munoz adds:

“They’re both through, so this is not going to be the game you wanted to see as a third game between these two nations – Belgium and England – two teams that have been doing great in this tournament, but they need to face bigger opponents.”

Lalas congratulates Panama on its first World Cup and first World Cup goal:

“The power of the World Cup – sometimes the scores don’t matter. The opportunity to be on the world’s stage, to show who you are as a culture and as a country … Wonderful celebration, wonderful to see. Congratulations to Panama for making it to the World Cup. Congratulations on a historic first goal. Just a wonderful, wonderful scene.”

Tomorrow’s Schedule (all times ET):

  • 9:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP LIVE (FOX and FS1)
  • 10:00 AM – Uruguay vs. Russia (FOX / JP Dellacamera and Tony Meola)
  • 10:00 AM – Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt (FS1 / Glenn Davis and Cobi Jones)
  • 12:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 1:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FOX and FS1)
  • 2:00 PM – Iran vs. Portugal (FOX / Derek Rae and Aly Wagner)
  • 2:00 PM – Spain vs. Morocco (FS1 / Mark Followill and Warren Barton)
  • 4:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TODAY (FS1)
  • 7:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP NOW (Twitter)
  • 10:00 PM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FS1)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP TONIGHT (FOX / airs at midnight in all U.S. time zones)
  • 12:00 AM – FIFA WORLD CUP MATCH DAY – 1 (FS1)
FOX Sports 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Broadcast Team

FOX Scores Most-Watched Non-U.S. Men’s Group Match on English-Language Television in Last 28 Years

Dramatic Germany-Sweden Match Leads FOX Sports to Most-Watched 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Day to Date
Germany’s Win Peaks at 6,736,000 Million Viewers on FOX

NEW YORK & MOSCOW – FOX Sports recorded its most-watched FIFA World Cup™ day to date for the 2018 tournament, with three Saturday matches averaging nearly four million viewers (3,875,000). Leading the day, the dramatic Germany-Sweden Group Stage match won by Germany, on a stunning stoppage-time goal from Toni Kroos, scored 5,397,000 viewers according to Nielsen Media Research. Including streaming, the match drew 5,636,000 viewers.

Peaking at 6,736,000 viewers, the German victory was the most-watched non-U.S. Men’s World Cup Group Stage match on English-language television since at least 1990.

Match viewership was up +108% from the 2014 World Cup Group Stage average, excluding U.S. matches (2,592,000) and up +189% from the 2010 World Cup Group Stage average, excluding U.S. matches (1,868,000).

In addition, Germany-Sweden was the most-watched English-Language soccer telecast since the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final™ on FOX (22,317,000 on FOX alone for the full telecast).

In other matches Saturday, Mexico beat Korea Republic, 2-1, delivering 4,646,000 viewers across FOX Sports platforms (4,433,000 on linear television), the second-most-watched match of this year’s tournament on FOX or FS1. Belgium routed Tunisia 5-2 in the early morning match of the day, delivering an average of 1,951,000 viewers, making it the most-watched early morning match of the 2018 tournament to date.

Through Match Day 10, World Cup viewership across FOX and FS1 is averaging 2,125,000 viewers:

  • +14% from the 2010 Group Stage average, excluding U.S. matches (1,868,000)
  • +2% from the average of the last four World Cups through Match Day 10, excluding U.S. matches (2,084,000)
  • +25% from the complete Group Stage average of the last four World Cups, excluding U.S. matches (1,704,000)

FOX Sports Saturday digital highlights include:

  • The Germany-Sweden match was the top-performing streaming match of the day, with an average minute audience of 239,000 and 689,000 unique streamers
  • Through Day 10, FOX Sports has delivered 906 million total minutes of streaming content (matches, shoulder programming and VOD)
NASCAR on FOX Logo

FOX NASCAR Bestows ‘The Byrnsie Award’ on Jimmie Johnson After Nearly Unanimous Vote

Award in Honor of Steve Byrnes Given to Seven-Time Champion on Sunday’s NASCAR RACEDAY on FS1

Mike Joy: ‘Jimmie’s drive to succeed and positive attitude so reminded us of qualities we most admired in Steve [Byrnes] and made Jimmie a nearly unanimous choice’

FOX NASCAR presented seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson with the fourth-annual “The Byrnsie Award” during Sunday’s NASCAR RACEDAY pre-race telecast from Sonoma Raceway on FS1.

In honor of late FOX NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes, whose nickname was ‘Byrnsie,’ the award was established to celebrate an individual in the MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES who embodies principles Byrnes demonstrated daily in his personal and professional life — preparation, teamwork and family within the garage area. Johnson was voted the recipient by Byrnes’ colleagues on the FOX NASCAR broadcast team, of which he was a member since the first race broadcast in February 2001. Byrnes passed away in April 2015 following a courageous battle with cancer.

“Growing up, many race fans now in their late teens wanted to be Jimmie Johnson, and Jimmie has been a great role model for them,” FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Mike Joy said. “This year, Jimmie’s character really shone through for his legions of fans, and for those who vote for The Byrnsie.”

Johnson is the first driver to be honored with Byrnes’ namesake award, which historically has gone to a crew member. Crew chief Rodney Childers won the inaugural award in 2015, spotter Chris Osborne in 2016 and crew chief Tony Gibson in 2017.

“While his team may sometimes struggle to post good finishes, Jimmie’s outlook, his demeanor, and his relationships with FOX and other NASCAR media remain very positive,” FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Mike Joy said. “That’s a behavior we look for in awarding ‘The Byrnsie.’ If Steve Byrnes was having a bad day, no one watching at home ever knew it. This year, Jimmie’s drive to succeed and positive attitude so reminded us of qualities we most admired in Steve and made Jimmie a nearly unanimous choice for this award.”

Byrnes’ son, Bryson Byrnes, introduced the award on-camera from the NASCAR RACE HUB studios in Charlotte, N.C.

While FOX NASCAR’s 2018 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race coverage concludes this weekend, live coverage of the entire NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES schedule continues through the end of the season. During the week, FS1’s NASCAR RACE HUB, NASCAR’s most-watched daily news and information program, continues throughout the season Mondays through Thursdays at 6:00 PM ET.