Posts Tagged ‘Season Schedule’

The ongoing saga between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies continues to play itself out on social media.

After Klay Thompson called out Memphis big man Jaren Jackson Jr. following Golden State’s NBA Finals victory Thursday, a fan tweeted that a Warriors-Grizzlies Christmas Day matchup in San Francisco was a near-shoo-in. Memphis star Ja Morant responded, saying he wants that game at home.

Warriors forward Draymond Green then retweeted Morant, saying, “The champs play at home.”

Morant agreed to travel to San Francisco for the potential matchup, saying the league needs to “book (that) shit.”

The Grizzlies pushed the Warriors in a six-game series in the Western Conference semifinals despite Morant missing time with injury. Golden State went on to complete its quest for a fourth championship in the last eight seasons.

The NFL is examining new options to honor its top performers in place of a traditional Pro Bowl game, league commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday.

“The (Pro Bowl) game doesn’t work. We need to find another way to celebrate the players,” Goodell told reporters, including NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The NFL discussed eliminating the traditional Pro Bowl game during its annual spring meeting in Atlanta and is reportedly exploring the potential of showcasing the players without having a game.

A decision should come this summer after the league discusses the matter with players and its television partners, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Fans and players have heavily scrutinized the All-Star contest, citing the lack of intensity compared to a regular-season contest, with some players opting out of the game entirely.

The Pro Bowl has remained uncompetitive despite handing out incentives of $80,000 to players of the winning team and $40,000 to those on the losing team.

The league previously attempted to spice up the game by electing team captains and holding a fantasy football-style draft to assign each team’s roster. The exhibition contest even went virtual in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year’s edition of the game drew 6.69-million viewers across all platforms, making it the smallest audience since 2006, according to The Spun’sAndrew McCarty.

The NFL has played the traditional Pro Bowl game since 1938.

It doesn’t bother head coach Dan Campbell that his Detroit Lions are the only NFL team without a prime-time game in 2022.

“It’s awesome,” Campbell said Saturday. “One-o’clock games. It’s awesome – one o’clock. You knock them out, you go home, you get ready for the next opponent. You’re not waiting all day in the hotel, all night. Then you’re on a short week – it feels like. So, I’ve got no problem.”

All but two of the Lions’ games in 2022 are scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. Detroit will also host the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving at 12:30 p.m. The NFL hasn’t announced the date and time for the team’s Week 18 matchup versus the Green Bay Packers.

But Campbell also thinks the Lions might prove the NFL wrong and potentially have one of their contests moved to prime time.

“You can get flexed (Week) 5 to (Week) 15,” Campbell added. “Who says we can’t get flexed.”

Every NFL team must play a Thursday game during the season, which usually results in an appearance on Thursday Night Football. However, the Lions aren’t required to compete in a prime-time slot Thursday since they’re playing a Thursday matchup on Thanksgiving.

“Unattractive is not the right word,” Michael North, the NFL’s vice president of broadcast planning and scheduling, said Friday, according to Justin Rogers of The Detroit News.

“We certainly looked at schedules as we searched through the infinite space, somewhere in the 119,000 schedule (options) we looked at, was Detroit on the Monday Night Football schedule? Absolutely, yes.”

Detroit didn’t have a Pro Bowler on its roster last season, though four Lions players were named Pro Bowl alternates.

The Lions, who played one prime-time contest last year, went 3-13-1 in 2021 – Campbell’s first year with the team. It was the club’s fourth straight losing campaign.

The Boston Bruins finally know who they’ll face in the 2023 Winter Classic at Fenway Park.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will be shipping out to Boston for the Jan. 2 outdoor showdown, the visitors confirmed Wednesday.

Pittsburgh had been the Bruins’ expected opponent ever since the NHL announced in February that Boston would host. Fenway Sports Group, the company that owns Fenway Park and the Red Sox, purchased the Penguins in December 2021.

This will be the Penguins’ sixth outdoor game in franchise history and the Bruins’ fifth. It will also be the second Winter Classic at Fenway Park. Boston beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime during the first contest at the iconic ballpark back in 2010.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have reupped their commitment to playing annually at Wembley Stadium in London.

The Jaguars received formal approval Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Florida, to move forward with a three-year contract to play at Wembley, a deal that gives the small-market franchise exclusivity at one of the United Kingdom’s most iconic venues.

Jacksonville will have full control of the home game for the first time, a change that could mean increased local revenue for a team playing more than 4,000 miles (6,437 kilometers) from home. The Jaguars will be in charge of ticketing, merchandise sales and game-day management.

“It’s hard to believe it will have been three years since our last game at Wembley,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “But that changes this autumn, and we look forward to coming back to our London home.

“We have built a great fan base already in the U.K., and I look forward to that increasing as we reaffirm our commitment to the playing of one home game per season in the U.K. for the long term, as was always the ambition when we first played in 2013.”

Jacksonville played a “home game” at Wembley every year between 2013 and 2019 and would have played there again in 2020 had COVID-19 not halted international travel. The Jaguars returned to London last year and played one of two NFL games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Jaguars initially signed a long-term deal with the NFL that granted them extended territorial rights – essentially allowing sponsorship deals – in the U.K. and landed them ticket revenue from Wembley, an 86,000-seat venue.

The 8,500-mile round trip is significant for Jacksonville’s financial stability. The Jaguars credit about 11% of their local revenue to playing annually abroad.

Jacksonville’s ticket, television, sponsorship and stadium revenue streams are smaller than NFL teams in larger markets. Earning money in London helps offset some of the disparity, and the game remains a critical part of the team’s long-term plan.

The Jags have built a dedicated U.K. fan base, Union Jax, and have made significant investment in community programs and charitable initiatives overseas. They also earned Sport England funding to ensure these programs are delivered to the most vulnerable areas throughout the U.K.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Al Michaels is joining Amazon Prime Video to serve as play-by-play commentator for Thursday Night Football, according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.

Amazon Prime Video is set to take over the NFL’s Thursday package in 2022 after successfully bidding for its exclusive rights in the league’s last slate of media deals. Thursday Night Football has bounced between networks since its introduction in 2006; it most recently aired on Fox.

Michaels became available after Super Bowl LVI once his contract with NBC Sports expired. The 77-year-old had been with NBC Sports since 2006, serving as the voice of Sunday Night Football. Mike Tirico, the former voice of Monday Night Football, is set to take over NBC Sports’ Sunday broadcasts.

Amazon Prime Video previously landed Kirk Herbstreit to serve as its color commentator for Thursday Night Football. Herbstreit will continue to cover college football on ESPN in addition to his new NFL duties.

Unvaccinated MLB players won’t be able to play games in Toronto under current border restrictions, a source told Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith.

Players who haven’t received all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will reportedly be placed on the league’s restricted list for series in Toronto, which means they won’t receive pay or service time for games they miss.

Border restrictions for unvaccinated players were a significant discussion point during the recently resolved collective bargaining talks between the league and players’ association, with a few teams taking issue with the matter before relenting, Davidi adds.

Border restrictions won’t affect the Blue Jays’ current roster but could impact the club’s pursuit of potential offseason additions.

The Government of Canada lightened border restrictions on Feb. 28. Under the updated guidelines, unvaccinated travelers are still required to test on arrival, again on Day 8, and quarantine for 14 days.

The Blue Jays host their first series of the season beginning April 8 against the Texas Rangers.

Major League Baseball suggested to the Major League Baseball Players Association that a new collective bargaining agreement must be reached Tuesday to play a 162-game campaign with full pay and service time, sources told Evan Drellich and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

MLB also reportedly told the MLBPA that it intends to cancel another week of games if an agreement isn’t reached. The league already axed the first two regular-season series after the union rejected an offer on March 1 to end nine straight days of negotiating in Florida.

The two sides plan to meet again Tuesday after talking Monday, according to Drellich and Rosenthal.

The league reportedly proposed multiple options to reach a new CBA. However, one player said the talks favored MLB, and another major leaguer added that he’s done getting his hopes up, per Drellich and Rosenthal.

MLB offered to increase the competitive balance tax to $228 million at the start of the new deal and end with $238 million, sources told Drellich. He adds the league’s concession on the CBT comes with “major strings attached.”

The lockout has now lasted 96 days following the expiration of the old CBA at the beginning of December.

The Tampa Bay Rays‘ plan to split their home schedule between Florida and Montreal is off.

Team owner Stuart Sternberg said Thursday that the MLB executive council killed the plan, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin.

The proposal was under discussion for more than two years. Rays officials said it was their best long-term option and dismissed their chances of finding a new stadium in the Tampa area, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin.

Despite the setback, team co-president Brian Auld remains optimistic about the future.

“We’re absolutely committed to figuring it out,” Auld said. “If there’s one thing the Rays have been pretty good at over the years, it’s accomplishing things that people think we can’t do. So we’re going to bring every ounce of innovation and creativity and analysis we’ve got to solve this problem.”

Stephen Bronfman of Montreal Baseball Group reacted to the decision in a statement.

“While we are disappointed with MLB’s decision, we respect it. I am very proud of the work we’ve done together with our partners and friends in Tampa Bay,” Bronfman said.

Tampa Bay’s lease at Tropicana Field is set to expire after the 2027 season. The Rays would likely need to secure a new stadium deal by 2023 to be ready for Opening Day in 2028, Topkin adds.

Sternberg said attendance in the 2022 campaign could be a factor in deciding future plans.

The Rays owner also said he has no plans to sell the team and relocation is not part of his thought process, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Tampa Bay established itself as one of the best teams in baseball in recent years, making the postseason three consecutive times, including a World Series appearance in 2020. It reached the 100-win plateau for the first time in franchise history last year.

Countdown to the official announcement that the United States Football League will play its inaugural season in Birmingham has finally begun. Officials of the Fox Sports-owned league shared Monday that the league will reveal plans for its eight teams to play 43 games in the city this spring on January 25, at Protective Stadium.

The announcement comes two weeks after the city council unanimously approved a resolution for the mayor to execute an agreement with the National Spring Football League (the USFL’s ownership group) to provide up to $500,000 of in-kind services to mitigate the cost of playing eight to 11 USFL games at Legion Field (primarily police and fire services). The other games will be played at Protective Stadium.

A preliminary agreement between the NSFL and the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center (BJCC) for the games to be played at Protective was reached in October.

Subsequently, the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau committed up to $2 million to cover costs associated with the season—followed by the city of Birmingham and Jefferson County, each of which pledged up to $500,000 to support the cost of playing the games at Protective.

The league will use the stadiums for free, but will utilize at least 40,000 hotel room nights to house players, coaches, and league officials between April and July. The BJCC and Legion Field will generate revenue from concessions and parking and other areas.

The CVB projects the league to have an overall estimated economic impact on the city and region of $15 million.

Fox Sports has committed $150 million over three years to the USFL’s operations. It’s also the league’s official broadcast partner.

“The USFL choosing Birmingham as a host city will have a major economic impact on our city, metro area, and state,” said Councilor Hunter Williams.

Among the eight teams will be the Birmingham Stallions, a reincarnation of the team that was part of the original USFL, which lasted three seasons between 1983-84 and 1985-86.

The BJCC estimates costs to be $3,666.960 to host the league in a “bubble-like format. That includes weekly overhead ($1,019,600), weekly game day staffing ($1,436,150), weekly services provided by the City of Birmingham ($635,800), and equipment and labor for field conversions ($1,091,500).

“It’s a very exciting opportunity for the city of Birmingham and all stakeholders involved,” said CVB board chair Bill Murray.

In October, attorney Michael Davis of Balch & Bingham, which represents Fox Sports, spoke to the CVB board. “They [Fox Sports] thought [Birmingham] would be a perfect fit,” he said, “a perfect combination.”

Davis said it was possible the league may host as many as four teams in Birmingham during the USFL’s second year, with as many as four teams playing in their respective cities. In the third year, the teams will play in their own cities.

Last week the league unveiled a banner touting the Stallions on a parking garage near uptown.