NBC to Present the “Run for the Roses” Through 2025
NBCSN to Televise Kentucky Oaks and Additional Programming throughout Partnership
STAMFORD, Conn. – – NBC Sports Group and Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) have reached a 10-year agreement extending NBCSG’s exclusive rights to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks through 2025, it was announced today.
The 10-year renewal extends the partnership which began in 2001 and includes multiplatform rights to the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, and Derby and Oaks day programming which will be televised on NBC and NBCSN and featured on NBC’s digital platforms.
“We are excited to extend our partnership with Churchill Downs for both the iconic Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby and are proud to have them as signature elements of our Championship Season,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus. “This decade-long deal is a testament to the strength of the relationship between Churchill Downs Incorporated and NBC Sports, and underscores NBC’s commitment to the sport of horse racing. We will continue to utilize the wide-ranging media platforms of NBCUniversal to surround the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby with wall-to-wall coverage and extensive promotion.”
“This agreement extends our relationship with NBC to 25 years and includes what will be a very special historical moment, the 150th Kentucky Derby in 2024,” said Churchill Downs Chairman and CEO Bob Evans. “We will not only achieve our financial objectives with this deal, but we will also continue to benefit from NBC’s unique media assets and innovative perspective to help us continue to grow the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby brands.”
Utilizing NBC Sports Group’s “Big Event Strategy,” three of the last five Kentucky Derby races have recorded at least 16 million viewers. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby over the last 13 races averaged over 2 million more viewers than the previous 12 Kentucky Derby broadcasts (14.3 million vs.12.0 million, up 19 percent).
The Kentucky Derby stands as America’s oldest continuously held major sporting event; this year’s 140th Run for the Roses is
By Andy Sweeney
ESPN 680 Executive Producer, Host
The much anticipated 2014 schedule for Louisville football was released this afternoon. For as pitiful as this past year was, let's face it, this makes up for it and more. The ony problem...who plays QB?
September 1, 2014 (Monday)
Miami (FL) @ Louisville, 8:00pm
September 6, 2014
Murray State @ Louisville
September 13, 2014
Louisville @ Virginia
September 20, 2014
Louisville @ FIU
September 27, 2014
Wake Forest @ Louisville
October 3, 2014 (Friday)
Louisville @ Syracuse
October 11, 2014
Louisville @ Clemson
October 18, 2014
NC State @ Louisville
October 30, 2014 (Thursday)
Florida State @ Louisville
November 8, 2014
Louisville @ Boston College
November 22, 2014
Louisville @ Notre Dame
November 29, 2014
Kentucky @ Louisville
By Andy Sweeney
ESPN 680 Executive Producer, Host
Easily the most impressive performance against a legit opponent all season for the Cardinals. Here are some thoughts about tonight's 91-52 win over Houston, which improved the Cards to 15-3.
*Wayne. What was that? Blackshear scored 23 points tonight on 8-10 shooting…five of those three pointers. On top of that he came off the bench first the first time in 31 games. But with the good, let's all step back and be honest for a second. Can he keep this type of performance going? I don't mean 23 points and hitting fade away threes, but rather playing without fouling and remaining active in all aspects of the game. I got this text from multiple buddies tonight…"how many games will it take Blackshear to score 23 points"? Not sure but the last 5 games before tonight he totaled 32. No doubt the Cards need Wayne to be a more integral part of the rotation, not just a background character like the previous two seasons.
*Positivity. A general theme coming from 95% of Rick Pitino's press conference this year has been what this team CAN'T do. Following the Memphis game and leading into SMU, Pitino led the way in creating a more positive environment, and thus far it has worked. I spoke post game with Russ, Luke and Terry and all three credited Pitino on changing the tide the last week or so. To a certain extent, Pitino has to use kid gloves on this team, which is okay and seems to be working. They aren't last year’s team and that is also okay.
*Gill. If he can play alongside Henderson (Wichita) there's a chance he can contribute this season. But let's face it. Gill played 15 minutes tonight….he played a total of 14 minutes the past 8 games, including 4 DNP. At this point spot minutes would be a good start for Gill, especially with Chris Jones riding the pine.
*Chicken in the Bucket. 6 points, 5 rebounds in 21 minutes. He also was dunked on by Trez and almost had Levitch go "Pistol" as Pitino called it post game. Super nice kid, nice player but a long ways to go. Either way, Chicken made it to the Bucket.
*Start to Believe? It's a fair question as to when or even if we can start believing this team can be more than a round of 32 or Sweet 16 team. Tim Sullivan from the Courier-Journal asked Hancock that very question. Hancock, of course, had the coach speak answer, but it is a fair question. If this team beats UConn on the road (a team who just beat Memphis on the road) is it too early to believe? I'm not so sure but with positivity and options besides Jones emerging, give me Pitino in the Sweet 16 and I'll be the Cards advance to the Elite 8.
Next up...Cards @ UConn, 9pm on ESPN.
Via Louisville Basketball
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kevin Keatts, who joined the University of Louisville men's basketball staff in April 2011 as an assistant coach, has been elevated to Associate Head Coach for the Cardinals by head coach Rick Pitino.
“Kevin is one of the best assistants I have had in a long career,” said Pitino. “That's saying something with the great assistants I've had the extreme pleasure to work alongside. He has done an incredible job with all of our current players and recruits and naming him an associate is a much-deserved recognition for him.”
Keatts, who has won two national prep championships and was runner-up on three occasions as head coach at Hargrave Military Academy over eight seasons, has helped the Cardinals assemble two straight top ten recruiting classes. Since his arrival at UofL, the Cardinals have reached the NCAA Final Four twice — including winning the 2013 NCAA Championship — won two Big East Conference championships, and have a combined 79-18 record while winning a school-record 35 games last year.
ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, after surveying move than 200 collegiate coaches, named Keatts as the nation’s third most respected/feared assistant coach in a July 2013 listing.
Keatts’ success as a prep coach is staggering. In 10 seasons in two separate stints as the head coach at Hargrave (1999-2001, 2003-2011), he compiled an incredible 262-17 record with two national prep titles (2004, 2008), three runner-up finishes (2005, 2006, 2009) and two additional appearances among the final four prep teams (2007, 2010). Keatts won his second national prep title with a perfect 29-0 record, the school’s first ever undefeated season. His teams lost one or fewer games on six occasions. He was inducted into the Hargrave Hall of Fame in 2011.
Located in Chatham, Va., Hargrave produced 103 players who signed NCAA Division I men’s basketball scholarships during Keatts 10 seasons as a head coach — an average of over 10 a year — and an additional 18 advanced to play at the Division II level. Keatts coached current UofL senior Luke Hancock — the Most Outstanding Player of the 2013 NCAA Final Four — at Hargrave and had recruited current Cardinal sophomore Montrezl Harrell to Hargrave before joining the UofL staff.
Keatts has coached nine players at the prep level that have reached the NBA including Joe Alexander, Jordan Crawford, Josh Howard, Vernon Macklin, Mike Scott, Marreese Speights, Sam Young, David West and Korleone Young.
Keatts was a collegiate assistant coach at Marshall University for two seasons from 2001-03 under head coach Greg White. He was one of the coaches for the successful Gold Team at the 2011 Derby Festival Basketball Classic all-star game played in Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center.
His first coaching stop was as an assistant for one year at Southwestern Michigan College (1996-97). He moved on to become an assistant coach at Hargrave for two years (1997-99) before advancing as the schools’ head coach.
Keatts was a two sport standout in basketball and football at Heritage High School in Lynchburg, Va. and also excelled in basketball at Ferrum College. Keatts and his wife Georgette have two sons, Kevin (9) and Kaden (5).
By Andy Sweeney
ESPN 680 Host, Producer
Don't take these to bank, they're predictions sure to go wrong.
Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (11-5) -1
Pukey Analysis…KC started an impressive 9-0 but failed to play one playoff caliber QB during that stretch. In fact, the Chiefs played four straight back ups at one point. When they finally played better QB's (Manning, Luck, Rivers) they were a combined 0-5. One could argue the they peaked in September, not December. UPDATE: Hali questionable and Fischer out.
On the other side, Indy lost WR Reggie Wayne during week 7's win over Denver. In my estimation it took them 6-7 weeks to get comfortable running an offense without their primary weapon. During week 14's loss to Cincinnati I felt Indy was finally starting to rebound and look like the team we saw the first month of the season (326 yards through the air). Let's also not forget these two teams played just two weeks ago in a game Indy thoroughly dominated (winning on the road 23-7).
Pick…I'm not a believer that either team is a legit SB contender. But in the end I'll take Kansas City on the road to win 23-17. Why? I expect Jamal Charles to control the offense and the young KC D to do just enough to win (injuries may sway me closer to kickoff). More quality weapons will be needed for Luck and company going forward.
New Orleans Saints (11-5) @ Philadelphia Eagles (10-6) -3
Pukey Analysis…It's no secret the Saints have been woeful on the road this season at just 3-5. It's also no secret that when they face strong DL, they struggle (IE: Patriots, Jets, Seahawks, Rams, Panthers). But can we really trust a first year coach, a QB who takes over mid season, and a D that allowed 414 yards (356 passing) to Kyle Orton and the lowly Cowboys in week 17? I like the future of the Eagles plenty. In fact, I could see Chip Kelly become the next good young coach in the NFL, but not sure they win here.
Pick…I'll go against conventional wisdom and the "road" trend put forth by the Saints and pick Brees and company to win 24-21. Th real question here is how will the weather effect the game? Philly has already proven they can win in a blizzard. Vegas currently has Philly as a 3 point favorite. The Eagles are only 5-7 as favorites this season but 0-2 in their franchise history in the playoffs against New Orleans. In our ESPN 680 NFL preview magazine I took New Orleans all the way to Met Life in February so I'll have them moving on past Philly.
San Diego Chargers (9-7) @ Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) -7
Pukey Analysis…Doesn't this game simply come down to the play of Andy Dalton? In their five losses Dalton had 9 INT and that doesn't include his 4 pick
performance in week 17's win over Baltimore. It just seems if he protects the ball and makes 2-3 big throws Cincinnati wins this game. Additionally, these twoplayed 5 weeks ago and the Bengals dominated the line of scrimmage, rushing for 164 yards and holding Rivers to just his lowest output of the season (252 yards).
Pick…Cincinnati sports the better defense and running game. It will be cold. San Diego will be traveling across the country and playing in elements they can't find appealing. I'll give Dalton the benefit of the doubt and I'll take the Bungles 31-21.
San Francisco 49ers (12-4) @ Green Bay Packers (8-7-1) -3
Pukey Analysis…Interesting Vegas has the line going towards San Fran at -3. True, the Niners are playing as good as anyone in the postseason, but let's not forget that Aaron Rogers is healthy. As far as GB is concerned, throw out this seasons record. With Rogers at the helm GB is at least 3 wins better. So, in reality, you're looking at a team that's closer to 11-5 than their current record. On the flip side, the Niners have won six straight but none of those coming from playoff contenders.
Pick…I'm taking a bunch of underdogs and will continue that trend here. Give me GB at home to take care of business 29-27 in the best game of the weekend.
By Andy Sweeney
ESPN 680 Producer, On-Air Host
LOUISVILLE, Ky. --University of Louisville junior forward Chane Behanan has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of university policy. He will not practice or be involved in any team-related activities during his suspension.
A preseason All-American Athletic Conference selection, Behanan averaged 9.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, shot 50.7 percent from the field and totaled 54 steals as a sophomore last season while starting 37 games. He was named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team, producing a double-double against Michigan in the national championship game with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Listen to ESPN 680, ESPNLouisville.com, ESPN Radio App for FULL coverage of the news on Behanan being suspended.