Sports media notes version 06.21.17: Here comes the sun … find a drafty NBA draft to cool off

The longest day of the year was Tuesday; Wednesday is the summer solstice, providing enough solar energy to entice you into shading yourself with perhaps our shortest list of midweek notes this year, heading into the sports media weekend.
But it’s quality, not quality:

== How ESPN plans to overkill it on Thursday’s 4 p.m. NBA Draft, the 15th year in a row for the network:
= Rece Davis, Jalen Rose, Michael Wilbon and Jay Bilas are on the main desk. Jay Williams does interviews/analysis. Allison Williams talks to the players after they have been picked. Jeff Goodman is a “breaking news” reporter, with Fran Fraschilla and Tom Penn are also on hand.
= ESPN has a draft preview show Wednesday at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.
= Also: The Pac-12 Network puts up its own NBA draft special following the event at 9 p.m. Thursday where Don MacLean can break down the conference picks with studio hosts Ashley Adamson and Mike Yam, plus reporter Lewis Johnson at the event in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

== NBCSN has the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ expansion draft as well as its annual awards show Wednesday at 5 p.m., and then the full-on NHL draft on Friday at 3:30 p.m. The net also has Kathryn Tappen and Paul Burmeister, plus Pierre McGuire doing commentary, for Wednesday’s production.

== The Dodgers’ Joe Davis goes to his Fox duties this weekend and lands the Angels’ game at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox (Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 11). AJ Pierzynski and Jon Paul Morosi join the broadcast going to 51 percent of the country, including L.A. Pittsburgh-St. Louis (Kenny Albert-Tom Verducci) and N.Y. Mets-San Francisco (Matt Vasgersian-John Smoltz-Ken Rosenthal) are the other two regional games.

PERSONNEL MOVES

== Fox Sports announced it has added Ray Lewis (aka: “ESPN bust” in some headlines) after his three-year run in Bristol, Conn., mercifully ended. The NFL Pro Bowl linebacker is first going to be inserted on FS1 daily L.A.-based shows starting Sept. 5. It does not appear, for now, that he’ll be part of the “NFL on Fox” Sunday pregame show as a regular. But why should he? The Sporting News reported it first this week.
Maybe he’ll be able to help Jason Whitlock with headgear selections.

== ESPN announced a new contract with Karl Ravech, which includes replacing Chris Berman on the MLB Home Run Derby every July and the lead voice on the Little League World Series and College World Series, as well as some ESPN Monday Night Baseball telecasts.

== HBO announced it has extended its contract with Soledad O’Brien to continue on “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,” where she has contributed since 2013. If the premium network was ever trying to lay any groundwork as a host to go into the Bryant Gumbel chair if/when he retires, she should be highly considered.

== NBC has added former UCLA track star and longtime track and field analyst Ato Boldon to its NASCAR coverage as a feature reporter starting with the July 1 race at Daytona Beach. He has been with NBC since 2007 and has done four Olympics. He was a 100-meter and 200-meter sprinter for Trinidad and Tobago at the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics, winninga silver and three bronze medals in that span. At UCLA, he was the NCAA champion in the 200 meters (1995, ’96), setting an NCAA record in the event in 19.92 seconds that still stands. He set the NCAA 100-meter record of 9.90 seconds in 1996.

EVENT COVERAGE

== NBC continues the America’s Cup racing this weekend in Bermuda as Emirates Team New Zealand has a 3-0 lead over two-time defending champion Oracle Team USA. The best-of-13/first to seven event is on NBC Saturday (Race 5 and 6, Channel 4, 10 a.m.) and Sunday (Race 7 and 8, Channel 4, 10 a.m.). If the U.S. wins one of these four there will be a need for racing on Monday (10 a.m., NBCSN) and perhaps Tuesday (same time, channel). Todd Harris is there with Nathan Outteridge and Chris Draper.

== Chris Marlowe, Kevin Wong and Dain Blanton call the AVP Seattle Open stop final — the men’s final has been televised the first three tournaments so far, so maybe it will be the women’s final this time — Sunday at 3 p.m. on NBCSN.

== Fox finishes off its part of the NASCAR coverage (its 17th straight season) with the Sprint Cup race in Sonoma (FS1, Sunday at noon; Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordin and Larry McReynolds in the booth) and the Xfinity Series event in Iowa (FS1, Saturday at 5:30 p.m., Adam Alexander, Phil Parsons and Regan Smith in the booth). The Camping World Truck Series will stay on Fox season (it’s also in Iowa this weekend, FS1 on Friday at 5:30 p.m. with Vince Welch, Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip). Sprint Cup and Xfinity move to NBC starting in July.

== With new technology improving the experience, ESPN has committed to 13 telecasts of the second season of the Drone Racing League, which started Tuesday this week on ESPN and ESPN2, repeats quite often, streams live on the ESPN app, is available on demand and runs through the championships on July 28. Watch and hold your stomach.

== As long as you’re gearing up for Wimbledon, there are couple more days left — if you get up early enough — to watch the Royal Ascot horse racing from England in rare U.S. live telecasts on NBCSN. It continues at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

== ESPN starts its Canadian Football League package, which not only is news to us, but it’s also on ESPNEWS — Saskatchewan vs. Montreal (Thursday, 4:30 p.m.) is followed by Calgary-Ottawa in a Grey Cup rematch (Friday, 4:30 p.m.). ESPN2 has games Saturday: the BC Lions against Edmonton (7 p.m.) and Hamilton-Toronto on Sunday (1 p.m.). ESPN uses broadcasters from TSN.

== NBC has decided to grab whatever piece of esports it can by announcing Wednesday it will … blah, blah, blah....

== On that note, should ESPN now stand for E-Sports Network? There Are Worse Ideas, says TubeFilter.com. But can the network handle all the “addiction and corruption” as the “price of its success?”

IN PASSING

== A statement from Fox Sports on the passing of Tony DiCicco, who added his expertise to the network’s women’s soccer coverage: “Fox Sports is deeply saddened by the loss of Tony DiCicco, the legendary women’s soccer coach who among his countless achievements led the U.S. teams to the Olympic gold in 1996 and to the FIFA Women’s World Cup championship in 1999. Following his iconic coaching career, he became an integral part of the FOX Sports family as a prominent television analyst, where he was beloved both personally and professionally. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. He will be deeply missed.”

LINKAGE WORTH A LOOK

== James Andew Miller, author of “ESPN: They Have All The Fun” history book, takes over in a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter to explain how some exec announcements at ESPN, including promoting 40-year-old Conner Schell as exec VP on content, is a “shake up” that “ushers in ‘New World Order.”

== What could be behind ESPN taking on a Manny Pacquiao non-PPV fight in Australia on July 1? Is it to save Pacquaio from an embarassing PPV payout? Here’s the official ESPN take on it all.

== Fox execs were “angry” with Troy Aikman for ripping Skip Bayless last year?  News must travel slow and deliberate.

== If you could watch Tony Kornheiser record a podcast, why would you not?

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

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