Las Vegas has its first champion, Sunday Ticket has another bad week and the NWSL has a new attendance record.
For the first time since taking over Monday Night Football in 2006, ESPN has two games scheduled simultaneously. First up will be the Titans versus the Bills, which will kick off at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN, with the Vikings-Eagles kicking off at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. ESPN tonight will experiment with an approach that might seem at times more like NFL RedZone. During portions of both broadcasts, ESPN will activate a double box view that will allow viewers live look-ins of each game with Scott Van Pelt offering highlights and updates for both. There also will be a second score bug of Vikings-Eagles on ESPN and Titans-Bills on ABC to keep fans in the loop. Once the first game ends, ESPN will cut to SportsCenter hosted by Van Pelt who will offer extended looks at the last quarter of the Vikings-Eagles game. Good morning. It's Monday, September 19th. This is your SBJ Morning Buzzcast. I'm David Albright filling in for Abe Madkour.
Las Vegas never had a professional sports champion until Sunday. Chelsea Gray scored 20 points to lead the Las Vegas Aces to their first WNBA title and the city's first pro title in a 78-71 road win over the Connecticut Sun in Game 4. Gray was named finals MVP after averaging 18.3 points per game in the series. For Aces coach, Becky Hammon, who didn't get a title in her standout WNBA playing career, the ring completed a decades-long quest. She left an assistant coaching position with Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs to take over in Las Vegas. In the process, Hammon became the first WNBA coach to win a title in her first season as head coach. Ace's owner, Mark Davis, who also owns the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders, wasn't with his football team on Sunday. Instead, he was in Connecticut to get a trophy and celebrated with the team on the floor at Mohegan Sun Arena.
DIRECTV's NFL Sunday Ticket package malfunction for the second straight week causing fans trying to watch through the app or online to miss entire games. DIRECTV said via social media that customers trying to stream the 1:00 p.m. Eastern games were unable to through the app. Shortly after 4:00 p.m., they said that the server problems were fixed and that streaming could resume. But that came too little too late for those trying to view the seven early games. The outages did not affect customers watching via normal satellite service. A DIRECTV spokesman said the company will continue to monitor for server problems and apologized to customers for the inconvenience.
This is the final season that DIRECTV will be the exclusive carrier of Sunday Ticket. Amazon and Apple are among the bidders for the package of out-of-market games after Commissioner Roger Goodell said during the summer that he expected a new carrier. DIRECTV extended its contract in 2014 and pays $1.5 billion per season. The new package is expected to go for at least $2.5 billion per year. DIRECTV is expected to remain in the running for a package that can be sold to bars and restaurants.
The NWSL San Diego Wave beat Angel City FC 1-0 in front of 32,000 fans for the Wave's first game at San Diego State's Snapdragon Stadium on Saturday. The crowd was the largest in NWSL history, breaking the record of 27,248 set by OL Reign for a 2021 match against the Portland Thorns. The Wave rolled out skydivers, video board shout-outs from married actors, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, former NFL star, Drew Brees, and others decked out in club colors. There were fireworks and a Marine helicopter flyover. Wave forward, Alex Morgan, said, "It was such a beautiful moment to see San Diego embracing us as a women's professional soccer team so quickly, and the way they did, it was just a great moment."
NBPA executive director, Tamika Tremaglio, said that she was speaking on behalf of NBA players in calling for a lifetime ban of Suns owner, Robert Sarver. Tremaglio, on ESPN's NBA Today show said, "We do not want him in a position where he is managing or engaging with individuals who are engaging with our players or the players themselves." Tremaglio added, "It's our players' desire that while we understand that there has been a thorough investigation and while we're very pleased that the NBA was able to follow through on that, we also want to make it very clear that we do not want him to be back in a position where he will be impacting our players and those who serve our players on a daily basis." Tremaglio on the players potentially boycotting games said, "The union had not had those discussions."
LIV golfer, Phil Mickelson, called on a PGA Tour to work with the Saudi-backed series for the good of the sport. Mickelson said, "The best solution is for us to come together. I think that the world of professional golf has a need for the old historical history of the game product that the PGA Tour provides. Both are good for the game of golf, and the inclusion of LIV Golf in the ecosystem of the golf world is necessary." Michelson added, "The PGA Tour for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world, but that will never be the case again." Michelson's comments will be news to LIV Golf's CEO, Greg Norman, who last week declared that his offer to negotiate with the PGA Tour had lapsed. PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, has been consistent in refusing to meet with LIV Golf.
On the course, British Open champion, Cameron Smith, made his decision to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf pay off on Sunday when he closed with a 3-under 69 for a three-shot victory in the LIV Golf Invitational stop outside of Chicago. He won $4 million from the $20 million purse for individual play.
That's your SBJ Morning Buzzcast for Monday. I hope everyone has a great day, and we'll see you back here tomorrow morning.