October 2015 Network Highlights
Leading the ESPN lineup in October is the return of the NBA and the MLB Postseason including the World Series, plus more NFL and Rugby World Cup, the South Africa Cricket Tour of India, motor sports with NHRA Drag Racing and MotoGP, Euro 2016 Qualifying, international football from England, Germany, Italy and beyond, MLS and more
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (NBA)
The world´s best basketball tips off a new season on ESPN and ESPN2 with season coverage of the NBA
The National Basketball Association (NBA) tips off a new season in October, and as always it promises to be stellar. ESPN and ESPN2 are there with season coverage, airing LIVE and on short-turnaround, spotlighting all the top action from start to finish. Last season saw the Golden State Warriors - led by league MVP Stephen Curry and Finals MVP Andre Iguodala - claim their first NBA title since 1975, a 40-year drought they ended by finishing off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
It promises to be another spectacular season as the Warriors return to face a loaded Western Conference led by the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and a team never to be taken lightly, the San Antonio Spurs. Out East, the Cavaliers can expect the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards to make their march back to another NBA Finals anything but smooth.
NBA Wednesday and NBA Friday season coverage airs LIVE and on short-turnaround on ESPN and ESPN2, tipping off LIVE October 28 on ESPN2 and opening October 30 on ESPN.
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL (MLB)
The MLB Playoffs are here - catch coverage of the NL Division Series, NL Championship Series and opening games from the World Series LIVE on ESPN in October
October is an emotional month for fans of Major League Baseball (MLB), and for those with their team on the field in the MLB Playoffs, the feeling can only be described as pure joy. Coverage this month on ESPN features the National League (NL) Division Series and NL Championship Series, and the start of the best-of-seven World Series to crown a new champion.
The season has witnessed the usual ups and downs, surges and sinkholes, and the MLB Playoffs are sure to keep the rollercoaster hurtling along at full speed. The AL has seen the Kansas City Royals maintaining last season´s fine form, with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels all looking to block their path. Meanwhile, the defending champion San Francisco Giants have their hands full in the NL, where the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets, not to mention the seemingly unstoppable St. Louis Cardinals, all have their hearts set on nothing less than the NL pennant and a shot at a World Series title.
ESPN’s MLB coverage airs all season, LIVE or on short-turnaround, with October featuring coverage of the MLB Playoffs and opening games from the World Series. Coverage airs LIVE and taped on ESPN2.
Schedule: NL Division Series October 10 NL Championship Series October 17 - 25 MLB World Series (best-of-seven) October 27, 28, 30, 31, continuing in November if necessary MLB Playoff and World Series games air LIVE; Times TBD.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE (NFL)
LIVE coverage of the NFL continues on ESPN/ESPN2 featuring top talents in action led by the Colts vs. the Patriots, Seahawks vs. the Lions and much more
October features more LIVE coverage on ESPN/ESPN2 of the National Football League (NFL), and with only 16 games to insure a playoff berth, every one of them counts. Whether because of players, coaches, location or history, rivalries fuel every sport and the NFL is no exception. October is a good month to see one of the best as the Indianapolis Colts host the defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots (airing LIVE on ESPN2). When star QB Peyton Manning, now with the Denver Broncos, was with the Colts, his matchup with Tom Brady featured two future Hall of Famers. The arrival of Andrew Luck to the Colts - and given the controversy surrounding last season´s AFC Championship Game - keeps this matchup sizzling hot.
Other top games this month feature the Detroit Lions facing the Seattle Seahawks, the latter Super Bowl winners in 2014 over the Broncos as well as runners-up last season to Brady and the Pats, while mid month features the San Diego Chargers hosting the always dangerous Pittsburgh Steelers, putting two top quarterbacks, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, respectively, center stage. And closing the month are the Arizona Cardinals, a team on the rise, hosting the Baltimore Ravens.
Coverage of the NFL airs LIVE all season on ESPN/ESPN2. Games airing on short-turnaround on ESPN air LIVE on ESPN2.
Schedule: LIVE coverage - Host team shown first
Oct 4 08:15pm New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys
Oct 5 08:15pm Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions
Oct 11 08:15pm New York Giants vs. San Francisco 49ers
Oct 12 08:15pm San Diego Chargers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Oct 19 02:00am Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots (S)
Oct 19 08:15pm Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants
Oct 26 02:00am Carolina Panthers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (S)
Oct 26 08:15pm Arizona Cardinals vs. Baltimore Ravens
Games airing on (S) Short-turnaround on ESPN air LIVE on ESPN2
IRB RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015 - The Rugby Championship 2015
The action never stops - closing coverage on ESPN/ESPN2 from the Rugby World Cup
October brings more hair-raising action, airing LIVE and on short-turnaround on ESPN/ESPN2, of the biggest event in international rugby, the Rugby World Cup 2015 (RWC 2015). This is the eighth RWC, the quadrennial rugby union world championship, which is being hosted this year by England, winners of the title in 2003 and runners-up to champions South Africa in 2007.
England, South Africa, Ireland, Australia and Wales are among the 20 skilled teams continuing their battle this month for the most prestigious trophy in world rugby, with New Zealand´s fearsome All Blacks leading the charge as they seek to defend their hard-won title from 2011, which they narrowly claimed over France.
The 2015 event is featured on ESPN with 32 matches airing September 18 to October 31, followed by the quarterfinals, semifinals and the Final, to be played at Twickenham on October 31. Coverage airs LIVE on ESPN, with select matches also airing LIVE on ESPN2.
Schedule: LIVE coverage
Oct 1 02:45pm RWC 2015: France vs. Canada
Oct 1 08:00pm RWC 2015: Wales vs. Fiji (S)
Oct 2 08:00pm RWC 2015: New Zealand vs. Georgia (S)
Oct 3 02:45pm RWC 2015: England vs. Australia
Oct 4 03:00am RWC 2015: South Africa vs. Scotland (S)
Oct 4 11:30am RWC 2015: Ireland vs. Italy
Oct 6 11:30am RWC 2015: Canada vs. Romania
Oct 7 11:30am RWC 2015: South Africa vs. USA
Oct 10 09:15am RWC 2015: Samoa vs. Scotland
Oct 10 02:45pm RWC 2015: England vs. Uruguay
Oct 17 10:45am RWC 2015: B1 vs. A2 Quarterfinal
Oct 17 02:45pm RWC 2015: C1 vs. D2 Quarterfinal
Oct 30 03:45pm RWC 2015: Third Place
Oct 31 10:45am RWC 2015: Final at Twickenham Stadium, London, England
(S) Short-turnaround; (R) Re-air
BCCI CRICKET - South Africa in India
Cricket action on ESPN features LIVE coverage of South Africa in India
Featured LIVE on ESPN in October and November is coverage of South Africa in India, as the skilled South African cricket team makes what is sure to be an entertaining tour of India. The tour will feature four Test Matches, five One Day International (ODI) and three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches.
This highly-anticipated tour will be the first time a four-match Test series between these two cricket powerhouses has been played in India, and the first time that South Africa will play a T20I against India in India. Among other locations, Delhi and Bengaluru will host Tests, while Chennai, Rajkot and Mumbai are three of the ODI hosts.
ESPN presents LIVE coverage opening October 2 and continuing in November. NOTE: Times subject to change.
Schedule: LIVE coverage
Oct 2 09:50am South Africa Cricket Tour of India
Oct 5 09:50am South Africa Cricket Tour of India
Oct 8 09:50am South Africa Cricket Tour of India
Oct 9 11:20pm South Africa Cricket Tour of India
Oct 14 03:50am South Africa Cricket Tour of India
Oct 18 03:50am South Africa Cricket Tour of India
Oct 22 03:50am South Africa Cricket Tour of India
Oct 25 03:50am South Africa Cricket Tour of India
NOTE: Times subject to change
MOTOR SPORTS - MotoGP and NHRA Drag Racing
Challenging circuits in Japan, Australia and Malaysia take center stage with ESPN´s continuing LIVE coverage of MotoGP
MotoGP, the best Grand Prix motorcycle racing series on the planet, continues LIVE on ESPN in October, making stops at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan, Philip Island in Australia, the legendary home of Australian motor sport, and Sepang, Malaysia, a circuit built for speed and exciting racing, making it one of the best in the world. October racing sets the stage for the season-closer next month in Valencia, and it promises to be a nail-biter right up to the final checkered flag.
2015 has featured a three-way battle of champions that has delivered big thrills at every stop. At Brno in mid August it was Spain´s Jorge Lorenzo taking the win, his fifth on the season, and moving top of the standings in a tie with Italy´s Valentino Rossi on points, with the Italian having won three races. Two-time defending champion Marc Márquez had also claimed three races at that point, meaning this month´s racing and the season-ender in Spain are going to be decisive for all three riders and electrifying for fans.
ESPN/ESPN2 present full season coverage, airing LIVE, on short-turnaround or taped, of the 18-race MotoGP season. Stay tuned next month for the season-closer from Valencia, Spain.
Schedule: LIVE coverage
Oct 13 12:30pm Motul Grand Prix of Japan - Twin Ring Motegi, Japan (S)
Oct 17 11:00pm Pramax Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix - Philip Island, AUS
Oct 26 02:00pm Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix - Sepang, Malaysia (S)
Races air LIVE except (S) airs on Short-turnaround
The Countdown to the Championship continues - supercharged NHRA Drag Racing continues on ESPN
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues on ESPN in October with more supercharged race action from the Countdown to the Championship. Starting in September at the NHRA Carolina Nationals and wrapping at the season-closer in Pomona in November, the six-race playoffs feature only the top 10 drivers in each category, who vie for world championships in all the top divisions, led by the fuel-injected action in Top Fuel and Funny Car.
By late August it was defending and eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher leading the pack in Top Fuel. Intent on keeping Schumacher from making it nine are past division champions Larry Dixon and Antron Brown, not to mention Doug Kalitta and Richie Crampton, both enjoying solid seasons. In Funny Car, defending series champion Matt Hagan has been burning up the track, with Jack Beckman, Tommy Johnson, Del Worsham and race legend John Force in a tight pack behind the leader.
ESPN/ESPN2’s season coverage of the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series includes both qualifying and race day action; final eliminations are featured at each stop. Races air on short-turnaround.
Oct 5 03:00pm NHRA Keystone Nationals - Reading, PA
Oct 19 12:00pm AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals - Dallas, TX Races air on Short-turnaround
INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL - Euro 2016 Qualifiers
Euro 2016 Qualifying continues on ESPN/ESPN2 this month with Matchdays #9 & #10 airing LIVE and on short-turnaround
Euro 2016 Qualifying takes the final steps towards determining the 23 finalists who will be joining France next summer with this month´s action from Matchdays #9 and #10, airing LIVE and on short-turnaround on ESPN/ESPN2. As of September, teams looking good to advance included holders Spain and Group C rivals Slovakia, a soaring England, solid sides from Wales, Iceland, Croatia and Austria, and some familiar talents led by Germany, Italy and Portugal.
Germany, the reigning World Cup champions, have been hotly challenged in Group D by Poland, while Portugal and Denmark have waged an entertaining battle for the top spot in Group I. More surprising has been a struggling Netherlands squad, a recognized power in world football who remain in the race in Group A behind Iceland and the Czech Republic. The nine group winners, nine runners-up and the best third-placed side qualify directly for the final tournament in France, with the eight remaining third-placed teams contesting playoffs in November to determine the last four qualifiers.
Euro 2016 features a qualifying competition, playoffs, and the final tournament. Coverage on ESPN/ESPN2 airs LIVE and on short-turnaround throughout the qualifying stage. Most matches airing on short-turnaround on ESPN air LIVE on ESPN2.
Oct 8 02:30pm Euro 2016 Qualifying: Republic of Ireland vs. Germany
Oct 8 08:00pm Euro 2016 Qualifying: Portugal vs. Denmark (S)
Oct 9 02:30pm Euro 2016 Qualifying: Spain vs. Luxembourg
Oct 10 12:00am Euro 2016 Qualifying: Moldova vs. Russia (S)
Oct 10 11:50am Euro 2016 Qualifying: Azerbaijan vs. Italy
Oct 11 01:00am Euro 2016 Qualifying: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Wales (S)
Oct 11 02:30pm Euro 2016 Qualifying: Poland vs. Republic of Ireland
Oct 11 04:45pm Euro 2016 Qualifying: Serbia vs. Portugal (S)
Oct 12 11:50am Euro 2016 Qualifying: Russia vs. Montenegro
Oct 12 02:30pm Euro 2016 Qualifying: Ukraine vs. Spain
Oct 13 02:35pm Euro 2016 Qualifying: Netherlands vs. Czech Republic
Oct 13 04:45pm Euro 2016 Qualifying: Wales vs. Andorra (S)
Matches, TBD at a later date, will air LIVE or on Short-turnaround
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
The Barclays Premier League continues LIVE on ESPN
English football´s top level of play, the Barclays Premier League, continues LIVE on ESPN, and it shows signs of being a hugely competitive season. The title chase last season was pretty much all about Chelsea, who led wire-to-wire, with Manchester City making a brief insurgence mid-season. But given that Chelsea were the third different Premier League champion in three seasons, with Manchester City and Manchester United claiming the other titles, there´s reason to expect parity and drama in the new season.
The offseason saw Chelsea swap Didier Drogba for Radamel Falcao, but do little more. Manchester City brought in Liverpool´s Raheem Sterling, who should provide some creative spark up front, and Manchester United made a flurry of additions, not the least of which is the addition of top-quality veterans Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield. Arsenal, meanwhile, have brought in famed keeper Petr Cech, making a four-way battle for the title a real possibility, with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur also expected to be in the mix.
ESPN’s coverage of the English Premier League airs all season, LIVE and on short-turnaround, featuring 1-2 matches per week. Also featured are select matches from the Capital One Cup. Some matches re-air in prime. NOTES: EPL not available to cruise lines; matches airing on short-turnaround/taped on ESPN Caribbean will air LIVE on ESPN2 Caribbean. Some matches TBD; dates/times subject to change.
Schedule: LIVE coverage
Oct 3 09:55am Barclays Premier League
Oct 17 07:40am Tottenham Hotspur vs. Liverpool
Oct 19 02:55pm Swansea City vs. Stoke City
Oct 24 09:55am Barclays Premier League
Oct 27 03:40pm Capital One Cup - Round 4
Oct 28 03:40pm Capital One Cup – Round 4
Oct 31 08:40am Chelsea vs. Liverpool
*NOTE: English Premier League not available to cruise lines; dates/times subject to change.
MORE INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL - German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1 and Dutch First Division
International football continues on ESPN/ESPN2 with weekly coverage from Germany, Italy, France and more
The world’s top football leagues grab the spotlight all season on ESPN/ESPN2 with weekly action continuing from the German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, French Ligue 1 and Dutch First Division.
Known for quality and consistency, the German Bundesliga remains a force in world football. Still, although it is home to some very skilled sides, doubts remain if any team has the strength to dethrone Bayern Munich, winner of the last three league titles. Italian Serie A has been much the same story in past years, with mighty Juventus taking the last four ¨scudetti¨ and opening this season with a 2-0 win over Lazio in the Italian Supercoppa.
The French Ligue 1 also saw Paris Saint-Germain win the league title for the third straight year, although with rumors swirling around the possible departure of Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic - with a move back to Italy´s AC Milan just maybe in the works - things could change this season. And in the Dutch First Division, holders PSV Eindhoven will be looking to stay ahead of rivals Ajax, one of the most legendary clubs in world football.
Catch weekly football coverage from around the world airing LIVE and on short-turnaround throughout the season on ESPN and ESPN2; dates/times TBC closer to airdate.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER (MLS)
October wraps the MLS regular season with final action airing LIVE on ESPN
Major League Soccer (MLS) wraps the regular season this month, with the last day of the season, October 25, featuring the debut of Decision Day, with five games in the Eastern Conference played concurrently, followed by five Western Conference games, also played concurrently. This all-day soccer extravaganza closes the regular season and sets the stage for an expanded field of 12 teams to advance to the MLS Playoffs.
The arrival of renowned English talent Steven Gerrard gave the defending MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy a boost back in July, creating playoff hopes among fans if the team can stay in step with other Western challengers like the Vancouver Whitecaps, Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers. In the East, D.C. United has held on to the top spot most of the season, but the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution have come on strong in the last part of the season.
Coverage of Major League Soccer airs all season, LIVE and on short-turnaround, on ESPN and ESPN2.
Schedule: LIVE coverage - Host team shown first
Oct 18 05:00pm Major League Soccer - Teams TBD
Oct 25 05:00pm Major League Soccer - Teams TBD
WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION (WNBA)
The WNBA crowns a new champion with the WNBA Finals airing on ESPN
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) wraps another supercharged season this month with coverage of the WNBA Finals airing on ESPN. The Western Conference has seen clear dominance by the Minnesota Lynx - led by 2014 league MVP Maya Moore - and the defending champion Phoenix Mercury, who haven´t missed a step behind All-Stars Brittney Griner and Candace Dupree in the absence of star shooter Diana Taurasi.
A tighter battle has been waged out East, where the 2012 WNBA champion Indiana Fever and the Chicago Sky - with the Sky´s Elena Delle Donne burning up the court and moving out front as the league´s scoring leader - have been hotly challenged by the surging New York Liberty and Washington Mystics.
Coverage of the WNBA airs all season on ESPN/ESPN2, LIVE or on short-turnaround, with coverage this month of the WNBA Finals airing on ESPN.
Oct 4 03:00pm WNBA Finals - Game #1 (L)
Oct 6 08:00pm WNBA Finals - Game #2 (L)
Oct 9 08:00pm WNBA Finals - Game #3 (L)
Oct 12 09:30am WNBA Finals - Game #4* (S)
Oct 14 08:00pm WNBA Finals - Game #5* (L)
(L) Live; (S) Short-turnaround *If necessary
ESPN’s roundtable talk show, ESPN FC, continues five days a week, Monday to Friday. Viewer email helps set the agenda as a variety of entertaining hosts - fronted by Tommy Smyth, Shaka Hislop and a top-flight lineup of world football experts - debate the game’s hottest issues.
This popular program reviews weekend matches and previews upcoming mid-week action from the UEFA Champions League, Copa Libertadores and other notable national/international matches. Also spotlighted are recaps of mid-week matches and previews of upcoming weekend matches, plus a weekly studio segment from the United Kingdom.
ESPN FC airs Monday to Friday at 7:00pm, joined by a Sunday program airing in the evening.
NOTE: All TIMES EASTERN. ALL SCHEDULES SUBJECT TO CHANGE. PLEASE CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS.