Scoop: REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL on HBO - Today, August 22, 2017
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, TV's most-honored sports journalism series, with a record 18 Sports Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Sports Journalism, returns for more enterprising features and reporting when the show's 245th edition debuts at a special time TUESDAY, AUG. 22 (11:00 p.m.-midnight ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
(DeMaurice Smith in his Washington, D.C. office.)
*The Union. In 2009, Washington, D.C. lawyer DeMaurice Smith came out of nowhere to succeed the late Gene Upshaw as executive director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). His victory seemed to signal a dramatic change: De Smith, as he is known, was going to take a more combative approach with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners. Two years after he assumed the reins of the union, the NFL locked out the players for four months until Smith and Goodell SIGNED a landmark, ten-year collective bargaining agreement. Since then, however, Smith has faced criticism for the NFLPA's concessions as Goodell has wielded power at the expense of the players.
With the regular season a few weeks away and the next NFLPA executive director election set for early 2018, host Bryant Gumbel goes one-on-one with DeMaurice Smith to discuss the state of pro football, its players and his tenure as chief.
Producer: Jake Rosenwasser.
(Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, Indiana.)
*Youth Sports, Inc. America's young athletes no longer play their biggest games against nearby towns. Instead, travel teams have fuelled an unprecedented sports tourism boom over the last decade, with millions of parents and their kids hitting the road for dozens of weekends a year to compete in soccer, baseball, lacrosse, basketball, volleyball and just about any other sport. In 2016, these families spent more than $10 billion on the road, spurring big spending on top-notch facilities to get a piece of the pie.
REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel takes a hard look at this robust youth sports boom and finds that even as more venues are built, fewer kids get to play in them, thanks to declining participation rates among families who can't afford to pay and play.
Producer: Nick Dolin.
(Zack Hample with correspondent Bernard Goldberg at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.)
*The Ball Hawk. When Zack Hample was 12 years old, a pitcher from his beloved New York Mets lobbed him a ball in the stands before a game at Shea Stadium, inspiring a passion that three decades later has made him one of the most polarizing fans in sports. Now 39, Hample has made ball-hawking his life's work, hauling in nearly 10,000 baseballs over the years. He has written three books on this obsession turned profession, runs a Youtube page about his hobby and even started a business in which he will, for a fee, accompany you to a game and guarantee you walk away with at least one ball.
His career is not without controversy. Hample's dedication to catching a FOUL BALL or home run - which can lead to a tantrum if he doesn't succeed - seems too obsessive to many. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg meets the man the New York Post called the most hated fan in baseball and learns more about the hobby that earned him the title.
Producer: Tim Walker.
*Isle of Man. The Isle of Man, a 226-square-mile island in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland, hosts motorcycle racing's most prestigious event, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. Each year, about 100 thrill-seeking riders navigate the Snaefell Mountain Course, a 38-mile course on public roads that weave up and over mountains and through tiny towns and villages, while traveling at speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour. Since the race began more than a century ago, 252 riders have lost their lives on the course. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel revisits the British Isles to learn more about this deadly race, which claimed another three lives this year.
Producers: Nisreen Habbal, Tim Walker.
On May 9, REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL received two Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence in 2016. The series was honored for Outstanding Sports News Anthology for the third time in four years and for Outstanding Sports Journalism for the 18th time, more than any other sports journalism TV program in history. REAL SPORTS has now won 31 Sports Emmy® Awards for production excellence during its 22 seasons on HBO.
The show received the Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism for its acclaimed exposé on the International Olympic Committee, which debuted in July 2016, days before the start of the Summer Games in Rio. The win marked REAL SPORTS' third significant journalism honor this year for the comprehensive report.
REAL SPORTS also won a 2016 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for its IOC coverage, and in March received the inaugural Peter Jennings Award from the Overseas Press Club, which honors the best TV, video or documentary on international affairs.
For up-to-the-minute updates about REAL SPORTS, follow on Twitter at @RealSportsHBO or join the conversation using #RealSports, and on HBO.com/realsports and facebook.com/realsports.
The executive producers of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL are Rick Bernstein and Joe Perskie.