NASCAR gets new TV deal
NASCAR has added two new partners and streaming elements to a seven-year media rights deal announced Wednesday that will run from 2025 through the 2031 season. The new media rights deal is worth $7.7 billion when the previously announced $1.1 billion agreement with CW is included, according to Sports Business Journal. NASCAR did not reveal monetary figures at the news conference held at the Music City Center one day before its season-ending awards ceremony. The Cup Series will include existing partners Fox Sports and NBC, which will feature a mix of broadcast and cable events. Five races will be on Fox and four on NBC, with the remaining races for those two partners to air on FS1 and USA Network. Warner Bros. Discovery and Amazon have also joined the new package. SBJ said the value of the new deal is a 40% increase over the 10-year, $8.2 billion deal NASCAR has with Fox and NBC that expires at the end of the 2024 season.
Salt Lake to host 2034 Games
Salt Lake City being preferred as a shoo-in to host the 2034 Winter Olympics was expected. The surprise was the IOC favoring the French Alps bid for the 2030 edition on Wednesday. Aiming to finalize back-to-back Winter Games hosts next year, the International Olympic Committee executive board has decided to enter exclusive talks with Olympic officials in France and the United States for Salt Lake City. Salt Lake was alone in the 2034 race to bring the games back to Utah, which hosted the 2002 Winter Games, and the American bid's support from all levels of government up to President Joe Biden was praised Wednesday. A French bid uniting the snowy Alps region and the French Riviera resort Nice came together only in the past few months to compete with Sweden and Switzerland for the IOC's support. The IOC also has now pointed the Swiss bid toward the 2038 Olympics with "privileged dialogue" status.
Mets, Severino reach deal
Free-agent pitcher Luis Severino and the New York Mets are finalizing a $13 million, one-year contract, according to a person familiar with the agreement. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because the team had not announced the deal. Severino is set to move across town following a horrendous season with the New York Yankees that was abbreviated by injury. A two-time All-Star, the 29-year-old right-hander went 4-8 with a 6.65 ERA in 18 starts and one relief appearance. Severino has spent his entire eight-year career in pinstripes, going 54-37 with a 3.79 ERA in 141 games, including 125 starts.
Donald returns as captain
Rory McIlroy and his teammates wanted it. The European tour wanted it. And, after some reflection, Luke Donald wanted it, too. Emboldened by seemingly unanimous backing, Donald accepted an offer to stay on as Europe's Ryder Cup captain for its defense of the 17-inch golden trophy in 2025 at Bethpage Black in New York. The 45-year-old Donald led the Europeans to a 16½-11½ victory over the United States outside Rome last month. As he was delivering his victory speech at Marco Simone, Europe's players -- led by McIlroy and Shane Lowry -- started a chant of "two more years." Donald will be the first to captain Europe in back-to-back Ryder Cups since Bernard Gallacher, who had three in a row (1991, 1993 and 1995).
Duke QB enters portal
Duke quarterback Riley Leonard entered the transfer portal on Wednesday, signaling his departure from the Blue Devils after two seasons as a starter. Leonard immediately becomes one of -- if not the -- most talented quarterback available in college football's transfer market. The move comes two days after Duke lost its head coach, Mike Elko, to Texas A&M. Also on Wednesday, Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall, a three-time Sun Belt Conference player of the year, entered the portal, and former Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson committed to North Carolina as a transfer. Leonard's 2023 season was cut short by ankle and foot injuries, but he helped lead the Blue Devils to a 4-0 start before being hurt on Duke's final offensive play of its 21-14 loss to Notre Dame. He finished this season throwing for 1,102 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in seven games. He also ran for 352 yards and four TDs. Last year, Leonard threw for 2,967 yards, 20 touchdowns and 6 interceptions and he ran for 699 yards and 13 scores as Duke went 9-4.
Vanderbilt fires OC
Vanderbilt Coach Clark Lea has fired offensive coordinator Joey Lynch and will be his own defensive coordinator for his fourth season. Lea announced the moves Wednesday night among a handful of changes to his coaching staff. Vanderbilt hired Lea to coach his alma mater in December 2020 from his job as defensive coordinator for Notre Dame. He helped the Fighting Irish reach the College Football Playoffs that season. The Commodores just finished Lea's third season at 2-10, including 0-8 inside the SEC. Vanderbilt finished 100th nationally scoring 22.8 points a game and 112th out of 130 teams averaging 318.9 yards offense per game.
Rattler headed to NFL
Quarterback Spencer Rattler, perhaps the brightest spot for South Carolina in a losing season, is giving up his final year in college for the NFL. Rattler, a fifth-year senior who spent his first three seasons at Oklahoma, announced his intentions Wednesday on social media. Rattler called his two years with the Gamecocks the best of his football life. He led South Carolina to consecutive wins over top 10-, potentially playoff-bound teams in Tennessee and Clemson in 2022, when the Gamecocks went 8-5. Rattler and the team had higher hopes this season, but a four-game SEC losing streak in September and October left them at 5-7. South Carolina fell to rival Clemson 16-7 this past Saturday night, when Rattler was pressured throughout the game and held to a season-low 112 passing yards. Rattler finished his career with 10,807 yards passing, 77 touchdowns and 32 interceptions.