Sports networks are yearning for content in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and, while much has been made of programming decisions like ESPN’s shifting broadcast window for The Last Dance documentary, those choices represent only a small piece of the pie at this time. For NBC and its empire, the absence of the 2020 Olympics will leave a gaping hole in the broadcast calendar this summer but, while there is at least some hope that other sports will be rolling by then, NBC Sports is making a big-time content play for April.
On Thursday, NBC announced the decision to present “nearly 100 hours of historical Olympic Games moments from the past 30+ years,” beginning on April 13. The first week will include nightly primetime programming from the last two summer games, with April 13-15 focusing on a “Return to Rio” from 2016 and April 16-18 centering on a “Return to London” and the 2012 games.
From Monday, April 13, through Saturday, April 18, NBCSN will present nightly primetime programming from the 2016 Rio Games and the 2012 London Games, highlighting memorable Olympic moments and athletes, including Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, Katie Ledecky, Allyson Felix, Kerri Walsh Jennings, and many others. On Sunday night, NBCSN will feature two Olympic Films at 10:30 p.m. ET. From there, NBCSN will air a pair of documentary films on April 19.
When the first week is over, the content will continue, first with two nights of a “Return to Beijing” that will highlight the 2008 games. Then, the broadcast will shift to what NBC describes as “dynasties” with one night dedicated to USA men’s basketball, one night for USA women’s basketball, and two nights of programming focused on USA women’s gymnastics.
As one might guess, some of the biggest names in the sports world will be prominently featured, ranging from Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky in the pool to Simone Biles, Usain Bolt and countless others. It would be fair to say that there is nothing that can quite replace the feel of live Olympic action and individuals from around the globe paying close attention in unison but, in short, it makes a ton of sense for NBC Sports to put this kind of content on the air and it seems like a safe bet to project a ratings uptick as a result of the decision.
The thrill of seeing elite gamers throwdown, tossing out barbs and leaning into both team rivalries and the delightful chaos of a head to head match returns on Friday with the return of Call of Duty League, offering all the excitement of standard tournament play from the comforts of the homes of pros that are taking to the virtual battlefield.
Call of Duty League has been on pause since its March 8 event in Los Angeles due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the month off has allowed the organization to retool its setup to work at home. A lot has happened in the interim in the Call of Duty world. More than 30 million people have played the game’s Warzone battle royale mode and Playstation gamers have gotten a remastered Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
For the pros playing in CDL, however, the time off has been all about watching film, staying in shape, and honing skills that give them an edge in competition. Practices and scrimmages have continued, and there’s been a good amount of pickup gaming among pros to keep sharp. Having matches on the schedule is certainly welcome news for pros itching to get back to competition.
“It feels great, to be honest because just practicing without a tournament in sight or a goal in sight gets kind of tiring,” New York Subliners ace Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi told Uproxx. “Right when the schedule was announced it was a rejuvenation of energy.”
Here’s what to expect on Friday and moving forward for Call of Duty League.
The league’s inaugural season launched in January to raucous crowds, but Friday marks the return to tournament play with an online-only format that presents some interesting challenges for squads. Though teams will still “host” tournament weekends, each group will play from home on CDL servers while the action is streamed around the world.
Online play brings potential latency problems, but the league has protocols in place to combat this and ensure competitive balance between teams. CDL hopes it can return to LAN events before the season ends in July, but stressed it wants to keep its players and fans safe while providing fair competition for all sides. According to pros, though, the real change is taking the crowd out of the equation.
“The biggest difference is just not having the energy of an arena filled with fans and the energy that brings,” Accuracy said. “That hype when you step up on that stage, you go into a different zone. Now we have to get into that zone from the comfort of our bedroom or wherever we’re playing.”
Accuracy lives in New York with his teammate, Dillon “Attach” Price. They’ll play from their apartment once the Subliners start play against Chicago on April 24, and he said it’s a mental game to keep focused on the magnitude of each match regardless of where you’re playing.
A Welcome Opportunity
Call of Duty League has a unique opportunity in its return because it’s one of the few sports organizations that can safely hold competitions. It’s certainly not lost on anyone involved that there will be a big chance to attract new fans. Twitch streaming numbers are up as people look for things to watch, and though online-only competitions mean fewer camera angles, the action will feature casters and live gaming to watch on the league’s YouTube page.
It’s also a chance for CDL to offer a competitive, professional product at a time when people are looking for new and exciting distractions, as indicated by league commissioner Johnna Fries in a statement.
“I spent many years at the NFL, and saw firsthand how sports can lift the human spirit,” Faries said in a statement. “No one wants to be in this situation, but we are, and we’re thankful that Call of Duty League can forge ahead and deliver live competition to fans when it’s probably needed most.”
Crowded At The Top
There’s no surprise when it comes to what teams to keep an eye on this weekend and beyond. The Chicago Huntsman have lived up to the hype and are tied with the Atlanta FaZe for first place in the league. Just below them with 80 points is the Dallas Empire, while Minnesota Røkkr sit with 70 points in fourth place. Those four are the ones to beat through the season’s home stretch, and whether Atlanta and Chicago can shake off the rust and stay at the top of their game will largely determine how the season plays out.
“This late into the season we know which teams are really good and which teams are at the top top. ” Accuracy said. “Faze, Dallas and Chicago are the teams everyone has had their eye on. Those are the ones that everyone is like, ‘OK we have to really focus up for this match.”
Notable Additions And Exclusions
One big change for the Subliners — who have struggled and are tied for last place this year — is the addition of Makenzie “Mack” Kelley, an amateur who turned 18 and became pro-eligible in 2020.
Accuracy raved about Mack and the energy he’s brought to Subliners practices.
“Him being that fresh young talent and bringing that new vibe to our team definitely helped us a lot,” Accuracy said. “He also gave us a new perspective on the game compared to how we were playing before. So being able to combine that with how we were playing previously definitely leveled our team up a lot.”
New York will have a bit more time to prepare for their next shot at tournament play as it’s one of four teams not playing in the tournament this weekend, including top-ranked Atlanta, the London Royal Ravens and OpTic Gaming Los Angeles. But that doesn’t mean it’s a weekend off for anyone in Call of Duty League.
“I love watching film. It’s one of the biggest things that’s helped me get better as a player,” Accuracy said. “And I’m gonna be watching these matches religiously this weekend, dissecting everything I can to take it back to our team and see what we can pick up on.”
The action kicks off Friday 4/10 at 4pm EST. You can tune in all weekend through Sunday and follow the rest of the season here on Uproxx.
It’s a stacked week in hip-hop as rappers continue to take advantage of the downtime provided by social distancing to finish up their projects and capitalize on a very-close-to-literally captive audience. It’s also an extremely women-centric week, as not just one, but three women add to the rapidly growing canon of female focused rap music.
At all of 19 years old, the Louisville, Kentucky rapper first garnered attention with his “Old Streets” freestyle, leading to a deal with Warner Records. His debut EP for the label features G Herbo, Lil Durk, and YFN Lucci, along with the single “Faxts” and a remix of “Old Streets.” He balances singing and rapping throughout his catalog, rhyming about the struggles and trauma of growing up in Louisville, in his words, “really starving.”
Asian Doll — Doll SZN Reloaded
10 projects deep into her career, Asian Doll is still ripping through fierce, no-holds-barred verses alternating between gritty, street-centric boasts and vulnerable, autobiographical rap ballads about her upbringing in Dallas, Texas. The EP is her first since splitting with Gucci Mane’s label, 1017. It features one guest appearance from King Von and all of her usual acerbic, unapologetic attitude.
Kari Faux — Lowkey Superstar
The title of Kari Faux’s latest is no fluke; as a veteran of the original early 2010s blog rap boom, she’s been around and buzzing for nearly eight years. Springboarding off of the success of her 2019 EP, Cry 4 Help, Kari’s billing Lowkey Superstar as her coming out moment as she comes into herself and overcomes some of the anxiety that’s held her back at parts of her career. As she admitted on her Instagram, she almost psyched herself out of releasing the project — let’s all thank our lucky stars she didn’t.
Kierra Luv — Take It Or Leave It
The third woman on this week’s list comes from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and raps like her life depends on it. She’s been co-signed by Cardi B, counts Diddy, Lil Wayne, and Nelly as her influences, and spits rapid-fire, complex raps with the mentality of a rapper several years her senior. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention? She’s only 18 years old. You might not guess it to hear her spit; she’s got an old soul and a flow to match — but she’s not a stuck-in-the-’90s rapper either, more than comfortable with modern styles.
Smoke DZA — Ringside 8
The prolific Harlem, New York rapper who calls himself “the Kush God” has dropped an absolutely unreal number of projects over the years — this one is his second of 2020. Fortunately, it’s a quick listen at just five songs, paying homage to his love of wrestling with producer 183rd. Sampling wrestlers’ intro themes — including Goldberg, Sting, and The Nation Of Domination — DZA raps clever, cool bars about his luxury lifestyle with all the slickness of a New York City hustler.
Tory Lanez — New Toronto 3
The final project on his Interscope deal, New Toronto 3 finds the Torontonian going solo for 14 of its 16 tracks. With the success of this Quarantine Radio livestreams, it’s likely to be one of his most successful projects as well.
YSN Flow — Flow SZN
At all of 16 years old, he’s one of the youngest buzzing rappers in the game, but he’s proved he deserves the looks. With a style reminiscent of New York’s Lil Tjay, and a gift for singsong melodies and sharply observant bars, he’s got a cross-generational appeal blended with a fresh outlook.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.
No sports entity has been more defiant about continuing to hold events despite the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic than the UFC — well, unless you count WWE. Dana White has been insistent on UFC 249 still taking place on April 18, despite stay-at-home orders in most states currently lasting through April 30.
BREAKING: UFC 249 has been canceled. All UFC events postponed indefinitely, due to COVID-19. Dana White says he was ready to promote the event but things were taken out of his control. Much, much more on this to come.
It is, ultimately, the right decision for the safety of all involved and may save UFC from a self-induced disaster should there have ended up being a fighter that competed and then later tested positive. Now, there will not be any fights happening in the near future, as UFC now finds itself dealing with the same uncertainty about when it can return as every other league and entity.
Despite not fighting in more than three years, Domnick Cruz is stepping immediately into a title fight at UFC 250 when he squares off with Henry Cejudo for the bantamweight crown.
Dear @HenryCejudo, The real king has already been told that we’re fighting May 9th. I’ll see you there. P.S. -Bring your other tiny lil friend @cptdasamericas so I can slap you both around. -Signed, Sealed, Delivered-
The original title bout was scheduled to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 9, with Jose Aldo as the challenger. According to Globo, the UFC legend’s United States work visa recently expired, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, the American embassy in Brazil is not currently renewing work visas. The UFC 250 card has no confirmed location as of this writing, but it’s expected to held at the same spot as UFC 249, which is apparently at a casino on native land in Californa.
Cruz hasn’t competed in the UFC since he lost the bantamweight crown against Cody Garbrandt in late 2016. Injuries have kept him out of the Octagon as of late, but he was preparing for a return against a top contender, looking to earn his way back into a title fight. Instead, he’ll slide ahead of other top contenders to face off with Cejudo, who has won his last five fights.
In his first fight of 2020, Cejudo will look to follow up on a stellar 2019 that saw him successfully defend the flyweight title against TJ Dillashaw before claiming the vacant bantamweight belt in a TKO victory over Marlon Moraes.
Fresh off of the awards season wins that sent Bong Joon-Ho fans into a state of euphoria on social media, Parasite is now available to Hulu subscribers, and the streaming platform is understandably pumped about landing the twisted comedy. With audiences trapped indoors, Hulu made sure to let everybody know who has the Academy Award winner for Best Picture in a Twitter release video:
Considering this is social media we’re talking about, and again, people have a lot of time on their hands, Hulu’s tweet attracted Twitter trolls who are not fans of Parasite‘s anti-capitalist message, which has made the film a contentious topic in some corners. But what the trolls didn’t expect is that whoever runs Hulu’s social media accounts also has time on their hands, and they got to work clapping back at detractors. For example, one user called the film “pathetic,” which prompted Hulu to set them straight.
The response to Subtitle Boy went even more viral. It became a whole thing. Debates about subtitles aside, detractors are obviously missing the fact that Parasite accomplished an incredible feat during awards season by shattering conventional norms around foreign films. Via IndieWire:
“Parasite” was the favorite to win the Oscar for Best International Feature Film ever since it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but many in the film industry wondered if a non-English language drama could take the Academy’s biggest prize for Best Picture. No foreign language film had ever won Best Picture in the 92 years of the Oscars. Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” got close in 2019 but lost to “Green Book.” “Parasite” broke the glass ceiling, becoming not just the first foreign language Best Picture winner but also the first South Korean film to land Oscar noms.
Sure, you could call that “pathetic” or “trash” because it’s not English, but don’t be surprised to see an entire streaming platform jump in your mentions to tell you exactly how wrong you are.
Tiger King star Jeff Lowe recently claimed that an eighth episode in the hit big-cat docuseries would arrive before long. It didn’t seem like folks believed him, but lo and behold, this is actually happening. While there were rumors that this would be a reunion-type endeavor, chances for a shoot anytime soon seemed slim, given current social distancing limitations. However, this episode is now breathing down our collective necks, and it’s being described by Netflix as an “aftershow” called “The Tiger King And I,” which will be hosted by Joel McHale and drop on April 12.
Yes, that Joel McHale, who is still waiting on those “seven” Community movies to start shooting, is doing the next best thing. Watch this teaser, if you dare.
The Tiger King and I — a Tiger King after show hosted by Joel McHale and featuring brand new interviews with John Reinke, Joshua Dial, John Finlay, Saff, Erik Cowie, Rick Kirkman, and Jeff and Lauren Lowe — will premiere April 12 pic.twitter.com/8fbbNdaiDA
Rob Lowe must be so jealous, and the Stargirl actor shall henceforth be known as “Joel Exotic.” Nope, not sorry for that one, and it’s a damn good thing that someone’s wearing the Joe Exotic gear, since Joseph Maldonado-Passage can’t appear in the flesh for this installment while he’s sitting in a Texas penitentiary. We should not expect Carole Baskin to make a surprise appearance either, but the episode promises appearances by not only Jeff Lowe but wife Lauren, along with John Finlay, Saff (!), John Reinke, Joshua Dial, Erik Cowie, and Rick Kirkman.
Easter just got a whole lot more exciting, right? Even in these quarantined times, there’s still plenty of entertainment out there.
With the NBA 2K Players Only Tournament wrapping up this weekend, ESPN and the NBA are moving forward on another remote competition to draw some eyeballs during the league’s hiatus.
Starting Sunday, the NBA and WNBA HORSE competition will begin, featuring Trae Young, Zach LaVine, Chris Paul, Mike Conley, Allie Quigley, Tamika Catchings, Chauncey Billups, and Paul Pierce. The first round of the competition will be broadcast Sunday, April 12 from 7-9 p.m. ET, and, like the 2K tournament there are betting odds being offered by offshore sportsbooks. First, we’ll look at the quarterfinal matchups and the odds from BetOnline for each matchup, headlined by Trae Young (the overall favorite) taking on Chauncey Billups.
Trae Young (-200) vs. Chauncey Billups (+150)
Tamika Catchings (+300) vs. Mike Conley (-500)
Zach LaVine (-110) vs. Paul Pierce (-130)
Chris Paul (-300) vs. Allie Quigley (+200)
Catchings at +300 is far too juicy to pass up in a HORSE matchup, and both of the WNBA players in the competition are being undervalued overall. The overall odds show Young as the favorite to win the entire competition at +200.
Trae Young +200
Chris Paul +250
Mike Conley Jr. +300
Paul Pierce +400
Zach LaVine +500
Chauncey Billups +600
Allie Quigley +800
Tamika Catchings +1000
Again, given that this is HORSE and there are no dunks allowed (which only hurts LaVine, in theory), Quigley and Catchings both are getting undervalued and are probably worth a look here if you really want to put money on a remote HORSE competition.
To lead us to the perfect piping hot bowl of Japanese noodles and broth, we’ve tapped ramen chef Hiro Mitsui of Washington D.C.’s Ramen by Uzu. Recognizing that certain ingredients are in short supply, he’s put together a special quarantine-friendly version of the dish for us. Chef Hiro’s recipe swaps out bone broth for an easy-to-make vegetable broth. Because while meat availability varies, grocery stores seem to be pretty well stocked on fresh produce.
In addition to the recipe, we also asked Chef Hiro for some basic ramen-making tips to keep us from messing things up. His advice will keep you fed now and help you refine your version of the dish later, when the quarantine ends and you have a few people over to impress.
Can you walk us through the process of cooking the perfect ramen noodle?
It really depends on the thickness of your noodles. If we are using very thick noodles, we cook them a minute to a minute and 10 seconds in boiled water. Then basically you mix with the soup base. With the stock… Basically, boil the chicken bone broth and make some soy base or miso base. Mix it all together.
Could you walk us through the different types of broths?
Probably the most famous broth will be tonkatsu, which is pork bone. It is aromatic, vegetables, carrots, onions, scallions. Some places use miso with it. Some places use kelp, which is like a seaweed. It really depends on the restaurant. A lot of places are using basically pork bone broth, which some people do not like. So we use chicken bone broth. It is one of the popular broths in Japan. We do 10 hours cooking stock, then rest 10 hours. So basically a 20-hour process.
What’s an easy at-home ramen recipe to make?
If you are prepared to do pork bone broth, buy pork belly, the broth of pork belly, and scallions, onions, ginger, garlic.
Put on the pot, fill it up the water. First, you have to boil it and turn down to simmer for two or three hours. Basically you just cooked pork and the stock at same time. And you make tonkatsu base, maybe you can put shoyu, which is soy sauce; mirin, which is like sugar with alcohol; salt. Mix it all together!
If you feel like you need to add more flavor to it, such as sesame oil, more salt, maybe black pepper. You can just add that. That’s a really basic, really easy recipe.
What are some common toppings that make for a nice looking bowl?
Usually, ramen comes with wakame, which is a seaweed… I mean shoyu ramen comes wakame, which is a seaweed. Menma, which is a bamboo shoot. You can find all those in Asian grocery stores. Noodles — of course — and the broth is topped with nori, which is dried seaweed, which you can also find in Asian grocery stores. Some people like sweet corn. Some people like chili paste. Or, if you like spicy, you can just do sriracha. Plus scallions and boiled egg. Soft or hard-boiled, whatever you like.
A famous combination is a lot of bean sprouts, a lot of onions, and garlic. That will be really filling.
What’s an easy and fast ramen dish to prepare that will leave you satisfied?
Aside from the pork ramen, which is fast… I don’t know if I should talk about this one — But basically you can add protein on top of those packaged ramens. I mean, of course, made from scratch is better. But if you want to make it really quick, just add stuff like vegetables and a boiled egg on top and it’ll be good.
What type of ramen do you think Americans generally overlook that is popular in Japan?
Whenever people come to the ramen restaurant, they automatically think tonkatsu ramen is the only ramen, which is made with the pork bone and is really, really rich. We have millions of kinds of ramen in Japan! My favorite is a fish-based sauce. Dried fish, and anchovy. Those constitute the fish base broth. That’s my favorite.
Hiro’s Quarantine Ramen Recipe
First, we need to make stock using ingredients that you might have at home. Just use as many of the ingredients that you can get your hands on. Ramen is a combination of stock + base (tare) + oil/fat. At Ramen by Uzu, we have chicken or vegan stock. For this at-home recipe, we will make a veggie stock.
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 bunch of scallions, stems removed and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, smashed with skin
1 piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 small apple, chopped 4 ways
1 sheet of kombu (kelp) (If available. This is for umami. If not available, don’t worry.)
1 medium brown potato, peeled and chopped
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Fill the pot with water until all the ingredients are covered. Be sure to leave two inches at the top so the water won’t spill.
Boil on high heat. After the water comes to a boil, lower the temperature and simmer for 1.5 hours.
Gently smash the vegetables to get the most umami into your broth.
(Optional) For a more “authentic” flavor, throw in one handful of bonito. Leave it for 10 minutes.
Strain the vegetables from the broth. Compost the veggies or save them for some other recipe.
1 10.5 oz can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
Mix one half can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom with the same amount of stock. (Ratio 1:1.
You can adjust however you like. If you want a creamier soup, use more cream of mushroom.)
Egg (hard-boiled or soft-boiled, your choice)
Your choice of protein (pork, chicken, fried tofu, sautéed spam)
Combine the stock and base in a small pot. Heat it up.
Cook your noodles. It’s great if you can get your hands on fresh ramen noodles. However, if that’s not possible, just use instant ramen noodles (just the noodles).
Cook the noodles according to the package. If you like your noodles al dente, cook them 30 seconds to one minute less than what the instructions call for. Strain the water.
Add the noodles to the soup.
Garnish with your preferred toppings.
*BONUS RECIPE* Chef Hiro’s Shoyo Ramen Recipe
This is a simple recipe where you don’t need to boil the stock for a long time. However, the flavor of this ramen is still very traditional and makes me feel nostalgic.
8 oz pork belly
6 oz chicken thigh
1 oz Dried Anchovy
.5 oz Konbu seaweed
2 stalk Scallion
1 Apple whole with skin
50 oz Water
Combine all ingredients in a pot.
Boil. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the temperature to low to medium heat. Cook for 90 mins.
After 90 minutes, take out the pork belly.
Add .5 oz bonito and simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain stock and cool down with ice bath
Pork Belly Ingredients
7 oz Soy
4.5 oz Water
1 oz Sake
.5 oz Sugar
2 stalks of Scallions
2-3pcs Peeled garli
Combine all ingredients in a pot.
Boil. Once it comes to a boil, add pork belly from the stock. Cook for 30 minutes on low heat, flipping the pork belly occasionally.
After 30 minutes, remove the pork belly and set it to the side to cool down.
Take the remaining juice (tare/soup base) and save it for later.
In a small pot, warm 12 oz of stock.
Add 7 oz of tare into a ramen bowl.
Cook noodles in boiling water. If possible, use fresh noodles and cook them to your preference.
Add the warm stock to the tare in the ramen bowl.
Remove the cooked ramen noodles from the boiling water and add them to the ramen bowl.
(optional) Add one drop of sesame oil.
Garnish with sliced pork belly, scallions, egg (soft or hard-boiled), sesame seeds, nori, and menma (bamboo shoots).
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.