Ted Lasso: From head bumps to bad biscuits, 9 things to know

There was a real Ted Lasso? Kind of. As season 2 of the Emmy-nominated show approaches, let’s dig up some trivia about the Apple TV Plus pandemic hit.

Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard) and Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) took inspiration for the show from hours of playing video-game soccer together.

Most fans likely know Ted Lasso began not as a TV show, but as oversized commercials for NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League. The popularity of the ads inspired the development of the series. Those ads are still online, and they’re hilarious.

In the first video, Ted begins coaching the (real) Tottenham Hotspur F.C., and quickly learns how much he has to learn. (“Ties, and no playoffs. Why do you even do this?” he says at one point.) By the end of the short film, he’s fired after about six and a half hours on the job. Whoops. But at least he tried to call the queen.

In 2014’s The Return of Ted Lasso, he moves from coaching to sports announcing, and guess what? He’s just as adorably confused, and has no idea he’s broadcasting live even though the word “LIVE” is displayed in huge letters behind his desk.

In one first-season scene, Ted Lasso makes a quick exit from Rebecca’s office and exuberantly jumps as he does it. Wham, he hits his head smack on the door frame. If the injury looks real, uh, it is.

“I really hit my head there,” Sudeikis confirmed to Drew Barrymore in an interview. “That was a complete accident.” It wasn’t until he got off stage that his head started gushing blood, the actor said. “They had to glue my head shut,” he told Barrymore.

Ted bribes team owner Rebecca with homemade shortbread served up in delightful pink boxes. Perfect with a nice cuppa. Apple TV Plus has teased at giving away the recipe. At the very end of a video hyping the streaming service’s new and upcoming programs, Apple rolled credits. Sharp-eyed viewers saw the words “Ted Lasso’s Secret Shortbread (makes about one box)” plus an image of a shortbread box, but then the credits stopped. Ha ha ha?

But numerous recipe sites have taken up the challenge and offered their versions of a shortbread recipe that fans could make and call Ted Lasso’s. People magazine has one that looks good, and pop-culture pro Binging With Babish offers both a classic rendition and a browned-butter recipe.

Hannah Waddingham, who plays Rebecca, says the shortbread she’s offered on the show, however, has been left around to dry out and tastes like “eating a bit of dried-out sponge.”

The velvet-toned announcer on Ted Lasso knows his stuff. That’s because he’s Arlo White, a native Brit who’s the lead play-by-play voice of NBC Sports’ US Premier League coverage. (In one of the ads that inspired the show, Ted makes him say “champions” again just to hear how it rolls like butter off White’s tongue.)

And while White is British, he was named after American folk singer Arlo Guthrie. As befits his name, he’s a true fan of all things American, including the Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears, inspired by a trip he took to Chicago as a kid.

“That two weeks in Chicago changed my life,” he told the Derby (UK) Telegraph. “I became obsessed with America. I loved everything about it.” That star-spangled side makes him a perfect addition to a show that blends America and the UK.

Fans may be getting impatient waiting for season 2, but at least they can rest assured there’s still more Ted Lasso to come. In October 2020, months before work began on season two, Apple renewed the show for a third season.

What to expect in each season? Since Ted’s team, AFC Richmond, was relegated at the end of season 1, season 2 will show the team fighting its way back to the Premier League. It seems likely season 3 will show them clambering to the top of that league, though who knows if they’ll win it all? For that to happen, Ted might need to learn the definition of “offsides” first.

Hannah Waddingham, who plays team owner Rebecca, was on the huge HBO hit Game of Thrones. But you may not recognize her, because she was mostly hidden under the habit of her character, Septa Unella, the religious zealot who rang a bell and shouted “Shame!” while marching a naked Cersei through the streets.

Do you recognize Ted Lasso’s boss from her unnerving role in Game of Thrones?

But Cersei swore she’d get her revenge, and she did. Eventually, Waddingham’s character was waterboarded with wine, then left to die horribly at the hands of the undead Gregor Clegane. Waddingham’s spoken publicly about how gruesome and painful the waterboarding was — eating stale shortbread must seem like a picnic after that.

The plot of Ted Lasso might seem just a little too Hollywood — how could an American football coach end up hired to coach a sport he knows nothing about? But there’s some precedent.

American Terry Smith played football for the New England Patriots from 1982 to 1984. He coached in the US and then moved to Manchester, England, to become the player-head coach of the Manchester Spartans — though that’s an American football team, not a soccer/British football team.

However, in 1999, he moved out of American football and into the British kind when he bought Chester City FC, also deciding to coach them himself. And from then on, well, you can just see the Ted Lasso elements in the news stories. Smith apparently said that “all coaching is 90% the same, regardless of the sport” — can’t you just hear Ted bellowing that? He also tried such Lasso-esque tricks as having the team practice with an imaginary ball. The BBC called his coaching career “one of English football’s most bizarre soap operas.”

In the first episode, a clip is shown of Ted dancing in the locker room with his Wichita State Shockers football team. (Spoiler: The real Wichita State does not even have a football team these days, but Sudeikis, who was born in Virginia, moved to Kansas as a child and wanted a Kansas school for Ted.)

If Ted’s enthusiastic dancing looks familiar, you may have seen some of his moves on Saturday Night Live, when Sudeikis danced in the recurring “What Up With That?” sketches.

Brendan Hunt, the actor who plays Ted’s reserved right-hand man, Coach Beard, is a lot more active behind the scenes. He’s one of the show’s co-creators and also wrote or co-wrote several episodes.

To create the show, Hunt and Sudeikis drew on experiences from the years they spent working in Amsterdam, when they loved to play Man United vs Arsenal in the FIFA video game.

Toyota scraps Tokyo Olympics ads in Japan, despite being banner sponsor

With support for holding the games low among Japan’s citizens amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Toyota doesn’t want to wade any deeper in.

Toyota’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In addition, CEO Akio Toyoda will not attend the opening ceremony as once planned, Reuters reported. The publication cited new data from a local Japanese newspaper that surveyed nearly 1,500 people and found 55% did not want the games going forward. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they doubt officials will keep COVID-19 infections under control.

The Tokyo Olympics were meant to be a real showcase, not only for Japan, but for Toyota. The automaker was supposed to reveal a new battery-electric car amid the events, and readied electric, self-driving shuttles for athletes to bring them from the Olympic Village to various sites. It’s not clear if these vehicles will still be in use amid the pandemic, but the current situation certainly rained on Toyota’s showcase of new technology.

UFC 269: Amanda Nunes loses in shock upset, Oliveira defeats Poirier

Amanda Nunes lost in the most shocking of ways.

Our main event is on, with both fighters making championship weight.

UFC 269 is finished and, top to bottom, was one of the most intense night of fights in UFC history.

Headlines will almost certainly focus on Amanda Nunes’s shock defeat to Julianna Pena. It could be the biggest upset in UFC history. Pena tired Nunes out on the feet and choked her out on the ground. It was an unbelievable performance from Pena.

Dustin Poirier, fresh off two wins over Conor McGregor, lost via submission in a back and forth war with UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.

You can read our live round-by-round coverage below.

Just overheard Poirier saying he’s donating $20,000 to a charity of Oliveira’s choice. Dude is a legend.

Dustin Poirier has a chance to finally become the undisputed lightweight champion.

I don’t think I can even settle down for this one, but I’ll try my best. Deep breaths…

This fight is the very definition of a coin toss.

Poirier’s mentality and will to win is unmatched in the lightweight division and he comes with great boxing and a solid gas tank. Will that be enough to defeat Oliveira and his unique skillset? I’m not sure. Oliveira has the best jiu jitsu, maybe in the entire UFC, and has made marked improvements in his striking.

This is gonna be a fantastic contest.

My prediction: Oliveira via submission

Still haven’t recovered from Nunes loss, but let’s go. This fight is gonna be great.

Man these guys are firing early. Poirier hits Oliveira clean but both are slinging here. Poirier seems to be landing cleaner though with big shots. Oliveira landing some big knees to the body though. 

Now Oliveira is shooting for the takedown. Poirier is surviving and appears to have the advantage on the feet.

This is a CRAZY first round with an insane pace. Poirier hits him clean and knocks Oliveira to the ground, but doesn’t follow him down for long.

Man, Poirier is landing BIG but Oliveira is also landing, but nothing like Poirier. 

WHAT.

A. 

ROUND.

My Score: 10-9 for Poirier

This is gonna be a war of attrition. Poirier is good at those.

Oliveira is going straight to the grappling here, which is very smart. 

Now Oliveira is on his back in a weird position. Now he sweeps and Poirier is on the bottom. This could be bad for Dustin.

Oliveira seems to just want to consolidate this position. Not really working for any submissions just yet. He lands a big elbow though. He’s grinding right now, just trying to do damage with short shots.

Now Oliveira is landing huge elbows. Dustin could be in trouble here. He’ll likely survive, but this could be a turning point in the fight.

My Score: 10-9 for Oliveira

Keen to see how Dustin fares here. Oliveira really beat him up in the last round.

Man Oliveira goes straight to the back in 20 seconds flat. Damn. This is really bad. Oliveira thrives in this position.

AND POIRIER TAPS TO A REAR NAKED CHOKE.

Damn that was so fast, and so technical. Oliveira is so good man. He is so good. And guess what? He had to go through some real adversity, which was the knock on Oliveira. Incredible performance there. Feel for Poirier, but nice work by Oliveira

Oliveira wins via submission

Amanda Nunes: The greatest female fighter of all time.

Having conquered both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions, Amanda Nunes has beaten almost every single high level female fighter ever. Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Valentina Shevchenko — Nunes has beat them all, often in spectacular fashion.

Julianna Pena doesn’t have a chance here

Pena’s best opportunity here is in the grappling, perhaps in the clinch up against the cage, but I just can’t see a single way she doesn’t get obliterated here. Nunes isn’t just in a different league, she’s in a different plane of existence.

My prediction: Amanda Nunes via TKO/KO.

Shocking that Nunes is still only 32? Just saw that on the tale of the tape. She could be running this sport for another 5 years at this point. Terrifying.

Also, interesting:

Anyway, the fight!

A leg kick takes Pena down but Nunes allows her back up. Nunes tags her again with a jab and Pena is down. Pena takes a shot on the ground, gets back up, but Nunes is just too strong of a grappler and gets her back down again, she’s just full on big-sistering Pena right now.

Now Nunes has the back.

Pena survives though, gets into half guard and appears to be trying to get back to the feet, but yeah, Nunes is really controlling this fight. Julianna sort of has a kimura grip, but nothing was every gonna come of it.

My score: 10-9 for Nunes

Man Pena has landed some shots and the crowd is going nuts. This is getting sloppy and man… Nunes is losing this round!

Nunes is playing a dangerous game here and whoaa…. they’re just full on exchanging here! Cannot believe this is happening here.

Pena is getting the better of this and now Pena is on her back, what the hell!!!

Nunes has tapped to a choke. I cannot believe it. Holy shit. HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT. I am in shock here. Complete shock.

Julianna Pena wins via submission

I am in shock. This is honestly the biggest upset in UFC history in my opinion. Cannot believe it. Cannot believe what I just saw. Nunes was just too confident in her ability to steam roll and sloppily just KO Pena.

“I’m not surprised motherfuckers,” says Julianna Pena, in a throwback to Nate Diaz’s famous proclamation after beating Conor McGregor in their first fight.

Wow. Just wow.

Neal vs. Ponzinibbio is a fight between two high level welterweights. 

Bit of a strange turn of events with this fight: Geoff Neal was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated and the unlawful carrying of a weapon on Thanksgiving Day. That’s put a bit of a weird cloud on this contest.

Will it impact how this fight plays out on the night? Hard to say. Either way it’s a close pick ’em of a fight. Geoff Neal is a hard hitter who rarely makes mistakes, but until very recently Ponzinibbio was a fighter very close to a title shot.

But Ponzinibbio has struggled a little as of late, so I’m favouring Neal in this one. 

My prediction: Geoff Neal via decision.

Can’t wait to try and spell Ponzinibbio a million times during this fight.

(Nah, jokes. Of course I have that copied ready to paste!)

This is great match making. High stakes fight here, will really decide which of these fighters has a future in the welterweight division.

Here we go…

Slow start to this one. A lot of lateral movement from Ponzinibbio as is his style, but low output in terms of strikes thrown. Neal lands a head kick, but didn’t seem to impact Ponzinibbio too much. Neal is turning it on a bit here though, has clearly landed the most strikes so far and appears to be winning this round.

Ponzinibbio coming on a little stronger towards the end there, but I’m still scoring this for Neal.

My score: 10-9 for Neal

Crazy this is the first time I’ve written the words “Round 2” in this liveblog.

Ponzinibbio seems to have a lot less caution in this round so far, seems to really be driving the action. 

Neal showed off some great takedown defence, was taken down but managed to scramble back up. Ponzinibbio appears to be winning this round though. Very close, ugly fight so far but Ponzinibbio is getting the better of these exchanges in round 2.

My score: 10-9 for Ponzinibbio

Man, Neal’s corner was very vocal there and they’re right. Neal needs to win this round.

Neal is responding, landing clean shots here. He’s winning the early exchanges in this round so far. Neal is landing great check hooks, coming over the top. This is a close, clumsy clash of styles and it’s tough to say how the judges will score this.

These guys are opening up in the latter half of this round, Neal cracks Ponzinibbio hard, repeatedly, taking over in the final minute. 

My score: 10-9 for Neal (29-28 for Neal)

Geoff Neal wins via split decision

Cody Garbrandt is making his 125 debut.

I am very hyped for this one. Garbrandt almost certainly had the fastest hands in the bantamweight division, where he once reigned as champ. He also has bricks for hands with some of the best highlight reel knockouts in UFC history.

But he’s making his flyweight debut here, against Kai Kara-France, another heavy hitter with a penchant for getting into firefights. Considering Garbrand’s storied history of getting into wars at bantamweight, you can expect a potential fight of the night contender here. At the very least, hard not to imagine someone going to sleep here. Don’t blink.

My prediction: Kai Kara-France by KO/TKO

Garbrandt looks big here. Massive compared to Kara-France. Very leg kick heavy attack early from Garbrandt as well and both seem respectful of one another’s power.

Ooft. Garbrandt gets melted by a huge shot from Kara-France but somehow survives, even inviting Kara-France in for more. He survives, but in another exchange Kara-France hits him clean again and damn… Garbrandt is clean out with a final huge shot.

Damn, this must be a tough one for Garbrandt to take. 

Kai Kara-France wins by KO/TKO.

Sean O’Malley, one of the most unique fighters currently in the UFC.

Sean O’Malley looks like he was designed and built using the Saints Row 2 create-a-character mode, which I absolutely say as a compliment.

He’s also one of the most exciting up-and-coming fighters in the UFC’s stacked bantamweight division. Every time he fights it’s an event.

This contest, with Raulian Paiva, feels a bit like a lay-up for O’Malley, but I’m excited to watch it regardless.

My prediction: O’Malley by KO

O’Malley stabbing with those front kicks as per usual. Paiva seems to want to pressure. Ah looks like O’Malley caught the cup with one of those shots? Or maybe not? Hard to say.

O’Malley is landing the jab here, but this is quiet in the early goings. Paiva has landed a few legs kicks though, which O’Malley has struggled with historically.

And whoaaaaaaaa… O’Malley just crushed Paiva. He landed clean with a right over the top and had Paiva rocked. From that point he swarmed. Just a crazy output of huge shots to the body and then clean to the head. Damn…

Just crazy shot selection. O’Malley is so smooth man. Can’t be long until he faces someone high up the rankings now.

O’Malley wins by TKO

Hello everyone, UFC 269 is kicking off! We’ve already seen a number of great fights on the prelims, most notably a wild KO by Tai Tuivasa, and a great comeback win from Dominick Cruz over Pedro Munhoz. 

But the best is still to come. Let’s get cracking.

Sling TV’s new Barstool Sports Channel arrives just in time for kickoff

The channel will incorporate existing programming from the franchise as well as an exclusive college football show.

The channel will incorporate shows such as Barstool College Football Show, The Pro Football Football Show and the Sling-exclusive The Brandon Walker College Football Show, which “will debut tonight at 6 p.m. ET, and will be live each Monday-Thursday at 6,” Walker said in a blog post.

This week the Locast service, which also offered free, over-the-air to Sling TV subscribers, suspended its service following a court case. As a budget live TV streaming provider Sling TV offers only limited access to broadcast TV.

Read more: How to watch, stream the NFL in 2021 without cable

Tokyo Olympics: The athletes that have tested positive for COVID-19

Some athletes, both inside and outside the village, have already tested positive for COVID-19

A number of athletes have already tested positive and the games haven’t yet begun.

Here are the athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, both members of the South African soccer team at the Olympics, have both been named as having tested positive for COVID-19. Mario Masha, the team’s video analyst also tested positive and all three are isolating in their rooms in the Olympic village. According to the BBC, 21 players and officials were close contacts.

Ondrej Perusic, a 26-year-old beach volleyball player from the Czech Republic, was the third player to officially test positive for COVID-19 in the athlete village in Tokyo.

Coco Gauff, a 17 year old tennis player on Team USA, announced she was withdrawing from the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19. She was set to be the youngest Olympic tennis player since Mario Ancic in 2000.

Katie Lou Samuelson, a member of Team USA’s 3 on 3 basketball team, tested positive for COVID-19. She’ll be replaced by Jackie Young, a 23 year old who plays for the Las Vegas Aces.

Samuelson hadn’t yet made the trip to Tokyo.

Neil Powell is the South Africa Sevens rugby coach, he tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan. He is currently isolating with the team in Kagoshima.

The US Olympic Committee (USOC) confirmed that a female US gymnast tested positive for COVID-19, but didn’t name her. (It’s not Simone Biles.) According to the USOC the athlete in question is an alternate and not a member of the main team.

Bradley Beal, a basketball player on the US team, has been ruled out of the Olympics, for health and safety reasons. Jerami Grant, another member of the basketball team was also placed in the health and safety protocol, but some are still hopeful he’ll make it to Tokyo.

Alex de Minaur, Australia’s highest ranked Tennis player, tested positive for COVID-19 and had to pull out of the Olympics. He tested positive on July 10.

Six members of the Great Britain Olympic team had to go into isolation after being exposed to a COVID-19 case on a flight to Tokyo. They are currently training in isolation and will be able to mingle with other athletes once they pass two PCR tests for COVID-19.

We’ll update this post as new potential COVID-19 cases come in.

Thank you, Tokyo Olympics, for bringing us the ‘beast mode’ we all needed

Many wanted the Tokyo Olympics cancelled, but in the end, they were incredible.

The best.

Pushing past the flimsiest steel barrier ever constructed, into a restricted area he clearly shouldn’t have had access to, Boxall ripped off his required mask and proceeded to… dry hump a fence like The Ultimate Warrior circa Wrestlemania 6?

Like I said. Beast Mode.

The best part: In the background, a Japanese Olympic official, doing her level best to provide resistance, raises her hands like a frightened gazelle and then succumbs. Slowly those raised hands are lowered, evolving into confused claps. OK, she seems to say. You’re here now. There’s nothing I can do about this. I’m just going to try and enjoy this front row seat to Beast Mode, starring Dean Boxall.

In this metaphor, Boxall is the Tokyo Olympics. Both as an event and an idea. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic both probably shouldn’t be here. As the world reels from the effects of the delta strain and global vaccine hesitancy, this is the Olympics no one asked for. Dean, what are you doing here? Bugger off, Dean. Now is not the time.

High jumpers Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi gave each other their gold medals. This is too much.

Me? I’m the Japanese official. We’re all the Japanese official. Nervous, unsure how to react, ultimately acquiescing to this moment completely out of our control. Even in Japan, the host country, people were protesting the Olympics. First we collectively raised our hands in passive resistance. Seconds later we were all clapping.

And we were clapping because Dean Boxall is awesome. Reckless, sure. But so awesome. The Olympics were reckless too — but also awesome.

This is what the Olympics delivers: Beast Mode direct to your screen and your heart. It’s in the business of providing iconic moments like Boxall’s. Moments that simultaneously inspire and subvert our sense of what’s possible. Weird shit, displays of pure athleticism.

Two men collapsing into one another’s arms when they realize they can share a gold medal instead of duelling to the death for it. Skateboarding girls cheering each other on, making quick friends in the face of fierce competition. Runners stumbling, falling over in potentially race-ending collisions, miraculously recovering to win races.

Incredible, awe-inspiring moments.

Maybe it’s because we live in a universe where moments like these are worshipped, contorted and shaped into GIFs, tweets and memes in an infinite social media content spiral, but it somehow feels like we’ve had more of these moments compared to previous Olympics. That these Olympic Games have meant more than we ever could have expected when we cynically, reluctantly invited them into our homes.

Personally, as a man living in Sydney, a city wrestling with strict lockdowns that could potentially last for months, the Olympics was been a salve I didn’t realize I needed. It was a welcome distraction as I juggled home-schooling, work and a near-permanent dread at the daily ritual of waiting for Sydney case numbers to drop so we can all go back outside and live relatively normal lives.

There were a million reasons why the Olympic Games shouldn’t have happened in 2021. A million reasons why we shouldn’t have watched and supported what is arguably an irresponsible event run for the wrong reasons. But it’s also equally possible that — this year — the Olympics were more useful than ever.

The Tokyo Olympics probably shouldn’t have happened because of COVID-19. But I’m also happy it happened — because of COVID-19. If that makes sense.

None of it makes sense.

But right now, sport — with its simple rules and digestible outcomes, with its warm blanket of normalcy and straightforward narratives of triumph over adversity — is maybe the only thing that makes sense.

The Olympics, much like Dean Boxall, busted its way into our homes and televisions and refused to leave. An unwelcome guest. But, like the uncertain Olympics official dealing with the uncontainable Boxall as he dry humped a fence, I’m glad the Olympics forced their way into my life. I couldn’t have done lockdown without it.

NBA streaming: How to watch the end of the regular season without cable

When it comes to following the NBA season, you’ll need a TV service with at least ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV. We compare AT&T TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV and more to find out which service is the best for basketball fans.

Kevin Durant, left, and Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets high five during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

While it’s not as simple as it should be, we’re going to try and make it a bit easier. Here are our recommendations for the best ways to watch the rest of the NBA season, as well as the play-in and playoffs, without cable.

Read more: YouTube TV vs. Hulu vs. Sling TV vs. Philo vs. FuboTV: 100 channels compared

When it comes to streaming all your local basketball games, the $85-a-month Choice package on AT&T TV is the best option for most people. It has all of the national channels — ABC, ESPN, NBA TV and TNT — and it’s the streaming service with the most regional sports networks.

Unlike the NFL, which largely broadcasts its local games on Fox or CBS (with primetime games on NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network) most NBA games air on a local sports network. For the Knicks in New York it’s MSG, for the Lakers in Los Angeles it’s Spectrum SportsNet and for the Bucks in Milwaukee it’s Bally Sports Wisconsin (formerly Fox Sports). The problem is that your local RSN probably isn’t carried by every live TV streaming service.

At $85 a month for the Choice package, AT&T TV is far from cheap, and for some it could be pricier than getting a traditional cable package bundled in with your home internet — especially since, as with every such service, you’ll need home internet to watch it anyway.

That said, it is another alternative that gives you a way to watch your home team’s RSN. In the New York area it’s the only provider that carries both MSG (Knicks) and the YES Network (Brooklyn Nets); in Los Angeles it has Spectrum Sportsnet for the Lakers and Bally Sports SoCal (formerly Fox Sports Prime Ticket) for the Clippers; and in Milwaukee it offers Bally Sports Wisconsin (Bucks).

AT&T TV also has some of the Comcast-owned RSNs, including (Celtics) and Bay Area (Warriors). You can check if your sports network is available in your ZIP code here.

Like with YouTube TV, FuboTV and others there is no contract required for AT&T TV, and you no longer need any special boxes or equipment. You can have streams running on up to three devices at once, with AT&T TV apps available on iOS, iPad OS and Android phones and tablets as well as Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs. The telecom giant also sells an Android TV-powered streaming box.

AT&T includes 20 hours of DVR and bundles in a year of HBO Max with the purchase of the AT&T TV Choice package, the latter of which is normally $15 a month. As part of a promotion, the carrier is also currently throwing in a subscription to NBA League Pass Premium, the league’s service that lets you watch all out-of-market games, for the remainder of the season as an added perk for those who sign up for its Choice or Ultimate packages.

If you want the free League Pass for the remainder of the season, you’ll need to sign up before May 2.

YouTube TV is the pick for those willing to sacrifice their local sports network.

The second-best option for NBA fans is YouTube TV. At $65 a month, a regular YouTube TV subscription checks many of the NBA channel boxes including having all of the major stations — ABC, ESPN and TNT — as well as NBA TV. The problem? It lacks most RSNs, though it does have the NBC Sports-owned ones in some areas.

The play-in games will air on TNT and ESPN while the NBA playoffs will air on those channels plus ABC.

YouTube TV allows three simultaneous streams, with YouTube offering unlimited cloud DVR. It’s widely available, too, with apps on iOS and Android, the web and on TVs through Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, Apple TV and Fire TV.

Other options like FuboTV’s Family plan or Hulu with Live TV are fine, but they involve compromises. Fubo has some regional networks like MSG in New York, but it lacks TNT and requires an $11-a-month Extra add-on to get NBA TV, making the total price $76 a month.

Hulu with Live TV, which now also costs $65 a month, similarly has some regional channels, particularly the NBC Sports-owned ones, as well as TNT, ESPN and ABC. But it lacks NBA TV and the regional sports channels owned by Charter (Spectrum Sportsnet) and Sinclair (the Bally Sports networks and YES Network).

Sling TV’s Orange plan for $35 a month gets you ESPN and TNT, but you lose out on ABC and RSNs, and you’ll need to pay an extra $15 a month to get NBA TV as part of its Sports Extra add-on. You do get 50 hours of DVR but can only stream on one device at a time.

The chart below sums it all up. The base price is listed after the service name, while a dollar sign indicates that the channel is available for an additional fee. For simplicity, we did not include the RSNs as those will vary by ZIP code.

NBA League Pass offers the entire NBA slate for $199 for the season, with commercials and one device, or $249 for the season with in-arena feeds instead of commercials, and the ability to watch on two devices at once. Those interested in following only a single team can buy a Team Pass for $119 for the season.

While this is an enticing option for fans who want to watch-out-of-market games for the 2020-21 season, it doesn’t help with rooting for your home team. Local games as well as those broadcast nationally are blacked out, so if you’re in New York and want to watch Kevin Durant and the Nets take on the Warriors on ABC it won’t be accessible on League Pass.

With the 72-game regular season nearing its end, the league has dropped the price for the remainder of the season to $29 for the base package or $40 for the Premium service that allows for watching on two devices at once with the in-arena feeds. The Team Pass pricing has been reduced to $18. There are also new three-day free trials for the base League Pass package as well as the Team Pass option.

NBA TV remains a separate add-on but now runs an extra $20 (down from $60 at the start of the season) if you want to be able to watch games on that network.

With one weekend left in the regular season and playoff games on national television, you’re likely best skipping this route and going with one of the above providers instead.

Read more: Best soundbars for 2021

Olympics opening ceremony memes: Tonga still doesn’t give a shirt

But this year the shirtless, glossy Tongan taekwondo athlete has competition from Vanuatu. Plus: What’s with the team entrance order?

Malia and Pita lead Team Tonga during the opening ceremony. Um, yes, some viewers did in fact notice Pita’s shiny torso.

Things were a little different this year: Taufatofua wore a face mask, and he was joined by Malia Paseka, Tonga’s first female Olympian to compete in taekwondo. He congratulated his teammate and fellow flag bearer.

“A special congratulations to our Flag Bearer, Malia Paseka,” Taufatofua tweeted. “She did an amazing job leading the way for more participation of females and youth in sport in Tonga. So proud to walk along side our first ever female taekwondo Olympian!”

Fans were drawn to the Tonga team.

“Clearly the best pair of flag bearers in the Parade of Nations,” wrote one Twitter user. “You both are amazing!”

Wrote another, “**BREAKING** TONGA HAS WON THE OLYMPICS. We can all go home now.”

This year, Tonga wasn’t alone in the oiled-up athlete arena. Rower Riilio Rii from Vanuatu also pulled off the shirtless and glossy look.

“Pita, we see you and we raise you,” the official Olympics Twitter account wrote.

The countries usually file into the stadium in alphabetical order. But when you watch this year, you may wonder if you even know the alphabet. That’s because it’s in the order used in Japan.

There are also some other variations. Greece, home of the original Olympics, leads the pack, followed by the Refugee Team, athletes from troubled countries who’ve mostly been training in Kenya. The USA marches in near the end, followed by France and then Japan, the host country. (If you want to follow along, Wikipedia has the order.)

Many who were expecting the teams to march in ABC order were thrown.

“This order is bonkers,” wrote one Twitter user. “I clearly need to revisit the alphabet.”

The various sports were also displayed by performers dressed in white and blue and dubbed “human pictograms,” who re-create the icons used to depict each sport.

Wrote one Twitter user, “This live action Wii sports menu was unexpected but very much appreciated.”

Said another, “Give the pictogram team a GOLD.”

The opening ceremonies will be rebroadcast in the US on NBC at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT. The Olympics run through Aug. 8.

European Super League: Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, Inter Milan and Man City all drop out

The controversial European Super League is crumbling.

Liverpool, among others, have left the proposed European Super League project.

The negativity was a direct response to a league that had the potential to wreak havoc on the traditional structures of European soccer, made up of domestic leagues like the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. The European Super League was designed to protect up to 15 founding members — the most powerful teams across Europe’s most powerful domestic leagues — from the relegation/promotion pyramid structure that anchors all of European soccer. A structure that goes all the way from the lowest levels of domestic soccer, all the way through to the Champions League, the biggest prize in club soccer.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez was named as the inaugural chairman of the European Super League. It was his intent, he stated, to secure the future of soccer, not undermine it.

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” Perez said in a statement Sunday. “Football is the only global sport in the world with more than 4 billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”

Read more: How to watch Premier League games live in the US without cable

But in the wake of the initial announcement, UEFA and FIFA — which runs the existing Champions League competition and the World Cup respectively — threatened clubs and players participating in the European Super League with removal from all other competitions, including the World Cup.

“I cannot stress more strongly how everyone is united against these disgraceful, self-serving proposals, fuelled by greed above all else,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said at a press conference Monday, as reported by the BBC. “Players who will play in the teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from the World Cup and Euros.”

“This idea is a spit in the face of all football lovers. We will not allow them to take it away from us.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the European Super League.

Six teams from the English Premier League, three from La Liga and three clubs from Serie A all initially signed up, making for 12 clubs. In the wake of fan outrage, over half of these clubs have withdrawn.

The original list of the founding clubs was as follows…

Where are teams from the French and German leagues? Teams like Bayern Munich from Germany and Paris Saint-Germain from France are undoubtedly among the biggest and best teams in Europe. Bayern and its German rival Borussia Dortmund announced Monday they are committed to the existing Champions League, which unveiled reforms Monday for the 2024 season. PSG is owned by the royal family of Qatar, which is holding the next World Cup and therefore unlikely to go against the soccer establishment.

Following backlash in response to the announcement, all Premier League teams have announced plans to drop out. Manchester City has confirmed it has “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League,” with Chelsea to reportedly follow suit.

Manchester United’s controversial executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has also announced his resignation following the backlash. Manchester United has also officially dropped out of the European Super League.

Liverpool also stated that its “involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.”

Arsenal and Spurs have both officially announced they’re leaving.

“We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal,” said Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur. “We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on the decision of English clubs to withdraw from the league.

“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is — if confirmed — absolutely the right one and I commend them for it,” he tweeted. “I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”

Inter Milan has also become the first non-English team to officially remove itself from the European Super League.

In response, an official statement from the European Super League was sent out.

“The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change,” read the statement.

“We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work.

“Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic.

“Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”

According to original plans, the new competition was to feature 20 clubs made up of 15 founding clubs, with an option for five further clubs to qualify based on previous seasons’ achievements. (The details were currently murky on what those “achievements” actually mean.)

Each team was to continue to take part in domestic leagues, with European Super League matches taking place midweek. Two groups of 10 would take part in home and away matches, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for a knockout stage. Teams who placed fourth and fifth in each league would compete in a two-leg match to see who qualifies for knockout stages.

Then, those remaining eight teams were set to take part in two-leg knockout format to reach a single final, which would take place at a neutral stadium. A women’s version of this league was also apparently in the works.

At least, that’s how the founding teams hope things would work. Both UEFA and FIFA came out against the league. FIFA backed UEFA, which means participating players may potentially be banned from representing their countries at this summer’s European Championships and next year’s World Cup, competitions run by those international bodies.

“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we — UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations — will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said in a statement.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.”

The teams involved were aiming for an August 2021 start.

Given the controversy and the reaction of FIFA, UEFA and the fact almost all of the teams have now removed themselves from the project, it would be surprising if the European Super League started at all.

Reaction to the announcement of the European Super League was almost universally negative. The hashtag #RIPfootball rapidly trended on Twitter as did the phrase #disgusting and #embarrassing. People were very angry about this.

Some wanted to organize protests. Ultimately, thousands went to protests at various stadiums across Europe.

Former players such as England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand were quick to condemn the clubs involved, including ones they played for.

High-profile current players spoke out, such as PSG’s Ander Herrera.

Liverpool’s James Milner also spoke out against the league after a recent match with Leeds United.

“I don’t like it and I hope it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Eventually that became the collective response of most Liverpool players as many posted the following message on social media platforms: “We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen. This is our collective position.”

Jurgen Klopp, the current manager of Liverpool, had previously spoken out on opposition to a European Super League when it was first being talked about. “My opinion didn’t change,” he said in a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

The European Super League illustrates the money issues many believe continue to threaten soccer as a sport. Unlike sports leagues like the NBA, which operate with salary caps, clubs at the top of leagues like the EPL or La Liga have been allowed to spend with impunity. This means they can solidify a position at the top of the game and rule over smaller clubs with an iron fist. Clubs at the lower end of big leagues can’t compete.

Neither can top clubs in smaller European leagues in Holland, Scotland, Switzerland or Portugal. The evolution of football over the last 20 years has made it difficult for former giants of the sport like Ajax of Amsterdam or Celtic of Glasgow to compete for major prizes like the Champion’s League. Given the structure of the European Super League, even getting the chance to play would be next to impossible.

For perspective, each founding member of this club was expected to take home $400 million for taking part in this league. That’s roughly four times what a team would receive for winning the Champions League, currently the most prestigious tournament in world club soccer.

For many, including former player and current broadcaster Gary Neville, the whole thing felt anti-competitive. Unlike most other soccer leagues, the founding clubs of the European Super League would not face the threat of relegation if they sit at the bottom of the table.

There’s also the issue of team choice. Teams appear to have been chosen based on fan base and income, as opposed to performance. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, currently in seventh and ninth place respectively in the English Premier League, were two of the teams selected, despite the fact smaller clubs like Leicester City and West Ham have outperformed them this year.

UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden reportedly said the British government would do “whatever it takes” to stop the English teams from taking part in the European Super League Monday. Dowden also reportedly accused the six clubs of deciding to “put money before fans.”

Considering the longer game, many were worried about the potential impact on grassroots football. The current format of soccer, which favors teams in leagues with huge TV deals like the EPL and La Liga, have seen many teams decline. The European Super League would exacerbate that process. For fans of the sport, this feels like the culmination of soccer as a rich get richer, poor get poorer proposition.

“I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that have arisen as [a] result of the coronavirus pandemic,” Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Monday, instead pushing solidarity from European football and the “reliable foundation” of the Champions League.

In the wake of the announcement, Jose Mourinho, the high-profile manager of Tottenham Hotspur, has been sacked alongside all of his coaching staff.

Mourinho has yet to release a statement on the reasons for his dismissal, and it’s possible the two decisions are unconnected, but he has spoken negatively on the idea of a “super league” in the past.

Belmont Stakes 2021: Post time, TV schedule, how to watch without cable

You don’t need cable to watch the last and longest leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown today on NBC.

The 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes takes place on Saturday on NBC.

The Belmont Stakes takes place Saturday, June 5. TV coverage starts at 2 p.m. PT (5 p.m. ET) on NBC. Post time is set for 3:47 p.m. PT (6:47 p.m. ET).

If you don’t have cable, you still have plenty of options. The least expensive that doesn’t require streaming is to connect an over-the-air antenna to your TV and watch your local NBC station. You could also check out a live TV streaming service, all of which offer free trials and offer NBC. Not every service carries your local NBC station, however, so check the links below to make sure it’s available in your area.

Sling TV’s $35-a-month Sling Blue package includes local NBC stations but only in a handful of markets.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

YouTube TV costs $65 a month and includes NBC in most markets. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area.

Read our YouTube TV review.

AT&T Now TVs $70-a-month Plus package includes NBC in most markets. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.