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Archive for August, 2011

GOLF: Tiger & Viking

Two quick golf notes:

1) CBS Sports golf broadcaster Ian Baker-Finch played golf recently with Tiger, and basically said he’s good to go to make another run.

2) The Viking Classic, an opposite field event played the same weeks as the British Open, has lost Viking as a sponsor, so it is looking for a new title sponsor so they can continue in the future.

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Tiger Woods surprised many, including myself, by today committing to the Frys.com Open PGA Tour Fall Series event, to be held October 6-9 in San Martin, CA, near Stanford’s campus.

This is an event Tiger has no prior affiliation to whatsoever, and according to Woods, that was the idea:

John Fry and his company have supported the tour, and I’ve heard good things about the event and the golf course,” Woods said. “One of my goals this year was to participate in a tournament I hadn’t played before, and now, I will.”

This is the event that Rocco Mediate won last year, holing out a shot from the fairway in all four rounds.

This development is great news for golf as Tiger Woods will now help a tournament that is usually forgotten in the football landscape.

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Here’s Tennis Channel’s 2011 US Open coverage plans and announcers:

TENNIS CHANNEL’S US OPEN COVERAGE GETS UNDERWAY WITH FIRST MATCH MONDAY, AUGUST 29

LOS ANGELES, August 22, 2011 —

Mary Carillo Joins On-Air Team with Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin,

Lindsay Davenport and Others, as Sixth Television Court

is Made Available for Broadcasters This Year

Prime-Time Labor Day Weekend Highlights Two Weeks of More than 230 Hours,

with 72 Hours of Live Matches and 41 Hours of US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open

In its third year of US Open coverage, Tennis Channel will add Mary Carillo to its on-air lineup, marking the Queens, N.Y., native’s first stint in the network’s broadcast booth at the Flushing Meadow-based largest event in tennis. Carillo, who made her Grand Slam debut for the channel during its French Open coverage in May, will interact with Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport and other returning talent throughout the network’s nearly 24-hour US Open “Grounds Pass” August 29 through September 11. During the two-week competition Tennis Channel will devote 236 hours of programming to the sport’s greatest annual spectacle, with 72 of them dedicated to live, on-court play, including prime-time windows Labor Day weekend.

Also new in 2011 is the addition of a sixth television court for tournament broadcasters to share with viewers. Court No. 17 (the number has no bearing on match rank or quality) joins Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand, Court No. 11 and Court No. 13 as the on-screen homes of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Tennis Channel’s live coverage begins Monday, Aug. 29, at 11 a.m. ET, and concludes Thursday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m. ET.

No network devotes as much time to Grand Slam analysis, and Tennis Channel’s US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open will return for this assignment again in 2011. Anchored by Davenport, who won the 1998 US Open singles title, and Kevin Frazier, host of the entertainment industry’s The Insider, the network’s news, interview and highlight shows run throughout the late night and morning, right up to the following day’s play. Sprinkled with late-night, early morning encore matches, the programs, along with Tennis Channel’s live-match coverage, give viewers seemingly unending access to the US Open.

Starting with the first match of the tournament Monday, Aug. 29, Tennis Channel’s typical day of coverage features live matches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (all times ET). This is followed by US Open Tonight at 11 p.m., which alternates with encore matches throughout the late night and

early morning. At 6 a.m. Breakfast at the Open introduces the coming day’s play and, save for a two-hour encore-match break at 8 a.m., runs up to the first match at 11 a.m. Labor Day weekend is the exception, when the network’s live window takes place from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

On-Air Talent

While it represents her first time covering the action of her hometown tournament for Tennis Channel, Carillo is no newcomer to the network or the US Open. She hosted the channel’s live tournament desk, covered interviews and offered perspective as only she can during this year’s French Open, to the delight of viewers and members of the media alike. Carillo will have the same responsibilities in Flushing, where her refreshing honesty has been known for decades, as she has lent her wit and wisdom to several US Open broadcast partners, including CBS Sports, USA Network and ESPN. Winning numerous awards for her contributions to journalism, including a Sports Emmy Award, she has made a place for herself television sports like few others in the business.

No two people symbolize Tennis Channel Grand Slam telecasts like Hall of Famer Navratilova and veteran sportscaster Bill Macatee. Both have been at the forefront of every Grand Slam ever covered by the network, a lineup that has grown to include all four major events today. In New York this year they will be joined by lead commentators Ted Robinson and Ian Eagle again, and former players Austin, Leif Shiras, Justin Gimelstob, Jimmy Arias and Corina Morariu. Morariu will offer in-depth reports and analysis on site at the outer-court matches, which typically are the closest, longest contests of the first week of play. Court Report anchor Cari Champion also will return to provide special news and feature segments from throughout the tournament grounds. Meanwhile, Davenport and Frazier will host US Open Tonight and Breakfast at the Open from Tennis Channel’s Los Angeles studio, with an assist from the inimitable Bud Collins, reporter, writer and overall tennis expert. Both shows will feature nightly Court Report segments from reporters Arlene Santana and Angela Sun.

“Grounds Pass”

Since its first year of televising the US Open, Tennis Channel has focused on giving viewers an immersive experience that can only be replicated with a trip to Flushing Meadow. Its “Grounds Pass” coverage returns in 2011, allowing audiences to feel the heat, excitement, energy, noise and passion of a late-summer day spent at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. During the first week, when activity is seemingly everywhere and the matches run deep into the night, the network’s “Tennis Channel Plaza” will be back on display. Gimelstob will again conduct interviews and interact with fans on the site just outside Arthur Ashe Stadium, along with Champion and other members of the on-air team. The network’s main set, the center point of its coverage, will be out in plain sight again on the second level of the stadium, with Robinson, Eagle and others in full view of tournament ticket holders. From here the viewers go wherever the action is most intense, whether at center court with Macatee or Navratilova or out roving amongst the fans as they take it all in.

Broadband and Digital Coverage

Tennis Channel’s Web site, http://www.tennischannel.com, will shift its focus to the Big Apple during the two-week tournament, with live-match streaming, real-time scoring, schedules, draws and order of play. New to the online-video offerings this year will be American tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands’ video blog, in which the veteran US Open and Fed Cup competitor will share her unique perspective with the type of players’ lounge access that only comes when your name is in the main draw. Other video will include on-court highlights, behind-the-scenes features, interviews and on-air Court Report news segments. Reporters Steve Flink and Matt Cronin will write columns for the site during the US Open, as will Joel Drucker and humorist James LaRosa. Joining them will be official US Open hairstylist Julien Farel, who will author a blog on the network site for the first time in his years of styling the likes of Billie Jean King, Rafael Nadal and Mary Joe Fernandez.

Tennis Channel’s “Racquet Bracket” prediction game will allow online visitors to put their basic bracketology skills to the tennis test leading up to the competition again this year. The network also stays engaged with viewers via Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel).

Tennis Channel’s Live 2011 US Open Match Schedule

Date Time (ET) Event

Monday, Aug. 29 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round Action

Tuesday, Aug. 30 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round Action

Wednesday, Aug. 31 11 a.m.-7 p.m. First-Round, Second-Round Action

Thursday, Sept. 1 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Second-Round Action

Friday, Sept. 2 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Second-Round, Third-Round Action

Saturday, Sept. 3 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Third-Round Action

Sunday, Sept. 4 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Third-Round, Fourth-Round Action

Tuesday, Sept. 6 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Fourth-Round Action, Doubles

Wednesday, Sept. 7 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Doubles Quarterfinals

Thursday, Sept. 8 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Doubles, Juniors, Wheelchair

Tennis Channel’s US Open Tonight, Breakfast at the Open Schedule

Highlight and interview show US Open Tonight will premiere at 11 p.m. ET every night of the US Open, Monday, Aug. 29-Sunday, Sept. 11. After its debut Tuesday, Aug. 30, sister-show Breakfast at the Open will run through the end of the tournament on Sunday, Sept. 11. The program will appear every morning at 6 a.m. ET, with the exception of an 11 a.m. ET start on Saturday, Sept. 10. The schedule is generally as follows (all times ET):

11 p.m.-12 a.m. – US Open Tonight

12 a.m.-1 a.m. – US Open Tonight

1 a.m.-3 a.m. – Encore Match

3 a.m.-4 a.m. – US Open Tonight

4 a.m.-6 a.m. – Encore Match

6 a.m.-7 a.m. – Breakfast at the Open

7 a.m.-8 a.m. – Breakfast at the Open

8 a.m.-10 a.m. – Encore Match

10 a.m.-11 a.m. – Breakfast at the Open

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Here is ESPN’s press release about their 2011 US Open coverage plans and announcers:

ESPN & the 2011 US Open: 100 Hours on ESPN2 HD; 420 on ESPN3.com, Growing Online & Mobile Presence

ESPN’s multi-platform and worldwide coverage of tennis’ final Grand Slam event of the year, the US Open from New York August 29 – September 11 will include 100 hours in high definition on ESPN2 HD, 420 hours on ESPN3.com’s multi-court offering plus coverage across ESPN’s platforms in the U.S. and around the world. The tournament will mark the ESPN US Open debut for Chris Evert, who joined ESPN this summer at Wimbledon. With a record six US Open titles among her 18 major singles championships, she will serve as both a studio and match analyst. For a taste of ESPN’s coverage, here is a promo spot: http://bit.ly/ESPNUSOad .

Before play begins, ESPN will be home of the exclusive announcement of the men’s and women’s draw during SportsCenter on Thursday, Aug. 25, at noon. Patrick McEnroe and Mary Joe Fernandez will discuss the pairings live from the National Tennis Center in New York with player interviews including defending champion Rafael Nadal.

During the first week of the tournament, ESPN2’s coverage will start at 1 p.m. each weekday and will continue nonstop for at least 10 hours through both the day and evening sessions. The latter, Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM, will begin at 7 p.m. and continue until 11 p.m. or when play is concluded, whichever is later. The second week, ESPN2 will have Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM at 7 p.m. on Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5, followed by day-long windows Tuesday – Thursday starting at 11 a.m. On Thursday, Sept. 8, the evening telecast will include a special doubles exhibition with actors Will Ferrell and Matthew Perry and Tennis Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Jim Courier.

All of ESPN2’s telecasts are also available online through ESPNnetworks.com, and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. Both are accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated

provider.

While ESPN2 is on the air, SportsCenter will have the right to cut-in live for updates and key moments. SportsCenter’s daytime edition is on ESPN until 3 p.m. with later editions from 6-7 p.m. and 11 p.m.-midnight. On ESPNEWS, SportsCenter airs from 3-6 p.m. and 7-11 p.m.

On the final day of the tournament, Sunday, Sept. 11, ESPN2 will televise live the women’s doubles championship at 1 p.m., and will review all the action at 10 p.m. with a special two-hour edition of SportsCenter at the US Open.

ESPN2’s Commentator Lineup

The addition at Wimbledon of Evert bolstered television’s best tennis team, led by Cliff Drysdale, a former US Open finalist. Cliff has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast September 14, 1979, exactly one week after the network launched, making him second in ESPN tenure among commentators behind only Bob Ley. Chris Fowler, ESPN’s lead studio anchor for Grand Slam tennis since 2003, will serve as a host and call matches. Mike Tirico of Monday Night Football, Hannah Storm and Chris McKendry will also serve as hosts. John and Patrick McEnroe will again often be paired in the booth, and the rest of the ESPN tennis team returns: Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert and Pam Shriver. In addition, Tom Rinaldi will contribute features and essays.

More US Open from ESPN, Inc.

ESPN3.com, the company’s live multi-screen sports network, will cover the action from six courts (up from five) beginning at 1 p.m. the first five days. ESPN3.com will also simulcast ESPN2 for the full tournament, select additional court coverage and a simulcast of the Women’s Doubles final for a total of approximately 420 hours of US Open tennis on the web.

ESPN3.com gives fans a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of live, global sports events annually. It is available in nearly 70 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks. The network is also accessible on the go via the WatchESPN app and on ESPN on Xbox LIVE through an affiliated provider.

ESPN.com

Courtcast: A multi-tool application with all-court scoring, match stats, Cover It Live conversations, poll questions, rolling Twitter feeds and scrolling bottom line.
Center Court: A daily video review of the day’s best highlights and most notable results.
Digital Serve: Exclusive daily dotcom video segment previewing the next day’s action.
Slam Central: Home of all the best US Open content, including columns by Greg Garber, highlights and the latest results.
Open Notebook: An aggregation of what the latest happenings are on the grounds of Flushing Meadows. From interviews, latest results, and even vetting the food, fans will get a taste of everything.

ESPN Interactive TV will be presented on DIRECTV. During the ESPN2 telecast windows for the first five days, a six-screen mosaic will include the ESPN2 program, along with matches with commentary from five other courts. In total, viewers will have access to more than 435 hours of live tennis action and 140 extra matches. Production will be enhanced with press conferences, interviews and features that will be added during court changeovers and between matches. All six screens can be expanded to full screen or picture-in-picture at the touch of the remote button. In addition, DIRECTV will offer “Matches On Now,” a graphic across the bottom with scores from each of the matches currently on the court channels, with the ability to tune directly to the match, and “Results,” an instant look at real-time scores and schedule info for matches ahead – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching.

ESPN Deportes, the multi-media Spanish-language U.S. initiative, will present live action during the first week of the US Open through its radio and online platforms. ESPNdeportes.com will serve U.S. Hispanic fans featuring daily webisodes of “ESPiaNdo” with the latest news and information. In addition, the site will offer special daily reports, highlights from New York and updates on Twitter by Varela, Cortina, and Alvarez. ESPN Deportes Radio will feature daily segments during the morning drive show Al Despertar.

ESPN International will offer over 170 hours of live coverage throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa. In Latin America, coverage will be available in high definition. Coverage to Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America will be anchored by Luis Alvarez and Eduardo Varela with analysts Javier Frana and Jose Luis Clerc and reporters Nicolas Pereira, Carolina Guillen and Pablo Ferreira. Sam Gore and Mark Brown will handle English play-by-play with analysts Kathy Rinaldi and Jimmy Arias. Latin America’s ESPN Play will feature over 500 hours of live streaming coverage which will include up to six tennis courts in separate windows early on in the tournament. Additional Spanish content will be available on ESPN360.com, ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN Mobile, featuring daily webisodes of “ESPiaNdo” hosted by Varela, access to reports from New York and daily highlights

The WatchESPN app, for fans with Apple or Android devices and who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks or Verizon FiOS TV, will present ESPN2’s live coverage, in addition to ESPN3.com’s multi-screen offering. Also, ESPN Mobile TV will carry 65 hours of live coverage.

ESPN Classic: Great US Open Matches from the Past

Leading up to this year’s action, ESPN Classic will present great US Open matches from the past, highlighted by a 21-hour marathon starting late Thursday, Aug. 25 at midnight. In addition, the morning the tournament starts Monday, Aug. 29, at 7 a.m. and leading directly into ESPN2’s live coverage at 1 p.m., ESPN Classic will air the most recent two men’s finals – Juan Martin Del Potro defeating Roger Federer in a dramatic five-setter in 2009 and Rafael Nadal beating Novak Djokovic for a career Grand Slam last year.

Of special note are showings of three noteworthy matches upon significant anniversaries:

the 1981 Men’s Final – 30 years ago – when John McEnroe defeated Bjorn Borg 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 for his third of four US Open titles Thurs., Aug. 25, at 1 a.m. (Wed., Aug. 24, at 10 p.m. PT). Borg quickly left the court and played very few matches ever again, and never in a major. The match will also be aired on Tuesday, Sept. 13, the exact 30th anniversary date, at 8 p.m.
also on its 30th anniversary, the 1981 Women’s Final will be presented Monday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. In a memorable match, Tracy Austin came from way back to defeat Martina Navratilova 1-6, 7-6, 7-6 for her second and last major championship before back injuries shortened her career.
A 10th anniversary look back at the 2001 Men’s Quarterfinal, in which no. 10 seed Pete Sampras edged no. 2 Andre Agassi in four sets, all of which went to a tiebreaker: Fri., Aug. 26, at 1 p.m. (Thurs., Aug. 25 at 10 p.m. PT).

The ESPN Classic schedule:
Date Time (ET) Match
Thur, Aug 25 1-3 a.m. 1981 Men’s Final: John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg
7-9 p.m. 1995 Men’s Final: Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi
MID-1 a.m. 1979 Women’s Final: Tracy Austin vs. Chris Evert Lloyd
Fri, Aug 26 1-3:30 a.m. 2001 Men’s Quarterfinal: Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi
3:30-5:30 a.m. 1989 Men’s Quarterfinal: Jimmy Connors vs. Andre Agassi
5:30-8 a.m. 1982 Men’s Final: Jimmy Connors vs. Ivan Lendl
8-11 a.m. 1992 Men’s Semifinal: Stefan Edberg vs. Michael Chang
11 a.m.-1 p.m. 1994 Men’s Final: Andre Agassi vs. Michael Stich
1-3 p.m. 1995 Women’s Final: Steffi Graf vs. Monica Seles
3-5 p.m. 2004 Women’s Quarterfinal: Serena Williams vs. Jennifer Capriati
5-7 p.m. 1990 Men’s Final: Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi
7-9 p.m. 1995 Men’s Final: Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi
Mon, Aug 29 7-10 a.m. 2009 Men’s Final: Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Roger Federer
10 a.m.-1 p.m. 2010 Men’s Final: Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic
Mon, Sept 12 8-10 p.m. 1981 Women’s Final: Tracy Austin vs. Martina Navratilova
Tue, Sept 13 8-10 p.m. 1981 Men’s Final: John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg

ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place

Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended added in a 12-year agreement starting in 2012.

ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call and John McEnroe playing.

In addition, broadband network ESPN3.com, now in nearly 70 million homes, carries thousands of hours of tennis annually, including all four Grand Slam events, plus ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments, usually with additional, exclusive matches. Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. ESPN 3D aired its first tennis at Wimbledon in 2011.

ESPN2 HD & the 2011 US Open
Date

Time (ET)

Event
Mon, Aug 29 1-7 p.m.7-11 p.m. First Round Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM: First Round
Tues, Aug 30 1-7 p.m.7-11 p.m. First Round Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM: First Round
Wed, Aug 31 1-7 p.m. Men’s First Round/Women’s Second Round
Thur, Sept 1 7-11 p.m.1-7 p.m.

7-11 p.m.
Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM: First & Second RoundsSecond Round

Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM: Second Round
Fri, Sept 2 1-7 p.m.7-11 p.m. Men’s Second Round/Women’s Third Round Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM: Second & Third Rounds

Mon, Sept 5 7-11 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM: Round of 16
Tues, Sept 6 11 a.m.-7 p.m.7-11 p.m. Men’s Round of 16, Women’s QuarterfinalsPrimetime at the US Open presented by IBM: Women’s Quarterfinals
Wed, Sept 7 11 a.m.-7 p.m.7-11 p.m. QuarterfinalsPrimetime at the US Open presented by IBM: Quarterfinals
Thur, Sept 8 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Men’s Quarterfinals
7-11 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM: Men’s Quarterfinals
Sun, Sept 11 1-3 p.m. Women’s Doubles Final
10-MID p.m. SportsCenter at the US Open

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United States captain Fred Couples said today at the Champions Tour stop in Washington state that Tiger Woods WILL be one of his captains picks for this November’s Presidents Cup:

“I’ve told him that he’s going to be on the team,” Couples said just before a practice round preparing for the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. “There is no reason for me to wait till Sept. 26 to pick Tiger. He’s the best player in the world forever.”

Couples, initially unaware the Woods had not qualified for this week’s FedEx Cup, told him by text message to find another tournament to play. Woods’ next scheduled appearance is not until the Australian Open, the week before the Cup.

“He has responded to that. I’m pretty sure you’ll see him one more time,” Couples said. “That’s enough for me. I know the last thing he wants to do is embarrass himself. I think he’ll be ready to play. Does that mean he’s going to go out and win every point? No, I don’t expect that. But I expect him to be sharp and ready to play. I would be shocked if he’s not.”

This is very good news for Tiger fans, for golf, for the US team and for Steve Stricker, who has been absolutely dominant in team competitions with Tiger as his partner in recent years.

Where that extra tournament will be, if Tiger plays one, is a different question. Tiger will most likely not qualify for the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, so I’d look for Tiger to play either the Las Vegas or Disney Fall Series events.

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This week is The Barclays, this first event in the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup. It’ll be played at Plainfield Country Club, here in my home state of New Jersey. Hurricane Irene could cause havoc to this weekend’s playing schedule. The PGA Tour says they will make a decision on play for Saturday and Sunday on Friday at the earliest.

Here is the current TV Schedule: Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday, 3-6pm ET, Saturday 1-2:30pm ET and Sunday Noon-1:30pm ET. CBS, Saturday 3-6pm ET and Sunday 2-6pm ET.

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Here are my picks for the first Playoff event for the FedEx Cup:

A: Luke Donald (Backup: Phil Mickelson)
B: Steve Stricker (Backup: David Toms)
B: Webb Simpson (Backup: Brendon de Jonge)
C: Sergio Garcia (Backup: Charles Howell III)

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