Beth Mowins has spent her accomplished career as a play-by-play announcer trying to tell the story, not be it.
That will change Friday night when the 1989 Lafayette College grad becomes just the second woman play-by-play announcer ever for an NFL game. Mowins will handle the Bay Area broadcast of the Oakland Raiders’ exhibition game against the St. Louis Rams, 28 years after Gayle Sirens broke the barrier when she broadcast a late-season game on NBC between Seattle and Kansas City.
That turned out to be the only NFL game Sirens ever broadcast and it took nearly three decades for another woman to get the chance. The game will be broadcast locally in the Bay Area and will be aired later Friday night on a tape-delayed basis on the NFL Network.
“I think most football play-by-play announcers would love to have that opportunity so certainly I’ll try to make the most of it,” said Mowins, who has been calling college football games on ESPN for a decade. “To be able to do it with the Raiders is pretty cool. I’m friends with Gayle Sirens so it’s pretty cool that it has come back full circle and the opportunity is there for me.”
Mowins got her start in broadcasting as an undergrad at Lafayette where she did her first gig as a color commentator for legendary Dick Hammer while still a standout basketball player for the Leopards.
Mowins was at the top of the list of potential broadcasters when Raiders owner Mark Davis decided he wanted a dedicated television crew for preseason games this year instead of simulcasting the radio broadcast.
Vittorio DeBartolo, the vice president, executive producer for the Raiders, was tasked with putting together a team and quickly focused on Mowins. He was intrigued by the trailblazing aspect of the hire for an organization that had hired the first female CEO in league history (Amy Trask), the first black coach in modern history (Art Shell) and the second Hispanic coach in league history (Tom Flores).
Watching tapes of her college broadcasts solidified the decision and Davis was quickly impressed.
“I think people are kind of curious at first,” DeBartolo said. “Most people who don’t know Beth don’t know how qualified she is. Once they read her resume and look at what she’s done, it’s a no-brainer. It was something we could build on and it kind of went in that direction. Luckily, we had the type of owner who doesn’t care who you are.”
Only adding to the attraction was the fact that Mowins went to graduate school in her hometown of Syracuse, N.Y., where Al Davis went to college, and she had no connections with other NFL teams.
Mowins will work the four preseason games this year with a pair of former Raiders greats in recently inducted Hall of Famer Tim Brown and four-time Super Bowl champion Matt Millen.
Mowins’ career as a national play-by-play football broadcaster began in 2005 when she was hired by ESPN to call Western Athletic Conference games. She followed Pam Ward as the second female play-by-play broadcaster for college football on a national outlet.
She also broadcasts men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as other college sports at ESPN.
“When I was younger I immediately realized I wasn’t going to be the ex-coach or ex-player but that other guy, I might be able to do what he does,” Mowins said.
So Mowins started doing local broadcasts near Syracuse before working her way to ESPN. While there are plenty of women sideline reporters in professional men’s sports, the broadcast booth has been a different story.
“I understand it’s a little different for a lot of other people, but for me it’s always been my day-to-day,” she said. “I’ve been really lucky over the years to have great guys who believed in me and mentored me and helped me out along the way. I don’t feel like it’s a big deal. Most of the time places I go, I can’t remember a bad experience. Most people are very friendly and professional.”
Mowins said it is a bit awkward to talk about herself when her career has been built on describing the actions of others. But she is able to appreciate the trend-setting aspect of her career when she hears from up-and-coming women in the business.
“When younger people walk up to me and say they want to do what I do, it does feel pretty good to sort of be someone who they can say, `Hey, it’s possible if you want it and work hard at it.”‘
Credit to the Allentown Morning Call which originally published this article
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.