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Mendoza Thrilled To Be Analyzing For ESPN

Jason Barrett

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Jessica Mendoza was a teenager and wondering whether it was cool to play sports when she heard an Olympic softball player speak about her love of the game.

Now she’s heading to the World Series to give updates for “Baseball Tonight” on ESPN, shortly after becoming the first female analyst to call a nationally televised MLB postseason game.

Mendoza listened to shortstop Dot Richardson, who led the U.S. to the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, and the Olympian’s enthusiasm for the sport “allowed me at a young age to own my passion.”

The 34-year-old Mendoza called the Houston Astros’ 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees in the American League wild-card matchup with John Kruk and Dan Shulmanon Oct. 6. She and Kruk had developed a rapport from working together for two years during the NCAA Women’s College World Series.

“He has zero notes,” Mendoza said of Kruk, who batted .300 in his career with San Diego, Philadelphia and the Chicago White Sox. “Others have pages and pages, he comes in just sees the game and reacts. It’s a good balance, I can come in more with numbers or some background and play off him.”

The Stanford four-time All-American center fielder earned Olympic gold (2004 Athens) and silver (2008 Beijing) medals. Mendoza was among the best hitters, winning batting (.416 average) and home run (50) awards at Stanford and averaging .432 for Team USA.

Mendoza played professional softball and stepped into the announcer’s booth. She got her start with ESPN as a color analyst for the NCAA men’s and women’s College World Series, the Little League World Series and as a sideline reporter for ESPNU.

Mendoza was the first woman to call a MLB game for ESPN in mid-August at the Arizona-St. Louis game. She also announced for “Sunday Night Baseball” when Cubs’ pitcher Jake Arrieta tossed a no-hitter in the 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 30.

Here are more things to know about Mendoza, who has two young sons, 70,000 followers on Twitter and attended the Women’s Sports Foundation dinner on Tuesday night in Manhattan.

 

For her Astros-Yankees postseason debut, Mendoza attended batting practice for several days and took notes on both teams. “To me that’s priceless, when you get into a game and you’ve been able talk to these guys, get an idea where their head is at, what kind of preparation they’re doing versus the pitchers they’re facing.

“I might be at batting practice talking to Alex Rodriguez and he mentions something with a 2-0 count. Then I’ll go look at his stats for the last four years on 2-0 counts or maybe 2-0 counts against lefties if that’s who they’re facing.”

Her scorecard from that game went into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

To read the full article visit the USA Today where it was originally published

 

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CBS Sports Names Lisa Byington and Jordan Kent WNBA Play-by-Play Announcers

“I am really excited to be a part of this team, can’t wait to showcase this league on another big stage, and it all starts this weekend!”

Barrett Sports Media

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Logo for the WNBA and a graphic for the CBS WNBA broadcast team
Graphic Courtesy: CBS

Last month, CBS Sports and the WNBA announced a multi-year agreement featuring the largest slate of games broadcast by the network. Their first game is coming up this weekend with the New York Liberty at the Minnesota Lynx on CBS and Paramount+ on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET. Today, they announced the game announcers who will be providing coverage this season, including play-by-play announcers Lisa Byington and Jordan Kent.

Byington is the television play-by-play voice of the Milwaukee Bucks and does games for the Chicago Sky of the WNBA. Jordan Kent is a former NFL wide receiver who was a three-sport athlete in college which included playing basketball for his dad, former Oregon head coach Ernie Kent. He is also the former television play-by-play announcer for the Portland Trail Blazers.

“I am really excited to be a part of this team, can’t wait to showcase this league on another big stage, and it all starts this weekend!” said Byington on a social media post.

Julianne Viani, who has provided analysis for the Atlantic 10 Conference and YES Network’s coverage of the New York Liberty was named one of the game analysts. Another game analyst will be former Syracuse standout guard and Connecticut Sun color commentator Isis Young.

Sideline reporters include AJ Ross, Tiffany Blackmon, Emily Proud and Tina Cervasio.

“We’re thrilled to extend our strong partnership with the WNBA,” Dan Weinberg, executive vice president of programming of CBS Sports, said when the news was announced. “As the league continues to build momentum, this is a great opportunity to expand our broadcast presence and further lean into our commitment to providing a national platform for women’s sports.”

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Jules Breach Ready to Occupy the Hosting Chair for FOX Sports Coverage of UEFA EURO 2024

“I am the biggest football fan, so to be hosting a tournament as big as this for a network as big as FOX is genuinely a dream come true.”

Derek Futterman

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Jules Breach
Courtesy: James Gill, Danehouse/Getty Images

Throughout her broadcast career, Jules Breach has had a variety of opportunities to cover football (soccer) across various professional entities. As the lead reporter and presenter for TNT Sports in the United Kingdom, she is responsible for keeping viewers informed and entertained throughout the coverage of the game within a panoply of competitive fields such as the Premier League, Europa League and Champions League.

Breach will now have a new opportunity to demonstrate her football knowledge and media proficiency in the United States as the lead host for UEFA EURO Match Day, the FOX Sports studio show surrounding UEFA EURO 2024. The program will provide viewers with extensive pre-match and post-match coverage from the group stage to the championship round on FOX and FS1.

FOX Sports secured the media rights to the tournament through a six-year agreement with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), which implements several championship matches and national team competitions. Coverage of UEFA EURO 2024 begins on Friday, June 14 at 3 p.m. EST when Germany opens group stage play against Scotland broadcast on the FOX television network. As a whole, the division will broadcast 46 UEFA 2024 and 32 CONMEBOL Copa América 2024 matches live on FOX, FS1 and FS2, and all matches will also be available to stream live on the FOX Sports app.

“It’s an absolute honor to be the lead host for FOX Sports’ coverage of the Euros this summer,” Breach said. “I’m absolutely buzzing. I am the biggest football fan, so to be hosting a tournament as big as this for a network as big as FOX is genuinely a dream come true.”

Breach articulated that she will bring the perspective of the fans to the airwaves while also being able to effectively contextualize the action through her previous experiences. At the same time, she possesses genuine excitement surrounding the sport and an inclination to align her colleagues with broadcast success.

Although the full roster of analysts has yet to be revealed, Breach hinted that it will include an array of different nationalities that will foster a congenial environment. One of the analysts joining Breach in studio is former center-back and Team Italy captain Giorgio Chiellini, someone from whom she will look to extrapolate perspectives pertaining to his team’s championship run in the 2020 iteration of the tournament.

“The analysts that we have – and we’ve got an amazing group of people that I’m going to be sat with every day – they bring the expertise,” Breach said. “They can tell us from their experiences of playing in these big matches what it’s like.”

Breach has been on the air for several different events both at the local and national level during her career working in sports media. Aside from her occupation with TNT Sports, she is the host for Channel 4 coverage of England national football team matches in the United Kingdom.

Moreover, she has covered the UEFA EURO 2020 and two FIFA World Cup tournaments for Optus Sport Australia, along with reporting and hosting for coverage of the UEFA Champions League from CBS Sports. No matter the assignment, Breach finds there to be a catalyzing element to sports that ultimately promulgates fellowship and rapport amid a backdrop of competition, zeal and felicitation.

“We use sport as a way to escape and as a means of entertainment and fun, so I guess I like to bring that side because when I watch sport; when I watch football, that’s what I want to see,” Breach said. “I want to see people smiling and having fun and enjoying it, but obviously there’s also a serious side to sport at times as well, so it’s getting the right balance when you need to.”

During tournament play, FOX Sports will broadcast matchups featuring both established veterans and rising stars within the sport. Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappé, Luka Modrić and Warren Zaïre-Emery encompass some of the standout performers that will take part in the tournament proceedings. The popularity of football (soccer) continues to flourish globally, demonstrated by record-breaking television audiences, merchandise sales and a blend of domestic and international interest.

Viewership for UEFA EURO 2020, which was delayed by the global pandemic and played in June and July 2021, garnered a live match cumulative event audience of 5.23 billion viewers. Additionally, the live average match audiences for the tournament surpassed 100 million viewers.

“I love that there’s such a huge interest in the Euros,” Breach said. “Obviously this is the first time that FOX is showing the Euros as well, so it’s a really exciting thing for the network, and I’m excited that I can be part of that, but ultimately I think the sport will continue to grow in popularity in the States just because it’s a great sport to watch.”

The UEFA Euro Match Day program from FOX Sports will implement various elements to engage with younger audiences, including a travel series with mirthful and appealing pieces. Although the sport is perceived to be the most popular in the world, the program will aim to resonate with savants who possess a keen aptitude of the game on and off the pitch, along with novices inquisitive to delve deeper into the game. Broadcasts of the show will commence one hour before matches televised on FOX and FS1 throughout the month-long endeavor.

“We’re going to be bringing so much coverage,” Breach said. “There’s going to be our buildup into pretty much every single Euros game that we show, and we’ll make sure that we break things down so people are educated as well as entertained, and we’ll do that with the best analysts.”

Breach has covered the England national football team’s journey to UEFA EURO 2024 and UEFA Nations League campaign on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and is grateful for the chance to continue following the club. Although she hopes that England will ultimately hoist the Henri Delaunay Trophy for the first time in tournament history, she is anticipating UEFA EURO 2024 in its totality and her new hosting role with FOX Sports. Breach will leverage her reporting acumen and conversations with players into her hosting obligations in addition to a broad, comprehensive discernment pertaining to individual and team odysseys towards the prestigious tournament.

“I love the fact that FOX has given me this opportunity, and hopefully I can continue to cover international tournaments for the network,” Breach said. “That’s the dream; that’s what I want to keep doing.”

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Report: Warner Bros. Discovery Considering Matching Amazon NBA Package, Not NBC

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has told others he believes NBCUniversal is overpaying for the NBA based on their research.

Barrett Sports Media

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Another day, another new possibility in the ongoing saga of the future NBA media rights packages. Yesterday, Sports Business Journal reported the NBA would soon formalize their agreements with The Walt Disney Company/ESPN, Comcast/NBCUniversal/NBC/Peacock and Amazon for rights which would begin after next season. There has been much speculation about the matching rights Warner Bros. Discovery has in their deal and most of the chatter has been related to them possibly trying to match NBC’s bid. A new report from CNBC’s Alex Sherman says it might be the Amazon package for Prime Video that NBC tries to match.

It is clear WBD prefers to keep a rights agreement with the NBA for TNT, a partnership which goes back nearly 40 years. However, as Sherman points out there is the matter of their $42 billion gross debt. This may be a big reason they might try and match the Amazon offer, believed to be worth $1.8 billion per year, whereas the NBC package is believed to be priced at $2.5 billion. WBD is reportedly paying $1.2 billion per year currently.

If and when those packages are signed, that is when the matching clause for WBD will come in to play, so they have not yet been forced to make a decision. Sherman reports they would have five days to match an offer according to someone familiar with the language of the deal.

Sherman says it is still possible WBD does not try and match either offer and brings up the possibility of the league carving out a fourth packages, however, it is unknown if the league would be able to consider such an idea based on having already created a third package.

WBD has the Max platform to use as a streaming service, but Sherman notes that service plans to tier its sports programming, something the NBA would not like compared to Prime Video’s plan of continuing their current price structure.

One other note from Sherman’s report says Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has told others he believes NBCUniversal is overpaying for the NBA based on their research.

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