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Could North American Fans Embrace a One Man Booth?

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Eric Koreen has an interesting piece on The Athletic Toronto inspired by the World Cup coverage on TSN. With Canada not sending its own national broadcasters to Russia, the network was forced to run the international feed that featured one-man broadcast booths. Koreen asks if it is possible they may someday become more common in North American sports coverage.

Koreen and a series of interview subjects note that soccer is ideal for a one-man booth. The culture surrounding the sport conditioned most fans over 30 to expect the action on television to be allowed to speak for itself.

“In North America, we’re a little bit more analytical in how we want sports broken down, and that’s why we have separation between a play-by-play person and a colour analyst,” said Rob Corte, vice-president, Sportsnet and NHL productions. He added that in his role he has never discussed using just one voice to call a game. “I think the analyst’s role is to really dig deep. Play-by-play: who and what. Colour analyst: how and why. …

“In soccer, it’s more commentary generally. They don’t really get into the X’s and O’s within a broadcast if you watch it. There’s not much of a technical breakdown as to strategy. Even on the replays, it’s more just commenting on the reactions of what you see as opposed to exactly why something happened. They save that for the pre-game shows, the post-game shows and halftime.”

That is not the case in the US and Canada, where Koreen says “When broadcasters on this side of the Atlantic Ocean experiment with the size of a booth, they tend to try to squeeze more voices in.”

The pace that North America’s most popular sports are played is a problem for one-man booths as well.

It is hard to imagine single voices carrying a broadcast for certain sports. Hockey’s pace of play is fast, with players hopping on and off the ice on the fly. At some point, the play-by-play caller needs to take a sip of water, and stoppages are the obvious time to do that. Basketball has more whistles than hockey thanks to more fouls and substitutions, but there is still a lot going on.

Football’s slower pace would theoretically allow for a play-caller to keep up, but there is arguably no sports that is more steeped in strategy.

Baseball, Koreen writes, is the one major pro sport where one-man booths could work. Vin Scully was a one-man-show for years on Dodger broadcasts and he is often pointed to as the most influential man to ever do the job. To be fair, Koreen points out that while Scully was on air alone, he often had someone else in the booth with him.

Many minor league broadcasters are on their own in the radio booth, but could the practice become common at the Major League level?

If there is a North American sport where we could eventually see a one-person broadcast booth become more common, it is baseball. Corte noted that 162 games — almost every day for six months — is a lot of time to hear the same voice, over and over and over. Storytelling is an accepted part of broadcasting in baseball, though, and one voice, so long as it is attached to a great memory, can accomplish a lot in the sport.

Koreen’s article is a long read, but an interesting one. You can find it here.

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Ryan Leaf: Jay Glazer ‘Is a Fraud When it Comes to Anything Mental Health or Wellness Related’

“Phelps is an inspiration but it gives me pause that he muddies his mind with that con man.”

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Photos of Ryan Leaf and Jay Glazer
Leaf Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle Glazer Photo Courtesy: FOX Sports

Swimmer Michael Phelps was a guest on NBC’s Meet the Press this weekend and as he has done before, he talked candidly about the challenges he has had with his mental health and his bouts with depression. He spoke with Kristen Welker and talked about FOX Sports football insider Jay Glazer being his “mental health buddy.” This brought quite the response from former Chargers quarterback and current football analyst Ryan Leaf.

“Jay Glazer and I, we’re both mental health buddies,” Phelps said. “We both struggle, and when we’re both having our bad days, we go through similar ups and downs. And we do similar things when we’re down, if that makes sense. We both had this conversation the other day because when it happens to me, I reach out to him. When it happens to him, he reaches out to me. I have a couple of friendships like that where we’ve kind of been really able to form a bond.”

In response to a social media post about the interview, Leaf held nothing back as he posted his thoughts about Glazer.

“Glazer is a fraud when it comes to anything mental health or wellness related,” Leaf wrote. “He uses it for his benefit and really isn’t invested in any of it unless it benefits him and his brand. Phelps is an inspiration but it gives me pause that he muddies his mind with that con man.”

Leaf has been vocal as well about his struggles with depression, addiction and a suicide attempt. Leaf also spent 32 months in prison when he violated the terms of his probation by breaking into a home to steal prescription drugs.

Back in 2018, a story from the New York Post talked about Leaf and Glazer working together on Glazer’s ‘Merging Vets and Players’ (MVP) initiative.

Glazer, who was recently married and has been on his honeymoon, posted on his X account in response to Phelps’ interview, “Brother, I am so honored to walk this walk with you!!! We save each other my dude!”

Glazer has not yet commented on the post from Leaf. Should he respond, we will update this story.

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‘NFL Total Access’ Comes to an End After 21 Years on NFL Network

“Today is our last show and while our team is disappointed, we are excited about what’s next for us at NFL Network.”

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NFL Total Access

‘NFL Total Access’ has been a part of the NFL Network since 2003 and today it is set for its final episode. The news of the show coming to an end came down earlier this month. Many of the current show participants took to social media to post their thoughts including hosts Mike Yam and Kimmi Chex along with analyst Chase Daniel.

“Tonight marks the last ever episode of NFL Total Access,” said Chex. “I was 7 years old when this show aired meaning that I spent my life watching. Co-hosting our flagship program this past season has been the honor of my career. I’m not going anywhere but for now, it’s goodbye TA.”

Yam said, “It’s been an absolute thrill hosting NFL Total Access. Today is our last show and while our team is disappointed, we are excited about what’s next for us at NFL Network. “Thank you” isn’t nearly enough to express the gratitude I have for the team. See you at 7est for 1 more run.”

A report from The Athletic said the show would be replaced “at least in the interim” by Insiders with Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero.

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NBCUniversal Names Olympic Hosts for USA, CNBC and E!; Kathryn Tappen Headlines

“We are excited to have an experienced group of hosts to present the most compelling stories, news, and interviews as we take viewers from event to event throughout the Games.”

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NBC Olympics Logo and photos of Cara Banks, Laura Britt, Trenni Casey, Lindsay Czarniak, Carolyn Manno, and Kathryn Tappen

NBCUniversal announced its hosts for coverage of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 on USA Network, CNBC and E! Cara Banks, Laura Britt and Trenni Casey will all be a part of the coverage on CNBC and E! Lindsay Czarniak, Carolyn Manno and Kathryn Tappen will all take part in the USA Network coverage.

The Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympics is Friday, July 26 on NBC, Peacock, and Telemundo.

Coverage on USA Network, CNBC, and E! is expected to include Team USA men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, and volleyball, as well as swimming, gymnastics, and track & field, and more.

“We are excited to have an experienced group of hosts to present the most compelling stories, news, and interviews as we take viewers from event to event throughout the Games,” said Rebecca Chatman, Vice President and Coordinating Producer, NBC Olympics Production in a release.

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