Sports TV News
Arlo White & Tony Meola Named Fire Broadcasters
“White is the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League, while Meola is a former starting goalie for the United States national team who played in three World Cups.”
When WGN signed a broadcast agreement with the Chicago Fire two weeks ago, they did so without having an announcer team in place.
One match into their 2020 season and less than a week away from the first WGN telecast, the network announced Arlo White and Tony Meola will join the effort in making the Fire a more integral part of Chicago’s sports scene. White is the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League, while Meola is a former starting goalie for the United States national team who played in three World Cups.
White will work Fire telecasts during the Premier League offseason, until his first match sometime in May. When White is unavailable, New Jersey native Tyler Terens will serve as the Fire’s play-by-play voice. The 26-year old Terens spent the last two seasons as an announcer with the Phoenix Rising FC. As for White, the popular soccer broadcasting voice is a native of England, but became a Chicago sports fan after the first time he visited the city more than thirty years ago.
“I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that my first visit to Chicago in 1986, as a wide-eyed 13-year-old visiting my uncle and auntie, had a profound impact on the course of my life,” White said in the press release. “It ignited a love of this city and of the United States. I’ve been obsessed with all things Chicago and Americana ever since. If you’d told that English teenager that 30-odd years later he would have the opportunity to call football matches for the Fire’s return to Soldier Field? Well, I think he’d have cried tears of joy. I’ve been back to the city countless times since that first trip. I just love being here. It feels like my home away from home. This is an exciting year for Chicago Fire FC, and I am delighted to bring my experience to the Soldier Field booth.
“I’d also like to thank NBC Sports for allowing me to pursue this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the Chicago Fire in a city that I adore, during the Premier League offseason.”
Joining White is one of the best American soccer players ever in Tony Meola. A 2012 United States Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Meola has worked as a broadcaster since retiring and can be heard weekdays on SiriusXM FC’s Counter Attack radio show.
“I’m excited to join the Fire broadcast team and look forward to working with Arlo and Tyler this year,” said Meola. “This season will be an exciting one for the club with a new Head Coach, a homecoming at Soldier Field, a new broadcast partner in WGN and the continued passion of the fans. I am looking forward to a great season.”
White and Meola are replacing longtime play-by-play voice Dan Kelly and analyst Frank Klopas in the broadcast booth for the Fire. Last October, Kelly announced he wouldn’t be returning to the booth and Klopas joined the club’s coaching staff as an assistant.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Sports TV News
Charles Barkley ‘Was so Mad’ at ESPN Coverage of LeBron James
“We all love LeBron, [but] he didn’t say he was retired yet. It should’ve been all about the Denver Nuggets.”
When the Denver Nuggets advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in the 47-year history of the franchise, ESPN showed the team’s celebration for all of four seconds. It then quickly switched to a shot of LeBron James, stoic but obviously disappointed, walking through the tunnel back to the Los Angeles Lakers locker room.
Tuesday on ESPN’s First Take, JJ Redick criticized the network’s NBA coverage for highlighting larger markets and a small faction of players considered to be “superstars.” There’s no way to tell if Charles Barkley was watching, but Redick’s point is one he agreed with.
That night on Inside the NBA, Barkley said he was annoyed with the amount of attention put on LeBron James after the game. He wanted to see the reactions of Nuggets stars Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray and head coach Michael Malone to making the NBA Finals. Instead, he and other viewers were inundated with more content centered around the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I was so mad this morning I actually turned the TV off,” Barkley said last night on Inside the NBA, “because the Denver Nuggets sweep and get to the Finals for the first time. We all love LeBron, [but] he didn’t say he was retired yet. It should’ve been all about the Denver Nuggets.”
James, for the record, did not even say that he was seriously considering retiring. In a post-game press conference following the Lakers’ elimination, he said he “had a lot to think about” in the offseason.
The Walt Disney Company has reported its most-watched NBA playoffs on ESPN platforms in the last 11 years, according to data provided by Nielsen Media Research. The games have averaged approximately 5.6 million viewers, a 9% increase from the year prior. Moreover, Game 4 between the Nuggets and Lakers peaked at around 11.5 million viewers from the 11 to 11:15 p.m. EST quarter hour window, and averaged 8.2 million over the duration of the contest.
Sports TV News
ESPN Layoffs Resume, NFL & NBA Talent Likely To See Biggest Cuts
“The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning.”
ESPN will look to slash $30 million in salary as The Walt Disney Company’s layoffs continue, with a majority of it coming from talent covering the NFL and NBA. The network’s goal is to have the layoffs completed by the end of June according to a report by Front Office Sports.
Through it all, Max Kellerman’s afternoon television show This Just In could be canceled in order to slot Pat McAfee’s show into the daily programming lineup. Kellerman’s show airs from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, meaning more moves could be on the way to hold McAfee’s statement that his show will air immediately following First Take, which concludes at noon.
Employee morale at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol is reportedly quite low, with people questioning why the company chose to pay McAfee and lay off a litany of its dedicated and longtime staffers.
The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning. More names are surely to follow as The Worldwide Leader looks to do its part to contribute to Disney cutting $5.5 billion in costs. The final round is expected to impact 2,500 employees in different areas of the company.
The company expects to report its own earnings for the first time this November, and sources have stated that the numbers will be impressive. Conducting the layoffs in separate rounds and saving on-air talent for last, however, has certainly played a role in public perception of the moves, and this week’s round will largely impact executives and other personnel behind the scenes.
Sports TV News
Eli Manning: ‘People Enjoy’ When ManningCast Has to Apologize for Language
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests.”
The ManningCast on ESPN has become appointment viewing for select Monday Night Football games. Eli Manning loves the fun, laid-back nature of the show he and brother Peyton put on for fans.
But with live TV, sometimes unpredictable things happen, and sometimes people use profanity. Eli, speaking on Tuesday at the 4se sports and entertainment event in New York City, said viewers get a kick out of when the two let occasional profanities slip and have to scramble to say sorry.
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests,” he said. “I feel like we’re apologizing for a lot of things on the show, but I guess people enjoy that part.”
Manning has said previously that the goal is for viewers to get the sense that Peyton and Eli are right there with them on their couch watching the game. Eli said it’s been fun getting to show some authenticity now that he’s retired.
“When I was playing, there was a conscious effort; I didn’t want either my fans or coaches to think I had a life outside of football,” he said. “Once I retired, I realized I didn’t have to hold back.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.