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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.”

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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.

Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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