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Pittsburgh Penguins Announce Changes to Broadcast Team

SportsNet Pittsburgh will take the air on October 2 and will function as the primary television broadcaster of local Penguins NHL games.

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Pittsburgh Penguins
Courtesy: National Hockey League

As Warner Bros. Discovery slowly moves out of the regional sports network business, the Pittsburgh Penguins are making changes to their regional broadcasts on SportsNet Pittsburgh, their new television home. The move to a team-owned RSN ends a 27-year tenure of being televised on networks owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. Fenway Sports Group owns the Pittsburgh Penguins, along with RFK Racing, the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C. With the Penguins, it will be utilizing another one of its assets – New England Sports Network (NESN) – to manage the daily operations of the new RSN.

SportsNet Pittsburgh will take the air on October 2 and will function as the primary television broadcaster of local Penguins NHL games throughout the 2023-24 season. Fans of the team will be able to watch the contests via cable, satellite or a streaming provider, and they will be treated to a brand new sound.

The team has hired Josh Getzoff as its new play-by-play announcer, who was most recently working on the radio broadcasts for eight seasons. During that time, he served as the pregame and postgame show host before moving into the play-by-play role to serve as a backup to Mike Lange. Getzoff previously worked as the sports director of FOX Champaign and anchored nightly sportscast segments for its news program. The Ithaca College graduate is a Pennsylvania native and is being afforded the chance to serve as the television voice of his hometown team.

“Getting to call games in the NHL and for the Penguins is an honor and something I’ll never take for granted,” Getzoff said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It’s the coolest job in the world! Pumped for the opportunity to bring Pens hockey to our awesome fans. I love this city and Pittsburgh is our home. Let’s have some fun.”

Steve Mears, who has spent the past six seasons as the team’s television voice on AT&T SportsNet, is moving to the radio side to join Phil Bourque in the broadcast booth. Over his years broadcasting hockey, Mears has called games for the World Junior Championship and served as the primary voice for NHL International. Additionally, he spent time with NHL Network and hosted studio programs such as NHL Live and NHL Now. He will now make his return to the radio broadcasts after previously serving as an on-air host for the network and PensTV.

“Very excited to get to work on having a terrific Penguins radio broadcast with my good friend [Phil Bourque],” Mears said on X. “It’s going to be a fun season.”

Bourque has worked with the Penguins Radio Network since retiring from professional hockey in 2000 and is a longtime colleague of Pittsburgh native Paul Steigerwald. For the upcoming season, Steigerwald will retain his role as the host of the pregame and postgame shows on the radio, marking his 44th season with the organization.

On the television side, no announcement was made about hiring a new color commentator since the team announced the departure of Bob Errey. The former NHL forward and Olympic gold medalist has been in the role since the departure of Eddie Olczyk after the 2002-03 season and is approaching his 20th season as a fixture on the broadcasts.

The Penguins have opted to bring in a new rinkside reporter for the 2023-24 season with versatile experience across the industry. Hailey Hunter, a former golf reporter for NBC Sports and PGA TOUR Entertainment, will assume the position ahead of the season’s opening faceoff. Hunter previously worked in the NHL as the team reporter and in-arena host for the New York Islanders during their inaugural season at UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y. She grew up the daughter of former NHL forward Tim Hrynewich, who played 55 games for the Penguins between 1982 and 1984.

“I grew up watching hockey on TV with him as a kid and rooting the team on,” Hunter said in a post on X. “Covering an NHL team as a reporter/host on TV has been my dream since I first decided I wanted to go into sports broadcasting. I cannot wait to immerse myself in the Pittsburgh sports community and get to know all of you Penguins fans!”

The role was previously held by Dan Potash, who is now moving into the studio to host pregame and postgame coverage on Sportsnet Pittsburgh. As part of the new broadcast arrangement, the coverage will include hour-long editions of these programs in addition to more extensive coverage of the team. The new era of Penguins hockey on the air begins on October 2 when the Penguins visit the Ottawa Senators for preseason action from the capital city.

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Report: MLB Nearing Deal with Unknown Platform to Resume Sunday Morning Game Broadcasts

“Our initiative with Peacock was a valuable experience with a collaborative partner in our ongoing effort to explore a variety of streaming offerings for our fans as their consumption habits continue to evolve.”

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Major League Baseball
Courtesy: Major League Baseball

Ahead of the Major League Baseball season, the league and Comcast had yet to reach a deal regarding Sunday morning baseball games. Peacock, the OTT streaming platform for the company, broadcast these games for the last two seasons, which equated to 19 such contests last year. Andrew Marchand of The Athletic reports that there is interest from Comcast and NBC in a deal to resume airing these games but for less than $30 million per year, the rate it had paid over the last two years. MLB is reportedly nearing an agreement with another platform to broadcast the Sunday morning baseball games.

“Our initiative with Peacock was a valuable experience with a collaborative partner in our ongoing effort to explore a variety of streaming offerings for our fans as their consumption habits continue to evolve,” a Major League Baseball spokesperson said in a statement to The Athletic.

The Sunday morning MLB games on Peacock started either at 11:35 a.m. or 12:05 p.m. EST and included a play-by-play announcer and an analyst who had familiarity with the teams playing in the game. Other MLB games taking place on Sundays were prohibited to begin earlier than 1:30 p.m. EST, granting the platform a window. Two weekly Friday night MLB games during the regular season are exclusively broadcast on Apple TV+ as part of a seven-year contract between the two entities worth a reported $85 million per season.

Peacock recently served as the exclusive home of an NFL Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins. The coldest game on record from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium drew an average minute audience of 23 million viewers, rendering it the most-streamed event in U.S. history. Moreover, the playoff game was attributed to 30% of worldwide internet usage for the day. The platform reportedly paid $110 million for the rights to the game, part of a weekend featuring three NFL Wild Card contests.

Amazon Prime Video is reportedly set to exclusively stream an NFL Wild Card game next year, continuing to expand its portfolio of games that includes Thursday Night Football and an exclusive Black Friday Football game.

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ESPN Reveals Broadcast Plans for 2024 WNBA Draft

“WNBA Countdown will air live from the WNBA Draft for the first time and commence the proceedings at 7 p.m. EST.”

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WNBA Draft '24
Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN will be the broadcast home of the 2024 WNBA Draft from the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, N.Y., taking place on Monday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. EST. Ryan Ruocco will be the host for on-site coverage and will be joined by analysts Rebecca Lobo and Andraya Carter and reporter Holly Rowe. Lobo and Carter will provide their insights and analysis on the draft picks throughout the night, while Rowe will interview the draftees once they are officially selected.

Preceding this coverage is a special edition of SportsCenter that will be hosted by Elle Duncan live from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Duncan will welcome Andraya Carter and Chiney Ogwumike on the 6 p.m. EST version of the show to discuss the WNBA Draft leading up to ESPN coverage of the event.

Once SportsCenter concludes, WNBA Countdown will air live from the WNBA Draft for the first time and commence the proceedings at 7 p.m. EST. LaChina Robinson will host the show with analysts Chiney Ogwumike and Carolyn Peck where they will preview the action. ESPN will look back at the college basketball season for Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, who became the NCAA Division I basketball all-time scoring leader earlier in the year. The show will also highlight some of the best outfits on the night as they arrive on the “Orange Carpet” and interview draftees as well.

ESPN will provide WNBA Draft coverage through the conclusion of the third round, which will include cameras situated in draft rooms for several teams around the league. These organizations, all of whom will be making a first-round selection, are the Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Chicago Sky, Dallas Wings and Washington Mystics. Ruocco, Lobo, Carter and Rowe will also guide viewers regarding storylines for the WNBA season, which will be broadcast across Disney and ESPN platforms as announced on Wednesday.

Aside from its network coverage, ESPN.com will provide content related to the WNBA Draft including ranking draft classes, forecasting Caitlin Clark’s WNBA rookie season and feature articles surrounding the consensus No. 1 pick from Ramona Shelburne and Kevin Pelton. ESPN staff writer Alexa Philippou will anchor live coverage on draft day that will provide the latest information on trades, draft picks and news. Moreover, WNBA DraftCast will provide information and analysis surrounding draft picks, along with prospect grades and rankings. ESPN staff writer Michael Voepel will issue report-card grades to the draft classes for each team at the conclusion of the event as well.

ESPN Social will execute an all-access takeover featuring the projected top draft picks on the Instagram story for SportsCenter. There will also be live content from New York City including moments on the “Orange Carpet,” on-site content and selection updates with custom images on Instagram and TikTok.

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Sports Media Reacts to the Death of O.J. Simpson

Simpson was a star football player, turned actor and sports broadcaster, who was later accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her boyfriend Ronald Goldman.

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Photo of OJ Simpson, Frank Gifford and Joe Namath
Credit: Mickey Pfleger/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

The family of O.J. Simpson announced his death from cancer earlier today at the age of 76. Simpson was a star football player, turned actor and sports broadcaster, who was later accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her boyfriend Ronald Goldman.

Many in the sports media world reacted to his passing:

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