After eight seasons as the voice of the Chicago White Sox, Jason Benetti is making a move to call games for a different Major League Baseball Team. The Detroit Tigers have hired Benetti to serve as their new television play-by-play announcer on Bally Sports Detroit, inking a multi-year contract to join the team. The versatile play-by-play announcer, who also calls college football, college basketball and MLB games for FOX Sports, will work alongside the rest of the production team to help present an informative and compelling broadcast on a daily basis.
“I’m incredibly proud to join this historic and ascending Tigers franchise,” Benetti said in a statement. “From every single person I talked with throughout the interview process it was clear why so many respected professionals and creative people have joined the organization in the last several years. There’s something special about it, and I’m excited to bring that energy to Tigers fans around the globe.
“I’d also like to thank Chris Ilitch, Ryan Gustafson, Scott Harris, and everyone else I’ve met with in the last several weeks who have been so welcoming. Everyone I spent time with made it clear this was the right place for me. I was born and raised in the Midwest, and understand how important sports are, especially here in the Motor City.”
As part of the deal, Benetti will call a minimum of 127 Tigers games each season, allowing him to continue his national broadcasting responsibilities. When those scheduling conflicts occur, longtime radio play-by-play announcer Dan Dickerson will fill in on the television side, something he agreed to do pursuant to the deal.
“Jason is a world-class talent and today is another tremendous step forward for the Tigers as we continue to build a championship-level organization and experience for our fans,” Ryan Gustafson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment, said in a statement. “Beyond his talent, Jason’s story is inspirational and our shared commitment to excellence and innovation was apparent throughout our discussions. We are thrilled to welcome Jason to our family, joining an incredible group of broadcasters at the Tigers and Red Wings that create the on-air experience our fans deserve.”
“All of us at Bally Sports welcome Jason to Detroit, and we’re thrilled he’s joining our Tigers telecasts,” Greg Hammaren, senior vice president and general manager of Bally Sports Detroit, said in a statement. “Jason’s reputation as one of the best and brightest announcers across all of sports adds to our already strong production effort here in Detroit. His deep knowledge and love for baseball are traits shared by our incredible fans, and we’re looking forward to them getting to know Jason more starting in February when the Tigers take the field in Lakeland.”
The White Sox have released a statement regarding the hire, revealing that a search to join Steve Stone in the television booth will begin immediately. Len Kasper remains fully committed to the radio broadcasts for the 2024 season, a role he has held for the last three seasons.
“We want to thank Jason Benetti for all he has done for the Chicago White Sox throughout his tenure and for all he means to White Sox fans,” Brooks Boyer, chief revenue and marketing officer for the Chicago White Sox, said in a statement. “Not only is Jason one of the very best broadcasters across multiple sports, he is a born-and-raised White Sox fan who shared his passion for the team night in and night out. He represented the club in the community and engaged with fans, all while delivering one of the very best local broadcasts in Major League Baseball.”
SEC Commissioner Tells Pat McAfee Someone at ESPN Leaked 2024 Schedule Without Permission
“We were trying to protect it. Someone at ESPN apparently leaked it.”
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey isn’t particularly thrilled that his new top broadcast partner leaked a portion of next year’s schedule a bit early.
During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, which just so happens to be an ESPN property, Sankey mentioned his displeasure at the Worldwide Leader for leaking a portion of the 2024 SEC schedule early. According to Sankey, the league and the network agreed to release the schedule together in the near future.
“We were trying to protect it,” Sankey said. “Someone at ESPN apparently leaked it,” according to Yahoo Sports college football reporter Ross Dellenger.
While leaks in the media space are hardly a new phenomenon, especially when it comes to something as desirable as a football conference’s yearly schedule, a leak this early in the newly-formed ESPN-SEC relationship is less than ideal. Starting next season, ESPN will take over as the SEC’s primary broadcast partner, assuming the position CBS had long held for decades.
In the leaked portion of the schedule, the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide will play in the regular season for just the third time in the past 15 years. We also know the Bulldogs will play the debuting Texas Longhorns in Texas, while the Tide will play the other Oklahoma Sooners on the road.
Jeff Kotuby is a nationally-published journalist with bylines on many popular broadcasting and pop culture sites, including The Streamable, eBaum’s World, Twin Galaxies, and more. Jeff grew up in the shadows of New York City and cultivated his love for sports media with the classic broadcasting voices of the area, like Mike & The Mad Dog, Mike “Doc” Emerick, and Michael Kay. You can reach Jeff on Twitter @JeffKotu3y.
Jim Boeheim Making Analyst Debut on ACC Network, Joining The CW
Former Syracuse Orange basketball head coach Jim Boeheim will make his debut as an analyst on Saturday, Dec. 2 on the ACC Network. Boeheim will be on the broadcast for the matchup between Florida State and North Carolina at 2 PM ET featuring play-by-play announcer Wes Durham and sideline reporter Cory Alexander.
Boeheim will make his studio debut on Tuesday, Dec. 5 during halftime of the men’s prime-time doubleheader games on the day – which consists of Central Connecticut against Boston College at 6 PM ET, followed by Cornell taking on Syracuse at 8 PM ET.
On the program, he will be joined by host Kelsey Riggs and analyst Luke Hancock, and he will also remain on the air for the 10 p.m. edition of Nothing But Net, the network’s signature basketball show.
Additionally, Jim Boeheim also joined Westwood One and is reportedly set to work on The CW coverage of ACC basketball, debuting this Saturday with pre-taped segments during halftime of two conference games. News of Boeheim working with The CW was first reported by Mike Waters of Syracuse.com.
Boeheim departed Syracuse University after 47 seasons as a coach and holding an overall win-loss record of 1,015-441. He has the second-most wins at the Division I level in the history of college basketball, only being surpassed by former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Dan Le Batard: I Thought Pat McAfee Would Grow College GameDay, But That Hasn’t Happened
Le Batard said McAfee is playing under a different set of rules than others at ESPN.
Pat McAfee has checked all the boxes Disney and ESPN leadership had when the former NFL punter brought his daily sports talk show into the fray, but one area where it seems like the waters aren’t so smooth for McAfee is in his reception as an analyst on College GameDay.
GameDay viewers have not shied away from making their feelings known that they don’t like seeing McAfee on the show, and Dan Le Batard has found the criticism quite interesting.
On The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Thursday, Le Batard said he thought having Pat McAfee on GameDay would continue taking the show to the next level, but it turns out he was wrong in some respects.
“And so they get McAfee and they give him a new set of rules,” Le Batard said. “But I thought that would result in College GameDay getting bigger and better. More popular. I underestimated the allegiance that the viewer has to David Pollack.”
“I’m reading him and everyone around him saying he’s a good teammate, they all love him, they’re all getting along with him,” Le Batard added. “He is effusive, he is such a positive person. He is effusive in his praise for the people on that sat. But now the numbers are coming back, and this is something that McAfee couldn’t have expected.”
Executive producer Mike Ruiz chimed in saying that a contributing factor in the changing conditions at GameDay is due to the mass layoffs and non-renewals of more expensive talent over the last couple years. He said there was going to be a natural need to switch things up after cutting ties with the likes of Pollack, Tom Rinaldi, and Chris “The Bear” Fallica.
“The format of the show when you take someone like that, you’re changing it,” Ruiz said. “You’re changing the emotional stories that made you cry in advance of a Purdue/Ohio State game. All that stuff starts going away. And now it’s not just going away, some of that stuff is going to FOX.”
Dan Le Batard responded saying he wasn’t trying to blame Pat McAfee for Big Noon Kickoff closing the gap on GameDay and negative fan feedback. But all of a sudden now that FOX can tout its pregame show continuing to grow and be a successful alternative to ESPN’s product, the narrative shifts.
“I always say perception is not reality, but when all you have is perception and fudged numbers, FOX is saying, ‘We’ve caught College GameDay. We’ve caught one of the most popular shows in the history of sports television,'” Le Batard said.
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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.