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Strong Stands Out At Fox Sports

Jason Barrett

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Soccer has been growing in popularity in the U.S. in recent years, but most of the announcers for the game still come from other countries. John Strong is one of the few American play by play announcers for Fox Sports’ Major League Soccer broadcasts, and he started here in the Pacific Northwest. Strong began his career announcing his high school football games on the internet, and quickly worked his way up to one of the TV announcers for the Portland Timbers.

On early success:

“The first ever Timbers MLS game in 2011 was in Denver. And I was at the time 25 and I remember in the minutes leading up to the game I actually got a little bit teary-eyed … ‘this is all happening!’ As a young kid, at the time … when British voices were seen as in vogue because that’s what you need to have to have an authentic soccer broadcast … and I had next to me Robbie Earl, an incredibly accomplished player and broadcaster … I had a lot of insecurity, truth be told, about what I was doing.”

On being a Blazers fan and the appeal of sports announcing:

“The way that I lived my fandom as a young kid was through the voice of Bill Shonley. And I think in retrospect the romanticism of that voice being the connection between you and the team … and that always really appealed to me … being able to be a voice that narrates, in this case for me, the growth of soccer, and the burgeoning of a new era for the sport in this country.”

On his personal play by play style:

“Rather than shout ‘GOOOAAAALL!’ —which I can’t do, it sounds terrible, it’s not authentic. But what I will do is if there’s a player who has a vowel sound at the end of their last name I’ll [draw out the last syllable of the player’s name] … that’s an influence from Spanish language broadcasting.”

On the popularity of soccer in the US:

“The growth of soccer in this country has been generational. There was never going to be a big bang moment of the U.S. wins a World Cup … and all of a sudden 40 million Americans wake up soccer crazy. … A lot of the predictions trying to tie youth participation to fans being adults … completely false. Otherwise tetherball would be a sport we see on ESPN2.

“What it took was a generational shift … When I was in elementary school, we all played soccer on the weekends, but at recess we were all wearing our Blazers or our football jerseys playing kickball. I go past [my old elementary school now] and they’re all playing soccer on the playground. “

Credit to OPB who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Chris Berman Says NBC Offered To Triple His Salary In 1989 to Leave ESPN

“(NBC) put an offer out there that was times three or four, which — ok — that took a while to get resolved.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Berman has always felt like ESPN was home for him.

There have been a couple of instances throughout his more than four-decade career at The Worldwide Leader where Berman was entertaining offers to leave. But Berman told Jimmy Traina on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast he always knew ESPN was where he needed to be.

One instance came in 1989 when ESPN was still somewhat a single fledgling sports channel. Berman at the time was weighing leaving Bristol for NBC.

“ESPN was a different place,” Berman said. “We were only one channel then, remember.”

“(NBC) put an offer out there that was times three or four,” he added. “Which — ok — that took a while to get resolved.”

Berman said in terms of his career, deciding to remain at ESPN turned out to be the right choice.

“My God it’s the greatest move I never made,” he said. “At the time I was gonna be the number two guy behind Bob Costas doing football.

“Just job-wise, forget money and this – I’m not in it for that anyway,” Berman added. “I started at 16 thousand bucks.”

Chris talked about the coverage the potential move received. He said the decision was about something bigger than money. He loved getting to cover sports every day.

“That was not the point,” he said. “I wasn’t leveraging anything, and again thank God I’ve been here 43 years.”

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Sports TV News

ESPN, ESPN2 To Air 5 Hour NBA Trade Deadline Special Thursday

Jordan Bondurant

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The NBA trade deadline is this week, and ESPN is going all-in on coverage.

ESPN announced Monday that it will air a five-hour special across ESPN and ESPN2 making sure every deal leading up to the deadline is covered.

The NBA Today Trade Deadline Special will air starting at 1:00 PM on Thursday on ESPN, and the final two hours leading up to the official deadline will air on ESPN 2.

From Los Angeles, Malika Andrews will host. She will be joined by Jalen Rose, Zach Lowe, Chiney Ogwumike, Kendrick Perkins, Richard Jefferson, Ramona Shelburne, Brian Windhorst, and Vince Carter.

Adrian Wojnarowski will be breaking news from Bristol alongside Tim Legler and Bobby Marks. Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon will be weighing in from Scottsdale, Arizona from ESPN’s Super Bowl set.

Several other ESPN NBA reporters will also be contributing coverage throughout the afternoon.

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Sports TV News

Tom Brady: I’ll Join FOX in 2024

“Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving.”

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Many have questioned whether Tom Brady will actually join FOX Sports’ top NFL booth after he retires. Today, we have that answer.

During an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Brady confirmed he will indeed join Kevin Burkhardt in the network’s top NFL booth, but not until the 2024 season.

“Decompression is important,” Brady said, noting he’ll join the network’s NFL coverage after a year off from the game. “You’re on this kind of really crazy treadmill/hamster wheel, loving the moment, loving the journey, (but) at the same time there’s a daily fight. I have an appreciation to those who are so committed to showing up every day and putting in their max effort to their life and their career.

“I think — for me — I want to be great at what I do. So last week, talking with the people at FOX Sports and the leadership there allowing me to start my FOX opportunity in the fall of 2024 is something that’s great for me.”

Brady added he needs time to absorb a new career before jumping in head first.

“Take some time to really learn, become great at what I want to do, become great at thinking about the opportunity, and make sure I don’t rush into anything. Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving, and I have so many people to rely on that can support me in that growth, too.”

The seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback concluded by saying there are other aspects of his life outside of football that “need some catching up and energy”. He went through a high-profile divorce from supermodel Gisele Bündchen, reportedly stemming from his refusal to retire after the 2021 NFL season.

Brady signed a reported 10-year, $375 million contract with FOX Sports to join the network’s top NFL announcing crew, and serve as a brand ambassador in May of last year.

The addition of Brady to the FOX Sports booth creates a potential log jam in the analyst role. Current FOX Sports top NFL analyst Greg Olsen has received high praise from many both inside and outside the industry for his work with Burkhardt. Olsen hasn’t been shy about his wish to remain in the network’s top booth, saying that while the situation “sucks”, he is a “big boy” and “knows what he signed up for”.

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