One of the NBA’s best play by play voices has decided to part ways with the franchise he’s been calling games for. Portland Trail Blazers announcer Kevin Calabro has chosen to step aside in order to focus on his family according to a news release from the franchise. Calabro and his wife Sue still reside in Seattle along with their four children.
Calabro joined the Blazers as their television voice in 2016-2017. Prior to making the move to Portland he spent 21 years as the television and radio voice for the Seattle SuperSonics. Calabro has also called NBA games for ESPN Radio NBA TV, Westwood One, and Turner Sports.
“This was a very difficult decision to make and I want to thank the Allen family and Chris McGowan for their support and understanding,” Calabro said in a statement. “I’ll always be grateful to the Rip City fans for welcoming me into the family.”
NBC Sports Northwest has announced that Blazers studio host Jordan Kent will take over play by play duties for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. Games are expected to resume July 31st in Orlando.
Though his stint with the team wasn’t long, Calabro made a strong impact over the past four years with the Blazers. He won the National Sports Media Association’s 2018 Oregon Sportscaster of the Year award and the 2018 Northwest Region EMMY Award as the “Best Sports Play-by-Play Announcer.”
Calabro’s involvement with the NBA started in 1979 working for his hometown Indiana Pacers as a radio pregame host and public address announcer. He landed his first NBA play by play gig with the Kansas City Kings at the age of 25, and officially started his play by play career calling hockey games for the Indianapolis Checkers. With Seattle being awarded an NHL franchise, and play scheduled to start during the 2021-2022 season, many will be watching to see if the Seattle resident becomes the first play by play voice for the city’s new team.
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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.