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ESPN Radio Names Marc Kestecher Voice of the NBA

Jason Barrett

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ESPN Radio didn’t have to search far for Kevin Calabro’s replacement on NBA radio broadcasts on ESPN Radio. The network has promoted from within by naming Marc Kestecher its new lead play-by-play commentator for the NBA on ESPN Radio starting with the 2016-17 NBA season. ‘Kesty’ as he’s known to industry friends will team up with analysts Jon Barry, PJ Carlesimo and Kara Lawson to call regular-season, All-Star and playoff games. He will work with Hall of Famer Hubie Brown on the NBA Conference Finals and the NBA Finals.

Kestecher, has spent 17-years at ESPN and will continue to call NFL, college football and college basketball games on ESPN Radio. He will also remain a studio host for a variety of ESPN Radio programming, including the pre- and post-game shows for the College Football Playoff Semifinals and Championship, and work select ESPN TV events.

“When I arrived at ESPN Radio 17 years ago, one of my goals was to work our NBA games alongside Hall of Famers Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay, which I was able to do for more than a decade,” said Kestecher. “It is with great honor that I will occupy JD’s seat, which was filled so brilliantly the last few seasons by Kevin Calabro.”

Tim McCarthy, Senior Vice President/GM Audio Play-by-Play said, “It is always gratifying when a commentator who grew up as part of the ESPN Radio team earns an opportunity such as this. Marc has successfully covered every area of play-by-play for ESPN Radio and we are so proud as he takes the helm of one of our marquee series – the NBA on ESPN Radio.”

Kestecher joined ESPN in 1999 as an ESPN Radio SportsCenter update anchor. Prior to arriving in Bristol, Kestecher worked as an anchor, reporter and talk show host for WKNR in Cleveland (1996 – 1999), and as sports director for WPTR/WROW in Albany, NY (1992 – 1996). He also called Albany Patroons (CBA), Albany Firebirds (Arena Football, and University of Albany football and men’s basketball games, as well as men’s basketball for St. Rose College (1993-1994).

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Colin Cowherd: I Have Tried to Invest in MLS Teams Twice

“I think they’re smart. I think they’re boutique stadiums, their fanbases feel European. The in-game environment’s excellent.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Courtesy: FS1

Could we have seen FOX Sports Radio host Colin Cowherd having some sort of ownership stake in an MLS team? Cowherd said he tried, and then he tried again.

Talking about Inter Miami adding global superstar Lionel Messi on Thursday, Cowherd mentioned that he inquired about getting involved with the league, but the asking price at this point is too much for him.

“I have twice tried to invest in the MLS, and I just can’t afford it,” Cowherd said. “I think they’re smart. I think they’re boutique stadiums, their fanbases feel European. The in-game environment’s excellent. The academy is slowly becoming something, but it is becoming something their academy system. And they are now on a regular basis going and getting the world’s biggest soccer stars.”

Colin pointed out that Messi is the most popular athlete in the world, boasting social media followings and name recognition that easily eclipses that of superstar athletes like LeBron James and celebrities like the Kardashians and Beyonce. So not only is Messi’s signing a monumental moment for Inter Miami owner David Beckham, but it’s a feather in the cap signing for Major League Soccer as a whole.

“Messi is massive for the MLS. It’s the biggest moment in the history of the franchise,” he said. “Think Beckham times two. And Beckham was big when he arrived here in the States.”

“I think it’s cool that the MLS, our domestic soccer league, can go out and bring a superstar – not a star, a mega superstar on our soil regularly,” he added.

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San Antonio’s Sports Star Shuffles Weekday Lineup

“The station also announced a new show hosted by producer James Pledger which will air from 6-7 p.m. and debut on Monday.”

Jordan Bondurant

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A few days after eliminating its midday show, 94.1 FM San Antonio Sports Star has announced further changes to its local weekday lineup.

Gone is Jimenez & Spence, hosted by Mike Jimenez, who was let go last week, and program director Tim Spence. Afternoon show The Blitz with Jason Minnix and Joe Reinagel is shifting back an hour and will air from 2-6 p.m.

The station also announced a new show hosted by producer James Pledger which will air from 6-7 p.m. and debut on Monday.

Pledger has been a longtime contributor to San Antonio Sports Star, producing The Blitz in addition to hosting a Saturday morning show. He will continue in those roles while also adding his hourlong daily program.

“I’ve worked for this for so long,” Pledger told local CBS affiliate KENS. “I have long wanted to be in both worlds because of the creativity that I use when producing, how it differs from creating a show.”

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Andy Gresh: Lionel Messi, Apple is Doing Dirty Work For NFL Digital Distribution

“Those NFL owners in that MLS room, they’re watching what’s going on with all this digital stuff.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Courtesy: Audacy

Aside from the PGA/LIV Golf merger, another sports news story that dominated the headlines was the decision of soccer icon Lionel Messi to join Inter Miami in Major League Soccer.

Messi will become the biggest name to suit up in MLS, and on WEEI on Thursday, host Andy Gresh believes league media partner Apple will stand to gain the most out of Messi mania.

Apple and MLS agreed to a 10-year media rights deal worth $2.5 billion ahead of the 2023 season, making the tech giant’s streaming platform the home for the vast majority of league contests.

Apple was also long considered a frontrunner to land the NFL Sunday Ticket package before bowing out late in the process. Google and YouTube ultimately ended up with the package.

But Gresh pointed out that there is a good number of MLS franchise owners that also own NFL teams.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arther Blank owns Atlanta United, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper owns Charlotte FC, the Haslam family owns the Cleveland Browns and the Columbus Crew, Robert Kraft is the New England Patriots owner and also owns the New England Revolution, the Kroenke family owns the LA Rams and the Colorado Rapids, and the Hunt family, which runs the Kansas City Chiefs, also owns FC Dallas.

“If you look at the ownership group of the MLS, there is a lot of NFL crosspollination there,” Gresh said. “Now this Messi deal is really based on Apple TV, because you can stream it anywhere. It’s all over the place. It’s worldwide distribution for your product.”

“Those NFL owners in that MLS room, they’re watching what’s going on with all this digital stuff,” he later added.

The discussion over the NFL looking at the feasibility of expanding into Europe came up, and Gresh felt like Apple could play a role in helping football fans in America and across the world experience a full day of action.

“Whether it’s a 9 o’clock eastern kick that porks the west coasters or the other way around, either way you’re trying to make it the worldwide game,” he said. “You’ve got to have that big platform distribution. This is where I think MLS might be doing some dirty work for those NFL owners and kind of priming the pump to make the digital pot that much bigger, so that if you want to have a team in London or Barcelona you can get these different European ownership groups in there.”

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