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Arlo White & Tony Meola Named Fire Broadcasters

“White is the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League, while Meola is a former starting goalie for the United States national team who played in three World Cups.”

Brandon Contes

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When WGN signed a broadcast agreement with the Chicago Fire two weeks ago, they did so without having an announcer team in place. 

One match into their 2020 season and less than a week away from the first WGN telecast, the network announced Arlo White and Tony Meola will join the effort in making the Fire a more integral part of Chicago’s sports scene. White is the lead play-by-play announcer for NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League, while Meola is a former starting goalie for the United States national team who played in three World Cups. 

White will work Fire telecasts during the Premier League offseason, until his first match sometime in May. When White is unavailable, New Jersey native Tyler Terens will serve as the Fire’s play-by-play voice. The 26-year old Terens spent the last two seasons as an announcer with the Phoenix Rising FC. As for White, the popular soccer broadcasting voice is a native of England, but became a Chicago sports fan after the first time he visited the city more than thirty years ago. 

“I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that my first visit to Chicago in 1986, as a wide-eyed 13-year-old visiting my uncle and auntie, had a profound impact on the course of my life,” White said in the press release. “It ignited a love of this city and of the United States. I’ve been obsessed with all things Chicago and Americana ever since. If you’d told that English teenager that 30-odd years later he would have the opportunity to call football matches for the Fire’s return to Soldier Field? Well, I think he’d have cried tears of joy. I’ve been back to the city countless times since that first trip. I just love being here. It feels like my home away from home. This is an exciting year for Chicago Fire FC, and I am delighted to bring my experience to the Soldier Field booth.

“I’d also like to thank NBC Sports for allowing me to pursue this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the Chicago Fire in a city that I adore, during the Premier League offseason.”

Joining White is one of the best American soccer players ever in Tony Meola. A 2012 United States Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Meola has worked as a broadcaster since retiring and can be heard weekdays on SiriusXM FC’s Counter Attack radio show. 

“I’m excited to join the Fire broadcast team and look forward to working with Arlo and Tyler this year,” said Meola. “This season will be an exciting one for the club with a new Head Coach, a homecoming at Soldier Field, a new broadcast partner in WGN and the continued passion of the fans. I am looking forward to a great season.”

White and Meola are replacing longtime play-by-play voice Dan Kelly and analyst Frank Klopas in the broadcast booth for the Fire. Last October, Kelly announced he wouldn’t be returning to the booth and Klopas joined the club’s coaching staff as an assistant.

Sports TV News

Kevin Warren: Big Ten Not Closing Door On ESPN Forever

Jordan Bondurant

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This summer the Big Ten Conference inked new media rights deals with FOX, CBS and NBC that will be worth $7 billion per year over seven years. With the agreement, ESPN will no longer have rights to broadcast conference contests.

But to those saying that the conference will never again be partners with the Worldwide Leader, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren believes that isn’t the case.

“I’m constantly in a state of perpetual negotiation and relationship building,” Warren said in an interview at the Sports Business Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Wednesday. “I have incredible respect and admiration for (ESPN president) Jimmy Pitaro and (ESPN programming and original content president) Burke Magnus and (ESPN programming and acquisitions vice president) Nick Dawson. And now with the change from (former Disney CEO) Bob Chapek to Bob Iger, I have great respect for Disney as a company – and what its meant to our country – and for ESPN.”

Despite losing out on the Big Ten, which is shaping up to be one of the nation’s first college super conferences with the addition of USC and UCLA in 2024, ESPN will carry on with America’s other emerging super conference in the SEC, which will add Texas and Oklahoma as members in 2025. ESPN/ABC and the SEC have a 10-year media rights deal in place worth $300 million per season that will go into effect in 2024.

But Warren continued that with things being set in stone for at least the next decade in terms of media rights, there’s no reason to believe that the conference and the network can’t find ways to work together in the future.

“I’m a great believer that life is long, and I will continue to have communications with ESPN,” he said. “I have great respect for them. They’re incredibly important to this institution that we call college athletics. I stay in close contact, and opportunities do present themselves in unique ways.”

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Sports TV News

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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