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Indy 500 Voice, Former ESPN NASCAR Anchor Bob Jenkins Dies

The broadcaster first started attending the Indy 500 in 1960.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: IMS

A legend in the racing game has passed away. Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirmed an Indianapolis Star report that Bob Jenkins, 73, died on Monday. Jenkins was the longtime voice of the Indianapolis 500 and anchored ESPN’s NASCAR coverage for nearly 20 years.

Jenkins announced in February that he was battling his second stint of cancer after previously fending off the disease in 1983. He was a Jack of all trades at IMS, helping carry out their radio and television broadcasts.

“Bob Jenkins, over the years, he was just a figure that was always there and very much front and center in Indianapolis,” racing legend Mario Andretti told the Indianapolis Star. “His voice is just absolutely unique. I would always know who was talking. He was just one of those that developed his career alongside ours, you know. He was one of us in every way.”

Jenkins was a constant fixture at the Indy 500 starting in 1960. He joined the IMS Radio Network in 1979 and aided in ESPN’s earliest coverage of NASCAR, IMSA, IndyCar, USAC, and other racing series.

“Bob Jenkins lent his iconic voice to so many memorable NASCAR moments, telling the story of our sport to millions of fans for years,” NASCAR said in an official statement. “Though known for his immense talent as a broadcaster, Bob’s passion for motorsports truly defined what it meant to be a racer. The motorsports industry lost a broadcasting legend and a friend with Bob’s passing. NASCAR extends its deepest condolences to Bob’s friends and family.”

Jenkins began covering motorsports for ESPN in 1981. Paired with Larry Nuber to start his time with ESPN, Jenkins later cemented an iconic three-man booth with NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons.

“He certainly was very good at leading Benny and I where we needed to go and always making us look good,” Jarrett said in 2012. “That’s something I’ve always appreciated.”

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Sports TV News

Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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