Behind the Mic: Sean McDonough Takes Over ESPN’s MNF as Mike Tirico Heads to NBC Sports

Mike Tirico, the play-by-play and studio voice for many of ESPN’s biggest events over the past quarter century, will join NBC Sports Group starting July 1. Tirico will work on an array of high-profile properties including Sunday Night Football, primetime television’s No. 1 show for five consecutive years; NBC’s new Thursday Night Football series; the Summer and Winter Olympics; select golf telecasts; and other big events. Tirico, the voice of ESPN’s Monday Night Football from 2006-2015, is one of four play-by-play announcers to work primetime NFL games for at least 10 seasons (Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Mike Patrick).Tirico_MikeTirico joins NBC after 26 years at ESPN/ABC (1991-2016), where he established himself as a preeminent broadcaster on properties and events including MNF, The Open Championship, The Masters, NBA, college football, college basketball, FIFA World Cup, and tennis’ U.S. Open and Wimbledon. He was named the 2010 Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA), an award voted on by his industry peers. Tirico joined ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor in July 1991, later serving as host of Monday Night Countdown during the NFL season from that show’s 1993 launch to 2001.  From 1993-1997, he anchored ESPN’s college football studio show. In December 1996, Tirico was named golf host for ABC Sports, and in 2002, began calling NBA games for ABC, ESPN, and ESPN Radio. In addition, he has hosted SportsCenter coverage of the U.S. Open, The Masters and the Daytona 500, and anchored coverage of the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, and NFL Draft for both television and radio…

…Taking over for Tirico as the new play-by-play voice for ESPN’s Monday Night Football will be ESPN vet Sean McDonough. He will work alongside analyst Jon Gruden and reporter Lisa Salters when the 2016 NFL season kicks off this fall. McDonough – whose broadcasting resume includes the World Series, NCAA Final Four and the Olympic Games – has worked on major properties including college football, college basketball and Major League Baseball in recent years. He has also called NFL games for ESPN Radio since 2013. McDonough has been with ESPN since 2000 – his second stint with the company (previously 1989-95) – and recently signed a new extension. In addition to MNF, McDonough will continue his ESPN college basketball assignments after the NFL season.

He becomes just the fifth person to occupy the play-by-play position in the 46-year history of MNF, joining broadcasting stalwarts Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford, Al Michaels and Mike Tirico, who called the past 10 seasons on ESPN.

McDonough joins MNF from the college ranks where he has been a top play-by-play commentator on Saturday afternoon ABC college football and ESPN’s Big Monday ACC basketball games. McDonough recently called the NCAA Final Four for ESPN International, and he has also provided play-by-play for ESPN for Major League Baseball, NHL, tennis, golf, the College World Series and other college sports. Prior to ESPN, McDonough was the television play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox from 1988-2004. He also spent 10 years at CBS Sports when he was the network’s lead college football play-by-play announcer from 1997 to 1999 and CBS’s lead MLB broadcast voice in 1992 and 1993. McDonough’s other CBS assignments included a diverse array of sports – men’s and women’s college basketball, NFL, golf, U.S. Open Tennis and the Olympic Winter Games.

…The Big Lead reports that Cris Carter and Ray Lewis are also expected to be on their way out at ESPN, while Randy Moss is expected to be on his way in. Moss spent last season at Fox Sports. (The Big Lead)…

…NBC Sports Group’s lead Premier League play-by-play announcer Arlo White returns to the Olympics to call Team USA women’s soccer in Rio, alongside analyst and two-time U.S. women’s soccer Olympic gold medalist Kate Markgraf. White and Markgraf, working their second Olympics for NBC, will be joined by CSN Mid-Atlantic reporter Sebastian Salazar, who makes his Olympic debut. White also handled play-by-play at the 2012 London Olympics, where he called Team USA’s gold medal-winning soccer match against Japan. At the time, the match was the most-watched event ever on NBCSN, averaging 4.35 million viewers.

White has served as lead Premier League play-by-play since NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage kicked off in 2013. White joined NBC in 2012 as the lead voice for MLS and U.S. National Team games for NBC Sports Group. Prior to joining NBC, White was the play-by-play voice of the Seattle Sounders FC of MLS on television and radio, which included all MLS games, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League games. He previously spent nine years with BBC Radio Sport in England

Markgraf is an analyst for NBC Sports Group’s U.S. Women’s National Team coverage, recently serving as an analyst for the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying soccer tournament. She served as a soccer analyst for NBC Sports Group during the 2012 London Olympics. Markgraf has also contributed to FOX, ESPN and Big Ten Network’s soccer coverage. On the field, she was as a defender on the U.S. National Team from 1998-2010, earning two Olympic gold medals and a silver medal. In addition, Markgraf was a part of the USWNT that won the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Salazar currently serves as an anchor and reporter at CSN Mid-Atlantic, and has contributed to NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage. He also recently served as an analyst for NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying soccer tournament. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, Salazar rejoined CSN Mid-Atlantic in 2014 after spending two years as an anchor and reporter for CSN Houston…

…NBC also announced its announcers for Premier League “Championship Sunday,” with all 10 matches presented live simultaneously on 10 different NBCUniversal television networks this Sunday: 

Match Network Commentators
Swansea City v. Manchester City NBC Arlo White, Lee Dixon, Graeme Le Saux
Manchester United v. Bournemouth NBCSN Jon Champion, Danny Mills
Arsenal v. Aston Villa Syfy Tony Jones, Tony Gale
Chelsea v. Leicester City CNBC Bill Leslie, Andy Hinchcliffe
Everton v. Norwich City Esquire Phil Blacker, Barry Horne
Newcastle v. Tottenham USA Jonathan Beck, Garry Birtles
Southampton v. Crystal Palace E! Gary Taphouse, Ray Houghton
Stoke City v. West Ham United Bravo Jim Proudfoot, Don Hutchison
Watford v. Sunderland Oxygen Don Johnson, Efan Ekoku
West Bromwich Albion v. Liverpool MSNBC Joe Speight, Dean Sturridge

……Ian Darke and Fernando Palomo will lead ESPN’s match commentator teams in English and Spanish languages, respectively, during the company’s exclusive presentation of the UEFA European Football Championship 2016 this summer (June 10 through Sunday, July 10)…

…Darke, who recently signed an ESPN extension, will be joined by English-language voices Jon Champion, Derek Rae and Adrian Healey, all of whom were members of ESPN’s play-by-play team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. ESPN soccer voices Max Bretos and Mark Donaldson are also key members of the commentator team. English-language match analysts include Taylor Twellman, Steve McManaman, Stewart Robson, Alejandro Moreno, Tommy Smyth, Paul Mariner, and former U.S. Women’s National Team defender Kate Markgraf. With her role on UEFA EURO 2016, Markgraf will become the first female on U.S. television to serve as a color commentator for a top-tier international men’s soccer competition.

Palomo, the leading Spanish-language voice of European soccer and host of Fuera de Juego, ESPN Deportes’ top-rated soccer studio program, leads the ESPN Deportes team. Other play-by-play commentators include versatile ESPN play-by-play voice Ricardo Ortiz; Omar Orlando Salazar, Emilio Fernando Alonso and Jorge Ramos. The ESPN Deportes team for UEFA Euro 2016 represents the best collection of seasoned soccer voices on Spanish-language television in the U.S. Spanish-language match analysts are Tato Noriega, Argentina World Cup champion Mario Kempes, Roberto Gomez Junco, Ricardo Mayorga and Hernan Pereyra.

The commentator teams will call a significant number of matches from stadium sites in France. Darke, who will be paired with Steve McManaman and Taylor Twellman during the tournament, depending on the match, will call all his games from France beginning with the France vs. Romania opener on June 10 (2:30 p.m. ET). He will also call the Final outside Paris on July 10. The English-language team of Jon Champion and Stewart Robson will also call its assigned matches in France. Palomo and Noriega will be in France during the tournament and will call 16 matches, including the opening match and the final. Ricardo Ortiz and Mario Kempes will be on-site in France to call two quarterfinals and one semifinal in France.

…SiriusXM has added 13-time PGA TOUR winner Mark Calcavecchia, the 1989 British Open Champion, to host a new monthly show on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel. Golf According to Calc debuted live tomorrow, May 10 (2:00 to 3:00 pm ET) as part of SiriusXM’s coverage during the week of THE PLAYERS Championship.  Calcavecchia and his co-host, Carl Paulson, will cover the news, events and players of both the PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions, and Calc will share his many stories from more than 35 years in professional golf. Calcavecchia won 13 tournaments at the PGA TOUR level and played for the United States in four Ryder Cups (1987, 1989, 1991 and 2002).  In 1989 he won the Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland after a four-hole playoff against Greg Norman and Wayne Grady, one of his three victories that year.  He was the runner-up at the 1988 Masters and spent 109 weeks ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankins from 1988 to 1991.  His career numbers on the PGA TOUR include 142 top-10 finishes and 527 cuts made.  He has won three PGA TOUR Champions events to date, most recently at the Principal Charity Classic in 2015.

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