Behind The Mic: NSWL Announces On-Air Talent Lineup For 2023 Season; Ryan Dempster and Siera Santos to Join MLB Network ‘Intentional Talk’
Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, Bally Sports announces 2023 Atlanta Braves broadcast team; Brian Boyle to join the NHL Network as a studio analyst.
MLB Network announces that Ryan Dempster and Siera Santos will join Kevin Millar as the new co-hosts of Intentional Talk.
The new-look program will air weekdays live at 5 p.m. ET, with the debut show set for Friday, March 31, the day after the 2023 regular season begins.
Intentional Talk, MLB Network’s longest-running talk show, covers the beauty and hilarity that baseball regularly produces. The program’s hallmark continues to be unfiltered analysis alongside revealing player interviews that entertain and inform. With trends being set and ground being broken seemingly every day in the game, Dempster, Santos and Millar will offer their individual perspectives from every angle. For this new version of the show, Dempster rejoins MLB Network and reunites with Millar, as the pair grew up together in MLB, serving as Florida Marlins teammates from 1998 to 2002. Santos joins Intentional Talk following her 2022 debut season with MLB Network, where she regularly hosted Quick Pitch, and most recently served as a guest contributor to Hot Stove this offseason.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be back with MLB Network and joining the Intentional Talk team,” says Dempster. “Kevin and I have been going back and forth for 25 years together in this game, so it’ll now be cool for fans to see a little bit of our friendly banter. And I’m thrilled to work with Siera, as she does an amazing job. Now, we just gotta figure out who keeps who in line. Let’s go!”
“After a few rehearsals with Siera and Ryan, I couldn’t be more fired up,” says Millar. “Siera’s edginess and quick wit will be a perfect fit to keep this show on track. Ryan’s an ex-teammate, best friend and family member, who used to clean my house, iron my clothes and cook my lunches. With that said, you can rest assured that we will be checking in on his newly implanted head of hair on a regular basis.”
“I can’t wait for viewers to watch this season,” says Santos. “We are three completely different people with one thing in common: our love for baseball. I’m hoping we bring some laugher and fun in the afternoon.”
Dempster has been a Marquee Sports Network broadcaster for the last three seasons, serving as a studio analyst, game color commentator and host of the late-night style program Off The Mound, all roles he will continue again this season. Prior to Marquee Sports Network, Dempster was an MLB Network studio analyst for seven seasons (2014 – 2020), contributing across its studio programming, including as an occasional guest co-host of Intentional Talk. A two-time National League All-Star and 2013 Boston Red Sox World Series champion, Dempster won 132 games and saved 87 games during 16 seasons as a starter and a reliever.
In addition to her Quick Pitch work last year, Santos served as an on-site reporter for the 2022 ALDS and World Series. Santos joined MLB Network following her role as a sports anchor and reporter for FOX 10 in Phoenix, AZ. Prior to her time in Phoenix, Santos was a sports anchor for FOX 32 in Chicago (2018-2020), and hosted NBC Sports Chicago’s Fast Break and In The Loop programs from 2015-2018.
Intentional Talk launched in 2011, with Stephen Nelson and Millar as the co-hosts the last two seasons. Nelson recently was named to the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcast team for the 2023 season. Chris Rose and Millar co-hosted the program from 2011 through 2020.
Bally Sports Announces 2023 Atlanta Braves Broadcast Team
Bally Sports South and Bally Sports Southeast announce its broadcast team for the 2023 Atlanta Braves MLB season with 11 broadcasters to provide in-game coverage as well as on the Braves LIVE pregame and postgame shows for the network’s 149-game schedule.
The networks have a new play-by-play announcer in 2023 as Brandon Gaudin will step into his “dream job” as the television voice of the Braves.
Jeff Francoeur, a 12-year MLB veteran, will be in his sixth season as lead analyst for Bally Sports. MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine will return to the booth for his 13th season as a Braves analyst after stepping away for the 2022 MLB season. Glavine played 22 seasons in the MLB, including 17 with the Braves.
Peter Moylan will be back in the booth for a second straight season and the 12-year MLB veteran will also continue to appear on Braves LIVE for a fifth consecutive season. Fellow Braves LIVE analyst Nick Green, who played eight MLB seasons, will be in the booth for select games but will mostly appear on the pre- and postgame shows as well as in game as a reporter. This will be the ninth season with the networks for Green.
Kelly Crull will be in her fourth season as the primary reporter for Braves telecasts. Lauren Jbara will be in her first season as a reporter for Braves telecasts, joining Crull and Green. Jbara filled in as a host of Braves LIVE for select games in 2022.
The primary host of Braves LIVE will be Treavor Scales for a second consecutive season. Crull, Jbara and Ashley ShahAhmadi will also host the pregame and postgame shows some in 2023. All three have filled in as host previous seasons.
Braves LIVE will feature four analysts in 2023, including Green and Moylan. New to the broadcast team is former Braves pitcher Kris Medlen, who played five of his eight MLB seasons in Atlanta from 2009-13. Gordon Beckham will join Braves LIVE for a third straight season. He was on the Braves roster in 2016, part of his nine-year MLB career.
The first regular season Braves game on Bally Sports will be Opening Day, Thursday, March 30, with coverage starting at 12:00 p.m. ET on Bally Sports Southeast prior to the Braves game against the Washington Nationals.
NWSL Announces On-Air Talent Lineup For 2023 Season
The National Women’s Soccer League announces the broadcast team for its 2023 season which kicks off on Saturday March 25. The roster includes a pool of veteran announcers and analysts with experience calling matches on soccer’s grandest international stages, including the FIFA World Cup, CONCACAF Gold Cup, UEFA European Championship and Olympic Games.
The talent team will provide expert play-by-play and match analysis for all 176 matches this season, across CBS Sports Platforms and internationally on TSN and NWSLSoccer.com, concluding with the 2023 Ally NWSL Championship presented by CarMax, set for an 8 p.m. ET primetime kickoff on Saturday, November 11.
“Our continued mission is to provide the best viewing experience for fans tuning into the NWSL around the world, and this incredibly talented on-air crew will surely play a role in accomplishing that goal with their exceptional soccer knowledge and passion for our league, clubs and players,” says Executive Producer of NWSL Media Brian Gordon. “In addition to delivering expert commentary and match analysis, we’re confident this team will be instrumental in bringing to life the stories that make the NWSL so captivating.”
The league welcomed six new additions to the broadcast team for the 2023 campaign, including longtime soccer commentator and journalist Jacqui Oatley, who will be joined by Lori Lindsey in the booth, with former England Women’s National Team member Lianne Sanderson reporting from the pitch for the CBS National match broadcasts. Former NWSL and U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Jill Loyden, 2000 MLS Cup champion and MVP Tony Meola, Philadelphia 76ers play-by-play announcer Kate Scott and World Cup and Olympic medalist Saskia Webber are also newcomers the NWSL broadcasts on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+.
This year’s talent lineup also features a number of returners to the NWSL broadcast booth, including play-by-play announcers JP Dellacamera, Josh Eastern, Jenn Hildreth, Joe Malfa, Maura Sheridan, Jamie Watson and Mike Watts as well as color analysts Jordan Angeli and former Manchester United goalkeeper Gary Bailey.
Select guest analysts will join the group throughout the season and be announced at a later date. Additional international distribution information will be released prior to season kickoff.
The full talent roster can be viewed below.
JP Dellacamera, one of the pioneering voices of American soccer, currently serves as a FOX Sports play-by-play announcer for its premier soccer portfolio, including FIFA World Cups, Major League Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team. Dellacamera brings decades of experience covering a total of 15 FIFA World Cups (nine men’s, six women’s) on television and radio beginning with ESPN in 1986 and, most recently, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on FOX. He was the lead ESPN radio voice for the FIFA World Cups in 2010 and 2014. With NBC, Dellacamera covered three Olympic Games from 2004-2012 and was the lead play-by-play men’s and women’s soccer announcer in 2004 and 2008. Until 2023, the broadcaster served as the lead television play-by-play voice for the Philadelphia Union.
Josh Eastern begins his fourth season calling matches in the NWSL in 2023. Eastern has called games in the regular season, playoffs, Challenge Cup and Fall Series. In addition to his work with the NWSL, Eastern also serves as a play-by-play announcer in the USL Championship, USL League One and various CONCACAF properties such as the Gold Cup, both men’s and women’s World Cup qualifying and Champions League, along with the Premier Hockey Federation. Eastern is a 2019 graduate of Indiana University.
Jenn Hildreth is an Emmy Award-winning sports broadcaster with 20 years’ experience in such roles as play-by-play, studio host and reporter. A year-round play-by-play announcer with ESPN, she also joined AppleTV’s inaugural roster of Major League Soccer broadcasters in 2023 and is the only female play-by-play commentator for their groundbreaking first season of “MLS Season Pass.” Among the more active national network commentators in women’s soccer, Hildreth’s resume includes the college, professional and international levels of the sport. She regularly announces on college telecasts for ESPN, including the annual NCAA Women’s College Cup, and has been a leading voice for the NWSL, which she’s called since 2015 on CBS Sports, ESPN, Lifetime and FOX Sports. Her international work includes FOX Sports’ coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015 & 2019; NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2020 Olympic Games (men’s and women’s); and ESPN’s coverage of UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, the US Women’s National Team and the Women’s International Champions Cup. Additionally, she has called MLS for FOX Sports and men’s college soccer for ESPN.
Joe Malfa is in his fourth season as one of the play-by-play voices of the NWSL. Malfa’s additional experience includes play-by-play for MLS, USL Championship, USL League One, U.S. Open Cup and various other professional soccer tournaments and events. A graduate from the University of Maryland, Malfa is also a member of ESPN’s men’s and women’s college soccer talent roster.
Jacqui Oatley brings 20 years of sports broadcasting experience to the NWSL, covering both men’s and women’s soccer. Oatley has announced a variety of international soccer events, including FIFA World Cups, UEFA European Championships and Olympic Games. Oatley currently serves as a commentator on Sky Sports’ Women’s Super League and men’s Premier League worldwide coverage. The first female play-by-play commentator on BBC Match of the Day, Oatley was a regular sports presenter on the BBC News Channel between 2011 and 2013. Most recently, the broadcaster provided play-by-play for FOX Sports during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Kate Scott is the current television voice of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers for NBC Sports Philadelphia. A decorated sportscaster with experience across several sports, Scott is a pioneer in her field, having been one of the first women to serve in a number of roles throughout television and radio, including as a play-by-play announcer for both Copa América and CONCACAF Gold Cup on FOX, and as a commentator for both the NBA, NFL and NHL. On International Women’s Day in 2020, she was part of the first-ever all-women’s broadcast crew for a National Hockey League game on NBCSN, providing play-by-play with Olympians A.J. Mleczko and Kendall Coyne Schofield as analysts. She is also the longtime play-by-play announcer for men’s and women’s soccer on Pac-12 Network and served as the play-by-play lead for the 2022 Under-20 Women’s World Cup on FOX.
Maura Sheridan is in her second year broadcasting NWSL matches. She also calls college sports, including ACC women’s soccer for ESPN. The 2018 graduate of Syracuse University has been behind the mic for CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and US Open Cup matches as well.
Jamie Watson brings over 650 hours of live sports broadcast experience to her play-by-play role in the NWSL, Watson has covered all sports including the NFL, MLB, Fantasy Football, Golf, Tennis, World Cup, NBA, NCAA Basketball, Soccer, Field Hockey and Lacrosse. Recently, Watson provided play-by-play for 18 games as part of the World Games Women’s Lacrosse Championships for ESPN. In addition, Watson’s on-air resume includes commentary for the men’s and women’s soccer programs at Loyola University of Maryland and the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams at Mount St. Mary’s.
Mike Watts is entering his eighth year covering the NWSL dating to the league’s second season in 2014, covering over 125 league matches after earning his first professional broadcast assignment with Sky Blue FC. Watts has commentated premier worldwide events for ESPN, CONCACAF, USL and SEC Network’s soccer coverage. Beyond soccer, Watts is the preseason TV voice of the Cincinnati Bengals and an announcer for Westwood One’s college football and NFL coverage, in addition to covering the NBA, NBA G League, WNBA, and NCAA.
Jordan Angeli currently serves as a television analyst and broadcaster for the Columbus Crew after becoming the first woman in the Crew’s history to hold a full time TV-analyst position. Prior to her time at Columbus Crew, she worked as both a radio analyst and an in-stadium host with the Colorado Rapids. A former player in the NWSL, Angeli’s career includes time spent with the Boston Breakers, Western New York Flash, and the Washington Spirit. The 2023 season marks Angeli’s eighth year on the NWSL’s broadcast team.
Gary Bailey spent 10 years as a goalkeeper at Manchester United where he won the FA Cup in 1983 and 1985. Bailey also spent time as a member of the England men’s national team and was part of the English World Cup squad that reached the quarterfinals in 1986. After retiring, he was the lead analyst on all soccer for SuperSport TV in South Africa for 25 years and served as an ambassador for South Africa’s 2010 FIFA World Cup. In addition to the NWSL, Bailey also provides color commentary for USL.
Lori Lindsey is a former U.S. Women’s National Team Player whose professional playing career spanned 13 years, with her most notable accomplishment representing the United States Women’s National Team at the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany, and helping the team earn the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal in London. Lindsey is one of only four players to have played in all three of the U.S. professional women’s soccer leagues and now works in broadcast calling matches with ESPN, FOX Sports, and CBS Sports. Lindsey currently serves as a lead analyst for the inaugural MLS + Apple TV Season Pass deal.
Jill Loyden is a former member of the U.S. Women’s National Team and veteran goalkeeper with experience in the NWSL, WPS and the Australian W-League. After retiring from playing professional soccer, Loyden opened The Keeper Institute headquarters to begin her coaching career in summer of 2015. She served as the goalkeeper coach for Sky Blue FC for the 2016 and 2017 seasons and worked with the U.S. Youth National Teams in the same capacity. Loyden has also served as a color analyst for ESPN.
Tony Meola begins his first season as a commentator in the NWSL. A 10-year veteran of the MLS and 2000 league and MLS Cup MVP, Meola remains the only goalkeeper in history to win the league’s top on-field honor. In addition to his career in professional soccer, Meola is also a decorated member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, having made his debut on June 10, 1988, against Ecuador. He would go on to represent the U.S. for several international competitions, including the 1990, 1994 and 2002 FIFA World Cups. He was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2012. The host of Sirius XM’s nightly show Counter Attack, Meola’s broadcasting credits include the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Copa America, M.L.S., Champions League, Europa League, Bundesliga, Concacaf Champions League, CONCACAF Nations League, U.S.L. Championship.
Lianne Sanderson returns to the NWSL as an analyst after a successful playing career, where she featured for various clubs in the WPS, WSL and NWSL, including the Boston Breakers, Orlando Pride and Portland Thorns FC, during a successful playing career. On the international stage, Sanderson earned 50 caps as a member of the England Women’s National Team, making her debut in May of 2006. She went on to represent the team at both the 2007 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup as well as the UEFA Women’s European Championship in 2009. In addition to her sideline reporting role on CBS matches, Sanderson will serve in the same capacity for a number of CBS Sports Network and Paramount+ contests.
Saskia Webber was a member of the famed 1999 USA World Cup team, Webber made her USWNT debut in 1992. Among her many accomplishments, Webber earned a bronze medal in the 1995 World Cup and a gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. She played professional soccer for three years in Japan for Oki FC where she was named the top goalkeeper of the league. In 2001, as a founding member of the WUSA, Webber played the inaugural season for the Philadelphia Charge before finishing her playing career with her home team, The New York Power. Webber currently serves as the goalkeeping coach at the University of Southern California after serving in the same capacity at UCLA. Webber is a host of the podcast “Inside The 18”. She is also the founder and co-owner of TheUnionSports.com.
Brian Boyle Joins NHL Network as Studio Analyst
NHL Network announces that Brian Boyle, a 14-year NHL center and the 2017-18 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner, has joined its on-air lineup as a studio analyst.
Boyle will make his debut on NHL Tonight on Thursday, March 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET alongside Jamison Coyle and former New York Rangers teammate Mike Rupp, and again on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. ET with Bill Pidto and Rupp. On Saturday, March 25, Boyle will join Tony Luftman for the intermission reports during the NHL Network Showcase game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins at 1 p.m. ET. Boyle will contribute across NHL Network’s studio programming throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“I’m excited to be part of NHL Network and be involved with hockey and the NHL,” says Boyle. “Nobody wants to stop playing, but talking about the game I love is something that is really exciting for me.”
“Brian’s a beloved member of the hockey community, who had a fantastic career,” says Josh Bernstein, NHL Network Vice President of Production. “To have him contributing his wealth of knowledge makes our shows that much stronger as we head towards the best time of the year.”
Boyle joins NHL Network following his retirement at the end of the 2021-22 season, after spending two seasons with the Los Angeles Kings (2008-09), five with the New York Rangers (2009-14), three with the Tampa Bay Lightning (2014-17), and the final years of his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs (2017), New Jersey Devils (2017-19), Nashville Predators (2019), Florida Panthers (2019-20) and Pittsburgh Penguins (2021-22).
Across his 871 career games played, Boyle combined 141 goals and 111 assists for 252 points, including 27 game-winning goals. Boyle skated in 124 Stanley Cup Playoff games, including back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 2014 and 2015. In 2017-18, Boyle was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, following his diagnosis with chronic myeloid leukemia during training camp and going on to lead the Devils to their first Stanley Cup Playoffs berth since 2012. Drafted in the first round with the 26th overall pick by the Kings during the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, the Hingham, Massachusetts native played four years at Boston College prior to skating in the NHL.
Boyle joins Thomas Hickey, a nine-year NHL defenseman, and Bruce Boudreau, the 2008 Jack Adams Award-winner, as the most recent NHL Network analyst additions.