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Can Fox challenge ESPN?

March 4, 2013
Courtesy of USA Today

fox-sports-networkOn Tuesday, Fox will finally discuss its hush-hush project that’s been the talk of TV sports circles for a while: The launch of what will arguably be the biggest head-to-head challenger to ESPN.

In so-called upfront presentations to advertisers in New York City, Fox will fill in the blanks on when it will convert its Speed Channel, now in more than 80 million of the roughly 100 million U.S. households that get cable or satellite TV, into a broader-interest channel tentatively called Fox Sports 1.

The big question: While there are plenty of niche sports channels, is it too late for anybody to take on ESPN when it comes to on-air sports buffets?

Fox has created a formidable pantry it can tap for TV tonnage to support the new channel. It has added or renewed deals for MLB action, NASCAR, UFC mixed martial arts, World Cup soccer, college football and basketball — including a deal for TV basketball rights to the seven Catholic colleges leaving the Big East that’s expected to become official Tuesday.

Still up in the air: To juggle and cross-promote that programming, Fox is likely to create a second spin-off channel — a Fox Sports 2 — out of its Fuel channel, which is in at least 30 million TV households. What’s still unclear: Whether the second channel will launch with FS1 or come later.

Fox’s challenge to ESPN’s channels isn’t exactly David vs. Goliath, say financial analysts, but it will be lopsided in the beginning. Nomura Equity Research analyst Michael Nathanson argues that “ESPN is well protected for many years (given) its sports rights (for event coverage) are locked up into the next decade.”

Credit Suisse analyst Michael Senno estimates that the new Fox Sports channel, expected to debut by late summer, will try to get cable operators to pay monthly fees of $1.25 per subscriber — a big jump from the current 26 cents it charges for Speed.

But that wouldn’t be anywhere close to the revenue produced by programming on ESPN which, says research firm SNL Kagan, charges cable operators monthly subscriber fees — $5.13 — that are by far the highest in TV. (That’s well above popular channels such as CNN (57 cents) and MTV (39 cents).

Read more at USA Today where this story was originally published.

Fran-FraschillaIt was the final minute of a tight basketball game a couple of weeks ago on ESPN. Analyst Fran Fraschilla addressed how each team would approach the rest of the game, which he dissected perfectly.

“You must have been a coach once upon a time,” said his play-by-play partner, Brent Musburger.

“Not good enough,” Fraschilla responded, “or I wouldn’t be here with you.”

Fraschilla, 54, was a familiar figure to basketball fans who attended games in downtown Albany in the mid-’90s. He coached Manhattan against Siena and in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament for four seasons, winning the league’s Coach of the Year honor in 1995. Fraschilla also led St. John’s and New Mexico, taking his teams to the postseason in nine of his 10 seasons as a head coach.

He hasn’t roamed courtside since 2002, but he is still a familiar voice to basketball junkies. Fraschilla has elevated himself to one of ESPN’s top basketball analysts.

As he prepared for his next assignment, the Texas at Oklahoma State game at 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN, he took a few minutes to discuss his transition to broadcasting.

Q: Not every coach goes into TV and does a great job. What has the transition been like for you?

A: Well, it was natural for me. From my Manhattan and St. John’s days, I got a chance in New York City to do a lot of media work — interviews, television appearances, all the things you might not get a chance to do in many other places. Certainly not in Bowling Green, Ohio, or Missoula, Montana. The ability to translate my basketball thoughts and sound bites to a television camera seemed to come very naturally to me.

I love basketball, I love talking basketball, and coming from Brooklyn, I always had — luckily — the gift of gab. It’s a matter now of explaining the game simply without people thinking you’re a know-it-all. To me, explaining the game on television is just like when I was coaching my team. If a player or a viewer doesn’t understand what you’re talking about, then you’re not doing your job well.

It came naturally. I enjoy explaining the game of basketball simply, and I also enjoy telling viewers about players and coaches, and what they are like behind the scenes, their connection to other players, other coaches, the history of the game. It all comes naturally to me. I’m a life-long basketball junkie.

Q: How much schooling does ESPN give you as far as the finer points of broadcasting?

A: Very little. You sink or swim almost on your own, although before I started this, before ESPN gave me the chance back in 2002, I called every single person that I knew who was connected to broadcasting, from both a play-by-play point of view to an analyst’s point of view. I tried to get as much information as I could. I just felt that I wanted to be good at it.

At the time, I thought it might be a fun two or three years before I went back to coaching. I’ve had many opportunities, as you probably know, and at that time my boys were little. I got into a groove with ESPN, and I just wanted to watch my kids grow up. ESPN has afforded me that opportunity. I have a son (Jason) who plays on the team at Oklahoma, a walk-on sophomore, and my youngest guy, Matt, is committed to play at Harvard next year for Tommy Amaker. I wouldn’t trade. ESPN has given me a great lifestyle. It allowed me to watch my boys grow up. It allowed me to stay very, very close to the game.”

Q: Have you done many OU games?

A: Yeah, I have. Actually, it’s fun, because I almost never mention my son’s name. I’ve found that because of my credibility within the Big 12, the coaches of various schools know that it’s not going to change what I’m going to say on the air. I worked for Rick Barnes, who is now the coach at Texas, when I was at Providence. Virtually every coach in the league, at least most of them, I consider good friends. I have a very easy time saying what’s on my mind and sometimes having to be constructively critical, regardless of who the team is. I don’t ever want to lose that credibility.

The other night, when I ranted about a foul needing to be called at the end of the Iowa State game, (Kansas coach) Bill Self is one of my good friends in coaching. It didn’t matter to me. I felt the referee should have made a call. I try to handle that aspect of being an analyst. There’s an artful way of being critical of a team or a coach without it looking like you have any kind of agenda. That’s been part of my credibility. I will call it the way I see it, regardless of who it is.”

Q: Are you still doing some studio work?

A: I am. Not as much in the studio. They changed the philosophy up there. Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams are in the studio more. It’s good in a way. We don’t have to travel as much across the country. I like studio work, but I much more enjoy being at games. I enjoy being at half-court in an environment like Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas).”

Q: Is it a different platform as far as trying to explain the game?

A: Studio is where you get face time. People see you. There’s probably a little more visibility when you’re in the studio. My opinions aren’t going to change because I’m in the studio as opposed to being at a game. I enjoy both. I also enjoy the immediacy of being at a game. I feel I can coach both teams at a game and probably have more to say because you’re literally on for two hours.

Q: It has been 10 or 11 years since you’ve been coach. Is the urge gone to go back, or is it still in the back of your mind?

A: You know what, let’s put it this way, I don’t need to coach. Some of my coaching buddies need to coach. I don’t need to coach. I’m active in basketball 365 days a year.

As soon as the college season ends, I go right away to start preparing for the NBA draft, where I’ve got to know all the international kids. It’s become a great hobby of mine. I get to travel to Europe frequently. I coach for much of the summer at the various Nike skills academies, where I’m involved with some of the best high school coaches in the country. From a standpoint of coaching, I’m never away from it.

I’ve spent a lot of time coaching my kids the last couple of summers, and it’s been a great benefit to me. The point is, unless the perfect situation came up, I was not going to leave ESPN to go back to coaching until my boys were finished playing high school. Now, it would have to take a great opportunity. I’m in a great spot at ESPN. I haven’t coached in 10 years, but I feel like I coach every day of the year. I’m very close to the game, very close to all my coaching buddies, recruiting, video tapes. I make coaching instructional videos. I speak at seven, eight, nine high school coaching clinics a fall, all over the country. I’ve never left coaching. I just get a different platform for my coaching Jones now.”

Q: In a lot of ways, maybe not the amount of travel, but the distances you travel have increased. They use you a lot on the international front, don’t they?

A: They do. I enjoy that. That’s a big aspect of my job. I’ve gotten to know the international game extremely well, from the international kids who are ready for the NBA draft to Olympics stuff. I did the Olympic exhibition tour this summer. Various international events that we cover, I’m usually right in the thick of it. It’s one of my hobbies. I had international kids at Manhattan, St. John’s. I’ve been to 10 or 11 countries now and done clinics all over Europe. All these things … the point is, I’m immersed in basketball 365 days a year. ESPN uses me November to April essentially, and then the NBA draft and some other stuff.

Read more at the Albany Times Union where this story was originally published.

Harry-TeinowitzIt’s over and out for Harry Teinowitz after 12 years as afternoon co-host of ESPN Radio sports/talk WMVP-AM (1000).

Thursday was his final show with Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic, although listeners didn’t know it was the last call for Carmen, Jurko & Harry. Neither did Teinowitz, who was told after he got off the air.

“Harry has done great work for the company for many years,” an ESPN Radio spokesman told me. “While we decided to move in another direction, we wish him continued success.” The program, which airs from 2 to 6pm weekdays, will be hosted as a two-man show by DeFalco and Jurkovic while the company determines its next steps.

“At 6pm this evening Harry Teinowitz signed off air for the last time at ESPN Chicago,” the station’s managers told staffers in a memo. “Throughout the many years that Harry has been with us, he has served in many different roles and has helped to establish the ESPN brand in Chicago.

“Harry’s contributions will be felt for years to come in every department at ESPN Chicago. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Teinowitz, 52, could not be reached Thursday. A native of north suburban Glencoe, former stand-up comic, and 19-year veteran of Chicago radio, he joined ESPN 1000 in 1998 and began hosting afternoons with Dan McNeil and Jurkovic in 2001.

In the latest Arbitron Portable People Meter survey, ESPN 1000 ranked 10th in afternoons among men between 25 and 54 with a 3.4 percent share and a cumulative weekly audience of 149,800. CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR-AM (670), with Terry Boers and Dan Bernstein, was No. 1 in the target demo with a 7.2 share and a weekly cume of 176,100.

Teinowitz made headlines in March 2011 when he was arrested in north suburban Skokie and charged with driving under the influence. He voluntarily entered a rehab program before returning to the air in May of that year. He later pleaded guilty to DUI and was given 18 months conditional discharge and sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

ESPN Radio 1000 is owned by Walt Disney Co.

Read more at Time Out Chicago where this story was originally published.

xx1090-logoIt has been a dog-and-pony show.

Add a dancing bear, some elephants, a hippo on a unicycle and a bearded lady, and The Mighty 1090’s search to find a co-host for Lee Hamilton could even be called a circus.

Instead of just interviewing a few qualified candidates, station management brought in eight people for one-hour tryouts with Hamilton. The prize is a chance to work with him on the station’s morning show.

The candidates include the U-T’s Kevin Acee; former Chargers Vencie Glenn and Dennis McKnight; former NFL and Chargers executive Jim Steeg; former Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth, who worked in radio and TV in South Carolina, Cincinnati and Phoenix; and L.A.-based TV and radio veteran Larry Burnett.

John Kentera, who works nights at 1090 as well as on the Padres pregame and postgame shows, is also in the running.

Jeff Dotseth, who worked the morning show at 1090 for several months with Dave Palet, was offered the job — several times. For reasons he chose not to disclose, Dotseth declined the invitation.

That set the circuslike search in motion.

Aside from working an hour with Hamilton, all the candidates were interviewed in the afternoon by Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith.

Kentera stood out, but why would the station take a man who is passionate about the Padres and does a great job at night and move him to the morning? That would create an opening and initiate a search for a night host.

Glenn, McKnight, Steeg and Acee are great guests, but co-hosts? Don’t think so.

Hayworth and Burnett are the professionals and would be the best fit.

But can anyone work with Hamilton?

Is all this a charade? Will Hamilton be working alone when the calendar flips to March?

“Assume Lee Hamilton will not go solo,” said Mike Shepard, programming/operations manager at 1090.

If that’s so, will Hamilton keep his “Best 15 Minutes in Sports” segment at the top of each hour? Will anyone be willing to wait 20 minutes before he gets a chance to talk?

“I hope so, because that segment isn’t going anywhere,” Hamilton said. “It’s my signature, and it draws people in.”

Even in this instant-information age, you can’t assume that every listener is sitting at a computer or has access to the Internet. So the segment still works.

But it would make the person working with Hamilton “the other guy” rather than a co-host.

So how will all this play out?

Listen for an announcement and the sound of a calliope.

Read more at the San Diego Union Tribune where this story was originally published.

Fans are tuning out St. Louis sports-talk radio in massive quantities, the ratings say.

The jock-talk format targets men ages 25-54 and figures compiled by Arbitron, which surveys radio listenership, show that there was a mammoth decline — 58 percent — in market share in the format over the past year.

According to the statistics, the three St. Louis sports stations — WXOS (101.1 FM), KFNS (590 AM) and KXFN (1380 AM) — combined in January 2012 to draw 13.5 percent of the estimated 549,100 men in the market in that age bracket. That’s about 74,000 listeners.

Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where this story was originally published.

Butch-AlsandorA day after his final sportscast Wednesday night on KHOU (Channel 11), Butch Alsandor is contemplating life after TV.

Alsandor, a 20-year KHOU employee who has been sports director since the spring of 2009, said he has been thinking for some time about a post-television career and decided the time was right to move in that direction.

“There are other things I can do,” he said. ‘I’m still a young guy, and I have a second career in me. The question becomes when do you do it? At some point, you have to just do it.”

These clearly are not the best of all times for local TV sportscasters, given shrinking resources and shrinking on-camera time and the plethora of national sports services. Alsandor said no single topic influenced his decision but added, “I knew at some point, I would have to do something outside of TV. I’ve seen some of my friends do it and spent some time thinking about it.”

Alsandor said he has done play-by-play work in the past and hopes to get into corporate communications or community relations. He said he plans to remain in Houston.

“I said (during his farewell message to viewers) that I was having lunch with pastor Gregg Matte (from First Baptist Church), and sitting at the table next to us were President Bush and Barbara and (former Astros owner) Drayton McLane,” he said. “To me, that’s Houston. It’s been my home for 20 years and will keep being my home.”

He said he was grateful for the chance to work for Channel 11.

“It’s been a long road, but it was a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve met a lot of great people. It’s been a good experience.”

Read more at the Houston Chronicle where this story was originally published.

wbc-2013MLB Network’s exclusive English-language telecast of the 2013 World Baseball Classic in the United States begins this Friday, March 1 at 11:30 p.m. ET and continues with all 39 games of the tournament through the Championship on Tuesday, March 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET. MLB Network’s Bob Costas, Jim Kaat, Joe Magrane, Harold Reynolds, John Smoltz, Matt Vasgersian, Tom Verducci and Matt Yallof are among the group of announcers scheduled to call the tournament, produced by MLB Network in the United States and by MLB International abroad. The complete list of announcers is outlined below.

In addition to televising all 39 games, MLB Network will extensively cover the World Baseball Classic in its studio programming, including World Baseball Classic Today, which debuts this Saturday, March 2 at 11:00 a.m. ET. Former Major League infielder and coach of the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox Joey Cora will serve as a guest analyst on the program from March 7-9. The tournament’s Championship Round will include on-site coverage with Intentional Talk live before each game and live pre- and postgame coverage on MLB Tonight on the field from AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The announcers for the World Baseball Classic on MLB Network are:

First Round

Pool A: Brazil, China, Cuba, Japan / March 2-6
Rich Waltz and Buck Martinez – Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome, Fukuoka, Japan

Pool B: Australia, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Netherlands / March 1-5
JB Long and Joe Magrane – Taipei Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, Taichung, Taiwan

Pool C: Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela / March 7-10
Gary Thorne and Jose Mota – Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Pool D: Canada, Italy, Mexico, United States / March 7-10
Matt Yallof and Jeff Nelson – Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Phoenix
Matt Vasgersian, Jim Kaat and Sam Ryan – Chase Field, Phoenix

Second Round

Pool 1 / Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan / March 7-12
Rich Waltz and Buck Martinez

Pool 2 / Marlins Park, Miami / March 12-16
March 12-13: Matt Vasgersian, John Smoltz and Heidi Watney
March 14: Matt Vasgersian, Tom Verducci and Heidi Watney
March 15: Matt Vasgersian, Harold Reynolds and Heidi Watney
March 16: Matt Vasgersian, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci and Heidi Watney

Championship Round

Semi-finals / AT&T Park, San Francisco / March 17-18
Matt Vasgersian, Jim Kaat and Tom Verducci

Championship / AT&T Park, San Francisco / March 19
Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and Tom Verducci

As part of its coverage of the world’s premier international baseball tournament, MLB Network’s live game telecasts will be available on an authenticated basis online and on Apple devices. At no additional cost, Bright House Networks, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable subscribers who receive MLB Network as part of their TV subscription will have access to all 39 games on computers at WorldBaseballClassic.com/Watch by logging in with their TV service provider information. Once users have authenticated online and created an MLB user profile, they can watch the tournament on Apple devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch) via the WBCBaseball app, available on the Apple App Store. In addition to streaming all 39 games live, authenticated users will be able to view highlights and archived World Baseball Classic games from earlier in the tournament. The live streaming will be available beginning with the first game between Australia and Chinese Taipei this Friday, March 1 at 11:30 p.m. ET.

MLB Network is the exclusive English-language telecast partner in the United States for both the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic tournaments. MLB Network televised 16 games of the 2009 World Baseball Classic, just after the network’s launch.

Read more at Major League Baseball where this story was originally published.

Alsandor leaving KHOU-TV

February 28, 2013
Courtesy of KHOU

Butch-AlsandorSports Anchor Butch Alsandor has decided to leave the station after nearly two decades of covering sports for Houston’s CBS affiliate. Alsandor made the announcement to viewers during Wednesday night’s 10 p.m. newscast.

“It’s my decision to leave the station. I’ve been thinking for quite a while that I’d like to try something new, and now, after 20 solid years, this seems like the time to go ahead with that,” Alsandor said Friday.

“KHOU has been good enough to give me the opportunity, even though my contract still has several months remaining. I’ve had a great run over these past two decades, made lots of friends both at the station and across the community. And I look forward to many more interesting things to come. For now, I just want to offer my sincerest thanks to all the great Channel 11 viewers who’ve welcomed me into their homes for so long.”

Alsandor joined KHOU in August of 1993 from WBAL-TV in Baltimore, MD. He officially took over the role of weekday Sports Anchor at 6 and 10 p.m. following the retirement of longtime Sports Director Giff Nielsen in 2009.

Alsandor’s broadcasting career started at KPLC-TV in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The city is home to McNeese State University where he was a three-year letterman on the Cowboys football team.

“Butch has given our viewers a front row seat to some of the most exciting moments in the city’s history, from championships to heartbreaking losses,” said Susan McEldoon, KHOU 11 President and General Manager. “Through it all, sports are often a topic that brings people together, and we thank Butch for helping us tell so many great stories over the last 20 years.”

“Even after all these years, he’s still enthusiastic about the job and the people he covers. Whatever he does next, we know he’ll bring those special qualities with him,” KHOU 11 Executive News Director Phil Bruce said. “Beyond being a true professional, he’s a very decent guy. And we’ll miss him.”

Read more at KHOU where this story was originally published.

Notah Begay joins NBC

February 28, 2013
Courtesy of USA Today

notah-begayNBC, offering up the only new voice in a major role on national TV golf this year, says former PGA Tour pro Notah Begay hasn’t come on board as a course reporter merely to capitalize on his friendship with Tiger Woods — or because Begay is a diversity hire.

Begay, a Native American, has known Woods well since they met in junior golf when he was 12 and Woods was 9. Begay says the late Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, eventually “took me in under his wing.”

After failing to qualify for the Tour this season, Begay replaces Dottie Pepper, who left NBC to help the PGA of America develop junior golf.

So there’s the obvious question of whether Begay, who played with Woods on Stanford’s golf team, is with NBC because he goes way back with the most-enigmatic superstar in sports.

NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy is adamant that’s not the case.

“I told him as we hired him that it had absolutely nothing to do with Tiger,” Roy says, “and I’ll never ask him him to use his friendship to get something from Tiger. And I told that to Tiger’s agent.”

Begay says that’s true. “I’ve never been asked to get access to Tiger,” he tells USA TODAY Sports. “I’ve appreciated that in production meetings when Tiger comes up, I’m not supposed to be the resident expert. I’m not the resident expert. I can offer tidbits, just like I can offer tidbits on Ernie Els.”

Begay, 40, says he’ll treat Woods as he would anybody. “I won’t say something on-air I wouldn’t say to him at dinner,” he says. “I’ve got great personal relationships with a vast amount of players, but I want to treat all of them with the respect I demanded in my career. … I don’t want to go after the cheap laugh.” (Too bad, TV golf could use a few more of those.)

Begay will be an on-course reporter and occasional studio analyst for Comcast-owned NBC/Golf Channel, which is about to dominate TV golf as it airs PGA Tour action over the next six weeks.

As a Native American, Begay is automatically an anomaly in TV sports. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a full-blooded Native American on any channel doing anything,” he says. “They’ve been so oppressed, we’re lucky to see our kids graduate from high school. When I took the job here I set a precedent.”

Roy says NBC was attracted to the candor Begay showed in past Golf Channel cameos — with diversity considerations being secondary.

“The thing I’ve found in all athletes who become announcers is they’re afraid to give their true opinions because they’re talking about their friends, or at least guys they played with,” Roy says. “For a long time, the most inflammatory thing you’d hear on-air was, ‘That’s not what he had in mind’ — even when somebody had knocked it into a lake. … Like (NBC’s) Johnny Miller, whatever he’s thinking, he’s saying. That (Begay) happens to be Native American is just a huge bonus.”

But Roy, who grew up in a small Arizona town near the Mexican border — “where, as a white child, I was in the minority” — says he has “long-admired” Begay’s life story.

Begay’s father is member of the Navajo Nation, and his mother with two tribes — Pueblo of San Felipe and Pueblo of Islete.

Begay, who grew up in New Mexico, says that after he was introduced to golf at 6 by his father, he collected recyclable cans to pay for range balls. At 9, he got a job washing bathrooms and cleaning carts at a course and was paid in range balls. He ended up basically living at the course — “It was almost like my child care.”

Roy says “it’s pretty darn special to see a Native American do what he’s done, let alone from a kid who partly grew up on a reservation. And he did it before Tiger made the sport cool.”

And Begay had legitimate success, if short-lived, as a player. As a PGA Tour pro in 1999, Begay won two tournaments and finished 30th on the money list. The next year he won two more events and finished 20th in earnings. Then came a herniated disc in his lower back and years of new or recurring injuries.

But back to Woods. We have to ask: Is he really dating skier Lindsey Vonn?

“I have no clue,” says Begay, laughing.

Read more at USA Today where this story was originally published.

FC Dallas signs TWC deal

February 28, 2013
Courtesy of the Sports Video Group

FC-DallasFC Dallas and Time Warner Cable have agreed to the most extensive television broadcast deal in the club’s 18-year history in advance of the 2013 season.

This season Time Warner Cable SportsChannel will air 22 FC Dallas regular-season games. In Dallas, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel is available on channel 185 (SD) and channel 148 (HD). Check local listings for areas outside of Dallas.

“We are excited to have a television partner who believes in soccer and shares our passion and commitment for growing the FCD brand and our sport,” said Hunt Sports Group Vice President Dan Hunt. “We believe Time Warner Cable is the right partner for us and have signed a deal with the intent on growing this into a long-term partnership.”

The new partnership will not only provide a higher broadcast production quality with all games in HD, it will also allow FC Dallas to travel its broadcast team to all 17 road games and provide fans with additional in-depth programming about FC Dallas. Among the extended FC Dallas programming available this season and in the future will be pre- and post-game shows, dedicated programming about FC Dallas, and FC Dallas programming within other Time Warner Cable SportsChannel shows.

“FC Dallas games are an outstanding addition to Time Warner Cable SportsChannel’s expanding local sports offering and we’re excited to partner with them to televise games this season,” said Mark Shuken, Senior Vice President and General Manager, TWC Sports Regional Networks. “FC Dallas fans are very passionate and Time Warner Cable SportsChannel will be able to give them more access to their favorite team.”

Last season’s popular play-by-play man Mark Followill will return to call most of the games, with 1310 The Ticket’s Bob Sturm joining the broadcast team to handle play-by-play duties for the others. National analyst and former MLS star Brian Dunseth will also return to provide color analysis, along with Dante Washington and Steve Jolley.

Direct Kick will still be available for fans in non-Time Warner Cable service areas and MLS Live will be available market-wide. KTXA 21 will air five games, while the remaining seven games will be nationally televised on either ESPN, ESPN2, or NBC Sports Network. Azteca America will also continue to air tape-delayed Spanish broadcasts of games.

Time Warner Cable and FC Dallas are working together to unveil a special TWC offer for FC Dallas fans in the coming weeks.

FC Dallas opens the 2013 season at home on March 2 versus the Colorado Rapids.

Read more at the Sports Video Group where this story was originally published.

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