Behind the Mic: Fox Taps Raferty as Lead Analyst for FS1’s Big East Basketball; ESPN Re-Ups Herbstreit Through 2022

Fox Sports has inked a deal with Bill Raftery to serve as its lead BIG EAST game analyst, teaming with the play-by-play man Gus Johnson on regular-season and all Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament games televised on FOX Sports 1. Raftery will continue in his role as a lead analyst for men’s regular-season college basketball and NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament coverage on CBS.  FOX Sports 1, which will launch on Aug. 17, is slated to televise over 100 Big East men’s regular-season basketball games this coming season.  The non-conference schedule begins Friday, Nov. 8, the likely date of the first Johnson-Raftery assignment…

…ESPN has re-upped college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit through 2022. The two-time Sports Emmy Award-winner for Best Studio Analyst (2010 & 2011) will continue to call ABC’s Saturday Night Football package and make weekly appearances on a several ESPN shows including ESPN College GameDay (in his 18th season as co-analyst) and College Football Live. Having called the past seven Rose Bowls and six BCS National Championships, he will again be in the booth for this year’s editions. When the new College Football Playoff commences in 2015, he will call one National Semifinal and the National Championship Game each year. New this fall, Herbstreit will be paired with ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd during his weekly Tuesday appearance on College Football Live. In addition, he will continue contribute to award shows and provide analysis across ESPN platforms such as SportsCenter, and ESPN The Magazine

…NBC Sports Group has named former Portland Timbers play-by-play man John Strong as the lead play-by-play voice for its Major League Soccer telecasts, beginning in July. Strong will call MLS games alongside analyst Kyle Martino with host Russ Thaler beginning July 6 on NBC Sports Network. Strong succeeds Arlo White, who will head back to his native England for the upcoming Premier League season. He will be NBC’s lead play-by-play voice in the network’s three-year, $250 million Premier League broadcast deal that starts in August.

NBC Sports Group is also expanding the roles of three soccer analysts. Premier League studio analysts Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe will also contribute to NBC Sports Group’s MLS coverage as game analysts beginning in July. In addition to MLS, analyst Martino will join NBC Sports Group’s Premier League studio coverage working alongside studio host Rebecca Lowe…

…With Strong leaving for NBC, the Portland Timbers announced on Monday the appointment of broadcaster Christian Miles as television play by play commentator for the remainder of the 2013 season. Miles is a veteran in the soccer world after nearly 15 years working for FOX Soccer, reporting on and calling games all around Europe. Jimmy Conrad will serve as color commentator…

…Sam Huff, an NFL Hall of Famer who spent 38 years as a Redskins radio analyst, is retiring from the team’s broadcasts. Huff, 78, cut back his work as a color analyst last season, working only home games and the Redskins’ road games against the Giants and Cowboys. This season, he will step aside entirely from game coverage, but will be heard on the pregame show before some home games. Huff has been part of the Redskins since joining them as a player in 1964 after starting his career with New York Giants. He won’t be replaced as the second analyst on games, leaving a two-man booth. Larry Michael will continue as the team’s play-by-play man and Sonny Jurgensen will remain as a single analyst. Rick “Doc” Walker, a former Redskin, will continue as a sideline analyst…

…Former writer Nick Zaccardi has joined as the lead writer for OlympicTalk in advance of the site’s coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. NBC has the U.S. media rights to all Olympic Games from 2014-2020. OlympicTalk is an extension of’s SportsTalk strategy, which provides fans with quick, frequently-updated news and information with a unique perspective. Zaccardi, who will cover the Sochi Olympics on-site in Russia, wrote his first posts for OlympicTalk this week

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