Behind the Mic: ESPN Reups Jessica Mendoza for Sunday Night Baseball Telecasts; Jason Reid Extends With The Undefeated

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, Jessica Mendoza reaches a multi-year extension with ESPN, The Undefeated resigns Senior NFL writer Jason Reid, the Atlanta Braves announce their 2019 broadcast teams, the MLS on ESPN grabs a new voice, SiriusXM NBA Radio nabs four key stars, and Bernhard Langer will host a golf show on SiriusXM as well.

ESPN has reached a multi-year extension with Major League Baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza.

As part of the new deal, Mendoza will continue to contribute analysis to ESPN’s signature MLB platform – Sunday Night Baseball – alongside Alex Rodriguez, Matt Vasgersian, and Buster Olney. Additionally, Mendoza will appear on ESPN’s MLB studio show Baseball Tonight, plus appear more regularly on SportsCenter, and Get Up!.

“I’m beyond excited to continue to work as a baseball and softball analyst at ESPN,” she says. “The support I’ve received at ESPN is incredible. I look forward to continuing to help grow the sports of softball and Major League Baseball through our second-to-none coverage by utilizing cool technology, offering exciting insights, and doing it all with passion.”

Mendoza, considered one of the greatest softball players ever, will also continue her role as a lead analyst for ESPN’s NCAA Women’s World Series coverage. She is a Stanford University multi-category record-holder, holding the school’s all-time records in batting average, hits, runs, home runs, stolen bases, and slugging percentage. As a member of Team U.S.A., she won an Olympic Gold medal in Softball at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and she won a Silver Medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The National Softball Hall of Fame recently announced that Mendoza would be a member of the class of 2019.

“Jessica’s preparation, expertise and work ethic are among the many attributes that make us proud to have this trailblazer with us for years to come,” says Mark Gross, ESPN senior vice president, production and remote events. “She forms tremendous relationships in the sport with executives, managers and players and those connections help inform our telecasts and make them better. Her passion for the sport is contagious.”

On August 24, 2015, Mendoza made history by becoming the first woman to serve as an analyst for a nationally televised MLB game – St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks on ESPN2. On August 30, 2015, Mendoza called her first Sunday Night Baseball telecast as an analyst before working the remainder of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast for the season.

On October 5, 2015, Mendoza made history again by becoming the first woman to serve as an analyst for a MLB Postseason game telecast: ESPN’s coverage of the American League Wild Card Game between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Shortly thereafter, ESPN officially announced Mendoza as a full-time Sunday Night Baseball analyst – a role she has held since the start of the 2016 season…

The Undefeated, ESPN’s content initiative for sports, race, and culture, has reached a multi-year contract extension with senior NFL writer Jason Reid to continue as the platform’s lead journalist covering the National Football League.

At The Undefeated, Reid’s NFL work has included The Puzzling Plummet of RGIII – an in-depth look at how former Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III fell out of favor with the team; and enterprise reporting around the NFL’s support of social justice organization in the wake of players’ protests, and the ensuing discord among the players. In April 2017, Reid co-authored “The NFL’s Racial Divide” – a long-form investigation about the role that race plays in the construction of NFL rosters – which won the 2018 NABJ Salute to Excellence Award in the sports digital media category.

In addition to his work with The Undefeated, Reid regularly contributes to other ESPN platforms, including Outside the Lines, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio programs, and more. In September 2016, he wrote a cover story, “Welcome to the Todd Gurley Show” for ESPN The Magazine on the Los Angeles Rams star running back…

…The Atlanta Braves, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southeast, and Dickey Broadcasting have announced their respective broadcast teams for the 2019 Atlanta Braves season.

Braves telecasts on the Fox Sports regional networks will include Chip Caray returning for his 16th season as play-by-play announcer alongside Jeff Francoeur in his new role as lead analyst. Additionally, analyst and Hall of Famer Tom Glavine will have an increased presence on the networks.

The Braves Radio Network, the largest sports radio network in baseball, will feature a four-man rotation with the addition of Braves Hall of Famer Joe Simpson and Ben Ingram. Simpson and Ingram will join Hall of Famer Don Sutton and Jim Powell in different combinations throughout the season. In addition to his new radio duties, Simpson will also continue as an analyst with Fox Sports for select telecasts, while Ingram will continue his pre- and postgame shows when not in the booth…

…One of the world’s best soccer commentators is moving to the United States to join ESPN. Renowned British broadcaster Jon Champion, who has excelled at calling the English Premier League and top global football events for three decades will be ESPN’s new play-by-play voice for Major League Soccer. Beginning in 2019, Champion will be paired with top analyst Taylor Twellman on MLS matches. Champion, who has been part of ESPN’s FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship, and other major events, will be a leading voice in the company’s year-round coverage of the sport.

This new role marks Champion’s second run as a full-time ESPN commentator. He was ESPN UK’s lead football announcer, covering the English Premier League, UEFA Europa League, and the FA Cup Final from 2009-2013.

Champion joined ESPN in the United States in 2014 as a play-by-play commentator for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil – his first international soccer event for the U.S. audience. His work garnered critical acclaim and led to assignments on other marquee events, including the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France, UEFA’s FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, and the International Champions Cup (ICC) when he was the English-language voice of El Clásico Miami, the first-ever meeting in North America between Spain’s powerhouse club teams – Barcelona FC vs. Real Madrid – in July 2017…

…SiriusXM announced that former NBA veterans Carlos Boozer, Caron Butler, Ryan Hollins, and Kenyon Martin have joined the SiriusXM NBA Radio channel roster of hosts.

Boozer, Butler, Hollins, and Martin join the rotation of hosts on SiriusXM NBA Radio’s all-new afternoon show, No Look Pass, airing weekdays from 1:00–4:00 pm ET. No Look Pass features three hosts every day discussing the latest news, rumors, and activity around the league from a pool of former players and executives that also includes Greg Anthony, Antonio Daniels, Amin Elhassan, David Griffin, Tim Legler, and Rick Mahorn

… SiriusXM also announced that World Golf Hall of Fame member, multi-time major champion, and 2018 Charles Schwab Cup champion Bernhard Langer will host a new monthly show on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel.

Golfing Younger with Bernhard Langer, which he will host alongside David Marr III, will debut live, December 12 (3:00 pm ET) on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel. Langer will discuss his routine, fitness, and mental preparation, and share his experiences from the European Tour, PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions. He will talk about the game today, and share his insights into the atmosphere and competition of major golf events like the Masters, the Ryder Cup, and more.

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