Ken Fang of Fangs Bites and I have mixed emotions over this week’s edition of Sports Media Weekly.
We begin the program looking back at the life of former NFL Films President Steve Sabol, who passed away yesterday at the age of 69 after losing his battle with brain cancer. Ken and I look back at how Sabol shaped the view of the NFL for many of us growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s.
We then shift to a story in Sports Business Journal on an impending deal to keep Major League Baseball coverage on Fox and Turner through 2021.
We wrap-up our news segment talking about the extension of the contract between the NFL and Dial Global for radio coverage of the league and how neither one of us feel the poor job of the replacement referees will make the league move any faster in coming up with a new deal with the NFL referees’ union.
Our guest this week is Rob Stone, formerly of ESPN and now of Fox Soccer. We spend our time with Rob talking about the growing interest in the sport here in the United States, specifically for the English Premier League and MLS. The excitement for the Premier League was never more evident than last May when Fox Soccer had coverage of nearly every final game of the season as teams fought for the title and a chance to avoid relegation.
As Fox Sports begins its preparations to cover more soccer, it has announced today that it has hired former ESPN soccer commentator Rob Stone to serve as the lead studio host for FOX Soccer and all soccer events on FSMG outlets, including FOX Sports and FX.
Stone had been with ESPN since 1997. He begins his new assignment January 22nd as he joins analyst Eric Wynalda for FOX Sports’ coverage of Arsenal vs. Manchester United match prior to the NFC Championship Game at 10:30a.m. ET.
“To say we’re excited to have an on-air personality with the experience and depth of understanding for soccer that Rob has would be an understatement,” said FOX Soccer Executive Vice President & General Manager David Nathanson in a press release. “He’ll quickly become the face fans expect to see when tuning into one of the many major international soccer events FOX has scheduled this year and in the years to follow.”
“I’m massively grateful and humbled by this opportunity,” offered Stone. “When I first began playing the sport at age 5, I never imagined it would allow me to work four FIFA World Cups and make a living covering the world’s greatest game.”
In addition to his FOX Soccer studio work and his Premier League assignment for FOX Sports in January, Stone is also set to host FOX Sports’ studio coverage of The Game Before the Game featuring Chelsea versus Manchester United, live from Stamford Bridge on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5 at 10:30 a.m. ET.