Mike Breen and Sage Steele are back on-air; Drew Brees and Arlo White are both done at NBC.
Breen back for Game 3 of Finals after nearly two-week absence
ESPN/ABC lead NBA play-by-play voice Mike Breen is scheduled to return from a three-game absence for Wednesday’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals, his first assignment since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals two weeks ago Friday. Breen missed Game 7 of the East Finals and the first two games of the NBA Finals after testing positive for COVID-19. His colleague Jeff Van Gundy also missed Game 1 of the Finals due to a positive test.
While the ESPN/ABC TV broadcast should be whole again Wednesday night, the radio team will be one short. Analyst P.J. Carlesimo, who has been working games on radio alongside Doris Burke and Mark Kestecher, will miss Game 3 due to a death in the family. [ESPN PR]
Steele returns to SportsCenter after three-week absence
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele returned to the air on Wednesday after being out for three weeks due to injuries sustained when she was struck in the face by a golf ball at the PGA Championship. Steele said she still has a “long way to go” and a “lot of stuff still has to be done” in her recovery. In an at-times emotional on-air recounting of what occurred, Steele offered thanks to her co-host Matt Barrie, who was with her when she was struck. [ESPN PR]
NBC confirms Brees’ exit
NBC told the Associated Press Wednesday that NFL analyst Drew Brees will not return for a second season, just over two years after the company hired the former Saints QB while he was still an active player. The Brees hiring was initially believed to be the first step in a succession plan that would result in him eventually replacing Cris Collinsworth as NBC’s lead NFL analyst, but those plans never came close to fruition. Brees’ on-air work received mixed reviews — particularly his analysis of a Raiders-Bengals Wild Card playoff game — and NBC reached a long-term extension with Collinsworth.
While the New York Post has reported that Brees will be under consideration for the #2 analyst role for Fox Sports, the Associated Press report indicates that it is more likely he will take the season off. [AP 6.8]
NBC EPL voice White leaves for controversial LIV golf tour
Longtime NBC Premier League play-by-play voice Arlo White has left the company to become the voice of the new LIV golf tour. The LIV Tour has the subject of controversy due to its Saudi backing, with prominent supporters like Phil Mickelson receiving backlash for their involvement. Per the New York Post, White will see a salary bump from six to seven figures. NBC had previously announced that Peter Drury would replace White as its lead EPL voice. [NYP 6.6]