Behind the Mic: Marv, Kenny Albert To Call NBC’s Premier Boxing Champions; Fowler Passes ESPN College GameDay Mantle to Reece Davis

Marv Albert, will serve as blow-by-blow announcer for Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC, joining analyst “Sugar” Ray Leonard for the debut of PBC on NBC in primetime Saturday, March 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC (NBC’s first primetime fight since May 20, 1985, which Albert also called). Al Michaels will host. Albert will team with six-time world champion and 1976 Olympic gold medalist Leonard on all 11 of the 2015 NBC broadcasts of the Premier Boxing Champions. He previously called boxing on NBC from 1980-2003, including three Summer Olympics highlighted by the controversial 1988 bouts in Seoul, South Korea. Albert also serves as the lead NBA voice and an NCAA basketball announcer for Turner Sports.

Albert previously worked at NBC Sports for more than 20 years, serving as the primary play-by-play announcer for the NBA on NBC, and he called the action on properties including the NFL, NHL, MLB, college basketball, boxing, and horse racing.A multiple Emmy Award winner, Albert handled play-by-play duties for New Jersey Nets basketball on the YES Network from 2005-11, following more than three decades calling New York Knicks and New York Rangers games on Madison Square Garden Network

Marv’s son, Kenny Albert will serve as blow-by-blow announcer for select Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) shows on NBCSN. Albert will be joined by six-time world champion, 1976 Olympic gold medalist and analyst “Sugar” Ray Leonard to call PBC on NBC fight shows on NBCSN. Kenny Albert, the only national play-by-play broadcaster who calls football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soon, boxing.

Albert calls regular season and post-season NHL games for NBC Sports Group and also served as a hockey play-by-play commentator for NBC Olympics’ coverage four times, including the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Albert is currently in his 19th season as the radio play-by-play voice of the New York Rangers. He has served as play-by-play commentator for the NFL on FOX since the network’s inaugural season in 1994 and has been in the booth for five NFC Divisional Playoff games and three BCS bowl games. Albert has also called MLB games on Fox since 2001, and occasionally handles play-by-play for the Knicks on MSG Network.

…Spike TV had also built out quite an announce team for its own Premier Boxing Champions series. Former ESPN-er and and current CBS Sports Network studio host/reporter Dana Jacobson will serve as host of the network’s “Premier Boxing Champions” series, while NFL Network and NFL RedZone vet Scott Hanson will serve as the blow-by-blow announcer. In addition, five-time, two-division world champion boxer Antonio Tarver and popular Bellator announcer and former professional MMA fighter, Jimmy Smith, will serve as color analysts for Spike TV’s inaugural season of Premier Boxing Champions…

…Earlier this month, ESPN veteran host and play-by-play caller, Rece Davis, signed a multi-year agreement with ESPN through 2021 that includes taking over full-time hosting duties from Chris Fowler for the network’s popular College GameDay in 2015. In addition, he will continue to host ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm basketball road show. Davis will relinquish his role in the Thursday night ESPN College Football Primetime booth but call select bowl games and retain his weekly play-by-play duties for college basketball. Davis, who has been with ESPN since 1995, will increase his overall presence for the network’s College Football Playoff studio coverage again hosting the Tuesday night rankings show, the Sunday selection show and anchor coverage on-site at the College Football Playoff semifinals and national championship.  Also, he will continue to serve as lead host of the network’s Men’s Final Four coverage.

Fowler, who has hosted GameDay since 1990, will focus on his ABC Saturday Night Football duties, calling games with analyst Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Heather Cox throughout the fall including a College Football Playoff National Semifinal and the College Football Playoff National Championship. He will continue to host the Heisman Trophy presentation as well as call the tennis grandslams Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open and ESPN’s expanded coverage of the US Open beginning this summer…

… Ryan Clark, the 13-year NFL safety and Super Bowl XLIII champion, has announced his retirement and is joining ESPN as an NFL analyst. Clark made regular ESPN guest analyst appearances the past two years as an active player, most recently at Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. He will begin his new role in March, appearing on NFL Live, SportsCenter, ESPN Radio shows and more as part of a multi-year agreement. Clark played a majority of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2006-13), two years with the New York Giants (2002-03) and two stints with the Washington Redskins (2004-05 and 2014)…

…Earlier this month, espnW signed commentator, reporter and former international soccer star Julie Foudy to a new multiyear contract, as part of espnW’s expanding roster of experienced and distinctive voices.  Foudy will now have a much more prominent role for espnW, serving as the brand’s primary representative at major sporting events including the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, future Olympic Games, the Special Olympics and NCAA Championships. Foudy previously served as a writer and contributor to espnW on several initiatives, and worked as a features reporter on the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams during World Cups and international matches, and reporter/host for ESPN studio programs – SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, First Take.  She has also served as a studio analyst for the 2014 FIFA World Cup – the most-watched FIFA World Cup in the U.S. In 2010, she was a general assignment reporter for ESPN and ABC’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.  She has also been the lead television voice (studio and game analyst) for ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC’s coverage of the quadrennial FIFA Women’s World Cups…

…Kristen Balboni, a former regular on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike,” has joined FOX Sports as co-host of its daily social media series @TheBuzzer.  She will also contribute periodically to FOX Sports 1. @TheBuzzer is a short-form, daily video series that features quick commentary on breaking news and hot topics across sports with multiple videos are posted daily on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and FOXSports.com. During her time at ESPN, Balboni was frequently seen in Mike & Mike segments including “Next Question.” She also hosted a weekly podcast called “Behind the Mikes” on ESPNRadio.com.  Additionally, Balboni was a fantasy football analyst and host of ESPN Fantasy Sports’ “Strength in Numbers” on ESPN.com…

…Rhonda Glenn, the first female anchor on ESPN who became a USGA historian and tireless promoter of women’s golf, died last week after a long illness. She was 68. Glenn became the first woman to be a fulltime sportscaster for a national network when she sat behind the desk at SportsCenter in 1981 just two years after the 24-hour sports network was launched. Glenn was a golf commentator for ABC Sports for 16 years, and she spent 17 years at the USGA. She was the authority on women’s golf, especially USGA championships. Glenn competed in 11 USGA championships, including twice at the U.S. Women’s Open and five times in the U.S. Women’s Amateur. (Associated Press)…

…SNY has named nine-year Major League veteran, Brooklyn native and former New York Mets pitcher Nelson Figueroa studio analyst for the network’s pre- and post-game coverage. Figueroa will serve as lead analyst alongside host Gary Apple while former Mets General Manager Jim Duquette returns in his role as contributor to the network’s year-round Mets coverage. Figueroa replaces Bobby Ojeda, who spent six years in the Mets studio, but reportedly was unable to reach an agreement on the financial terms of a new contract with SNY…

…In other SNY news, Ron Darling will serve as play-by-play man for seven of SNY’s 16 New York Mets Spring Training telecasts from Florida this March. a rookie play-by-play man is going to give it a try. The longtime SNY color commentator will fill in for lead play-by-play caller Gary Cohen, who traditionally does not call every Spring training game.With Kevin Burkhardt, SNY’s longtime Mets reporter and fill-in play-by-play voice, having left for Fox after last season, Darling was granted the opportunity. Darling, 54, will call his first game March 7, when the Mets face the Braves…

…Award-winning motorsports writer Bob Pockrass has joined ESPN and will cover NASCAR for ESPN.com effective immediately Pockrass, who has been covering NASCAR since 1991, will produce news stories, features, analysis, columns, blogs and more for the NASCAR section of ESPN.com. The 2015 NASCAR season begins at Daytona International Speedway later this week. Also, John Oreovicz, who has covered IndyCar, NHRA, NASCAR and other forms of motorsports for ESPN.com since 2004, has signed a contract with ESPN to continue his writing and reporting role. Oreovicz will join Pockrass in Florida to cover NASCAR Daytona Speedweeks for ESPN.com along with ESPN the Magazine senior writer Ryan McGee and ESPN bureau reporter Marty Smith. Pockrass was most recently NASCAR writer for The Sporting News, a continuation of his previous position as associate editor for NASCAR Scene and SceneDaily.com that began in 2003. During those years he was twice named Writer of the Year by the National Motorsports Press Association (2009, 2013) and received numerous writing awards…

…National sports columnist Jason Reid will team up with longtime morning drive personality Chris Paul to form a new morning drive program on ESPN 980 in Washington DC (WTEM 980AM; 92.7FM and 94.3FM), THE MAN CAVE WITH CHRIS PAUL AND JASON REID, which will debut on March 16, 2015. He will also join ESPN.com as NFL columnist. Most recently, Reid was a sports columnist for The Washington Post.  He first joined the newspaper as beat writer for the Redskins.  Prior to that, he worked for 15 years at The Los Angeles Times where he covered the Dodgers, Clippers and provided college basketball analysis. Chris Paul is a veteran of local broadcast radio, co-hosting the Donnie Simpson Show on WPGC-FM, Washington DC for 16 years and for the last six years on the syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show

…Comcast SportsNet Chicago has named pro basketball beat reporter Vincent Goodwill as its Bulls “Insider” effective immediately.  In this position, Goodwill will lead Comcast SportsNet’s coverage of the Bulls across the network’s growing list of multiplatforms, highlighted by CSNChicago.com’s ‘BullsTalk’ franchise, and will also serve as an on-air Bulls contributor on Bulls Pregame Live, SportsNet Central and SportsTalk Live. Goodwill comes to Comcast SportsNet after spending four-plus seasons as the Detroit Pistons beat reporter for The Detroit News (2010-15).