People & Personalities: Bill Walton To Call Pac-12 Basketball Games For ESPN, Pac-12 Net
USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports ESPN today will formally announce that Basketball HOFer Bill Walton is rejoining the net to call "Pac-12 basketball games as ESPN expands its coverage of the league through a new deal." Walton also "will join the conference's soon-to-launch regional network and will do occasional Sacramento Kings local game broadcasts." Asked how often he will work games, Walton "sounds as if he's not sure or doesn't care or both," and he "isn't worried about whom he'll work with on-air." Walton left his job as lead NBA analyst in '07 after he "collapsed in an airport" (USA TODAY, 7/16).
NEW HIRES AT GOLF CHANNEL: Golf Channel has hired former SI writer Damon Hack and Ryan Burr, a studio host from ESPN. Hack will work across many of Golf Channel’s platforms, including TV shows “Morning Drive,” “Grey Goose 19th Hole,” and “Golf Central” where he will serve as an insider. Appearances on NBC Sports Network are part of his deal as well. Burr spent seven years at ESPN and will be a host for “Golf Central” and other shows from the network’s Orlando HQs. These hires come on the heels of six consecutive quarters of record growth since becoming part of the NBC Sports Group (Golf Channel).
A WELCOMED VOICE: In Buffalo, Greg Connors noted the BBC's Peter Alliss during ESPN's coverage of the British Open will again make “daily appearances with ESPN's team in the broadcast booth.” ESPN’s Mike Tirico, who will anchor the daily coverage, said, "Peter can say more with less, and sometimes he will go on and on about people eating ice cream, people passed out because they were drinking too much on a hill, dogs running on the beach, and those are things that only Peter could do, and he does them with aplomb, with great use of the language.” He added, "But what always gets lost is Peter's great depth of knowledge of the game and where it's come from.” Tirico: “For us to have Peter still as a part of our group when he comes over from the BBC is one of the things I look forward to every summer" (BUFFALO NEWS, 7/15).