NBC Sports Officially Hires John Strong As Lead MLS Broadcaster; White Off To EPL
NBC Sports has officially hired MLS Timbers and Fox Soccer play-by-play announcer John Strong to "succeed Arlo White as its lead voice" for MLS broadcasts, according to Jonathan Tannenwald of PHILLY.com. White will become the net's lead play-by-play voice for EPL coverage beginning in August. White and Strong worked together last night in Portland on NBC Sports Network's broadcast of Rapids-Timbers, with Strong "serving as desk host and White as play-by-play voice." White's final MLS game before returning to England will "be this coming Saturday at PPL Park when the Union host FC Dallas." Strong will "team up that night with Robbie Earle, his partner on Timbers local TV broadcasts since the team joined MLS in 2011." Earle has been "hired by NBC to serve as a studio analyst" on its EPL broadcasts. Strong's contract with NBC "runs through next season, which is the remainder of the network's deal with MLS." Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson yesterday via Twitter announced that "veteran American soccer voices Christian Miles and Jimmy Conrad will replace Strong and Earle as the Timbers' local broadcast crew" (PHILLY.com, 6/23). SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted Strong beginning next month will "call NBC's national MLS game through the rest of the season." His first game as NBC's official lead MLS broadcaster will be July 6 for Whitecaps-Sounders. Strong "called six MLS games for NBC Sports last year, mostly when White was at the London Olympics." NBC EPL studio analyst Robbie Mustoe will join Earle in contributing to MLS coverage "as game analysts beginning in July." Meanwhile, NBC MLS analyst Kyle Martino has been "assigned to the Premier League studio coverage working alongside studio host Rebecca Lowe" (SI.com, 6/23).
MOMENT OF PRIDE: In Portland, John Canzano, who was the best man in Strong's wedding, wrote to Timbers fans, "You've been here for the guy. You get to claim him. For maybe a little while longer, you know Strong better than people in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. And so when you tune in and see him making the national call, maybe you'll do it with a little extra pride. I know I will" (Portland OREGONIAN, 6/23).