… on ESPN International. Had you going for a bit there, didn't I?
After there were reports Dick Vitale may call games in an arrangement between CBS and ESPN, the noted college basketball enthusiast will call his first Final Four for an international audience. Details from Bristol…
"For the first time in his career, legendary ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale will call NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament Final Four games this year. Vitale will serve as the analyst on Final Four telecasts from Atlanta, calling a semifinal and the championship for ESPN International. Longtime ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will work the semifinal telecast not called by Vitale. Brad Nessler will call play-by-play on all three Final Four games.
The telecasts will reach sports fans in 150 countries and territories across 35 television and broadcast networks outside the United States. ESPN International will distribute the games in Latin America (Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America), Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, Japan, and Canada."
I apologize for not knowing the international rights history of the NCAA Tournament, but if ESPN has televised the Final Four overseas for some time, it's curious that Vitale would only now be announcing the event for the first time. Here's the quote from Vitale:
“I am thrilled for this awesome opportunity to sit courtside for the NCAA Championship game,” said Vitale. “I learned from the great Jim Simpson years ago that the championship game is the most important moment in the athletic career to many of the kids who are playing in it. I will deliver the same enthusiasm, energy, excitement and respect as I do with every game I work. I can’t believe it. All my buddies in Italy are going to be able to hear me. I just hope they can understand what I’m saying. It’s going to be Awesome Baby, with a Capital A!”
ESPN will now bring Dick Vitale to all corners of the globe – from Auckland to Accra and Zaragoza to Zurich. And hey, if Italy can handle the Jersey Shore people actually inhabiting their country for a brief time, I'm sure they can handle Dick Vitale. At least I'd hope…