Perhaps surprisingly, the Chicago White Sox and NBC Sports Chicago haven’t yet announced the return of broadcasting duo Jason Benetti and Steve Stone for the 2023 MLB season.
Per Jeff Agrest of the Chicago Sun-Times, both Benetti and Stone are expected to return. However, Benetti’s deal will require carveouts for his national work with Fox, much like his previous deal did for his work with ESPN and Peacock.
A big part of negotiations is the number of games Benetti will miss for his other commitments. Last year, Benetti was the lead voice for Peacock’s package of early Sunday games. That came off his calendar when he joined Fox, for whom he has called college football and basketball. He’ll add major-league baseball this season.
His last contract with the Sox didn’t specify an exact number of games he could miss. The Sox allowed him to call national games when he also worked for ESPN, but there wasn’t a set amount, only what was deemed reasonable. It left the contract up for interpretation.
Benetti’s next contract figures to include an agreed-upon number of games he can miss, and the Sox and rights holder NBC Sports Chicago don’t want that number to change. It’s a common issue for local announcers who do national work, but Benetti and the Sox have been on the same page.
I’m curious to how many games Benetti will end up missing due to his Fox work. Last season in Milwaukee, Brian Anderson’s growing national profile at WBD Sports cut his Brewers schedule down to around 50 games. I don’t think Benetti’s work with Fox will cut down his White Sox schedule that much, but without full knowledge of what Fox’s MLB schedule will look like this season, it’s tough to determine how much time Benetti will be away from the White Sox.
UPDATE: The White Sox announced they had picked up a multi-year option on Benetti’s contract and also announced a new multi-year contract for Stone.
The #WhiteSox have picked up the multiyear option for Jason Benetti, who is entering his 8th season as a member of the Sox broadcast team. Sox also announced a multiyear extension with Steve Stone, who is entering his 16th season in the White Sox broadcast booth. pic.twitter.com/BYoNr6B7A2
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) January 26, 2023