FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 3rd, 2021
NBC OLYMPICS WELCOMES NEW PLAY-BY-PLAY VOICES FOR TOKYO OLYMPICS
Kate Scott to Call Basketball; GOLF Channel’s Rich Lerner & Shane Bacon to Handle Golf; Lisa Byington, Jenn Hildreth & Derek Rae to Call Soccer
Jason Benetti (Baseball), Noah Eagle (3-on-3 Basketball), and Beth Mowins (Softball) to Make NBC Olympics Debuts Calling Events New to Summer Games or Returning After Absence
Play-by-Play Assignments Include: Jack Benjamin (Multiple Sports), Krista Blunk (Multiple Sports), Brendan Burke (Rowing & Canoe Sprint), Rupert Cox (Rugby), Courtney Lyle (Field Hockey), Chris Lewis (Table Tennis), Patrick Kinas (Swimming), & Matt Winer (Handball)
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 3, 2021 – NBC Olympics today introduced a group of announcers who will make their NBC Olympics play-by-play debuts during this summer’s Tokyo Olympics on events ranging from men’s and women’s basketball to the returning baseball and softball competitions to the new 3-on-3 basketball.
“We are excited to welcome to our coverage a talented group of play-by-play voices with a wide-range of experience,” said Rebecca Chatman, Vice President and Coordinating Producer of NBC Olympics production.
Following is a look at NBC Olympics’ new play-by-play voices for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics:
Shane Bacon will provide golf play-by-play commentary and will also host golf studio coverage. Bacon, who joined GOLF Channel and NBC earlier this year, currently serves as host of Golf Today on GOLF Channel. He previously contributed play-by-play at both the U.S. Open (FOX) and for featured groups at The Masters.
Jason Benetti will call baseball, which returns to the Summer Games for the first time since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Benetti is the voice of the Chicago White Sox for NBC Sports Chicago and is a play-by-play announcer for a wide range of ESPN events.
Jack Benjamin will handle play-by-play for several events. Benjamin, who has provided play-by-play for Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, is the voice of Nicholls State on ESPN Radio-New Orleans and calls various sports on Cox Sports Television and ESPN platforms.
Krista Blunk will provide play-by-play for several sports. Blunk, who handled play-by-play for NBC Sports California’s all-female Sacramento Kings broadcast team during a Women’s History Month game in March, has served as a commentator for various networks, including Pac-12 Networks, Westwood One and ESPN. She also spent 13 seasons as an analyst for the Sacramento Monarchs and two years as pregame, halftime and postgame host for the Kings.
Brendan Burke will handle play-by-play for rowing and canoe sprint. Burke currently serves as a play-by-play commentator for NBC Sports’ NHL coverage, and is the play-by-play voice for New York Islanders telecasts on MSG+. He is also the play-by-play voice for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Premier Lacrosse League, which begins the 2021 season this weekend on NBCSN and Peacock.
Lisa Byington, who will call soccer, serves as a play-by-play announcer and reporter for the Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, CBS and Turner Sports. This past March, she became the first female play-by-play announcer to call the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. She has also handled play-by-play for NBA games. In August 2018, Byington was part of the first all-female broadcast team to call an MLS match. A soccer and basketball player at Northwestern University, she also called 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup games for Fox Sports.
Rupert Cox will handle play-by-play for rugby from Sky Sports studios in the U.K. Cox has covered the sport as a commentator and presenter for multiple media outlets, including Sky Sports and NBC Sports, for more than 15 years. He handled play-by-play for NBC Sports’ presentation of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Noah Eagle will call the action in the 3-on-3 basketball competition, which makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo. Eagle is the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers, is a contributor for SiriusXM NBA Radio and Tennis Channel, and calls college basketball for Fox Sports. In January 2021, Eagle called an NFL Wild Card game for Nickelodeon.
Jenn Hildreth, who will handle soccer, is a play-by-play announcer at ESPN for various sports, including college soccer, and has called the last five NCAA Women’s College Cup championships. She is also a play-by-play announcer for the NWSL on CBS Sports after serving in the same capacity previously for ESPN, Lifetime and FS1. Hildreth, who played college soccer at Emory, also called 2019 and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup matches for FOX Sports.
Patrick Kinas will call select swimming competition. Currently the radio/TV voice of the Durham Bulls, Kinas previously served as Westwood One’s play-by-play announcer for figure skating and short track at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, and swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He also has handled play-by-play for various sports for Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA since December 2018.
Rich Lerner makes his NBC Olympics play-by-play debut for both men’s and women’s golf from on-site in Tokyo. Lerner has been a studio host and play-by-play commentator for GOLF Channel for nearly 25 years, leading GOLF Channel’s Golf Central Live From studio coverage from golf’s biggest events. He will be the lead play-by-play voice for GOLF Channel and NBC’s coverage of the U.S. Women’s Open this weekend.
Chris Lewis will call table tennis. The radio of voice of Boise State, Lewis also serves as a play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports Network and handles select events for Mountain West Network.
Courtney Lyle will handle play-by-play for the field hockey competition. Lyle calls a variety of sports for ESPN and the SEC Network, and previously served as a sports anchor and reporter for TV stations in Knoxville, Tenn. and Macon, Ga.
Beth Mowins will serve as the play-by-play voice for softball, which returns to the Olympics for the first time since Beijing 2008. Mowins handles play-by-play for many of ESPN’s highest-profile sports, and in 2017 became the first women in 30 years (since NBC’s Gayle Sierens) to call an NFL game on television. She also serves as ESPN’s lead voice for softball, and today begins her 27th year in the booth at the Women’s College World Series.
Derek Rae will handle soccer play-by-play. He currently serves as ESPN’s lead play-by-play announcer for Bundesliga coverage and has called multiple FIFA World Cups (men’s and women’s) and UEFA Champions League competitions. Previously, Rae called matches and hosted studio coverage of the Premier League for NBC Sports and in the U.K.
Kate Scott will call basketball. The host of the morning show on 95.7 FM “The Game” in San Francisco and a play-by-play voice for Pac-12 Networks, Scott was the first woman to call an NFL game on the radio, the first to call football for the Pac-12 Networks, the first to call a Golden State Warriors game, and in March 2020 on NBCSN served as the play-by-play announcer for the first all-female NHL broadcast in the United States.
Matt Winer will call handball. A veteran broadcaster for Turner Sports, primarily on NBA TV, Winer has led coverage of the NBA’s signature events, reported long-form stories, called NBA and USA Basketball games, and filled in as host of TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” In addition, he has served as an MLB studio host and reporter for TBS, and anchored March Madness coverage for Turner Sports and CBS. Previously, Winer spent nine years at ESPN.
For a complete archive of all Tokyo Olympics press releases, click here.
ABOUT NBC OLYMPICS
A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. NBC Olympics is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights on all platforms to all Olympic Games through 2032. NBC Olympics also produces thousands of hours of Olympic sports programming throughout the year, which is presented on NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms.