Jason Benetti
Born (1983-09-09) September 9, 1983 (age 39)[1]
Alma materSyracuse University
Wake Forest University
Sports commentary career
Team(s)Chicago White Sox (2016–present)
Genre(s)Play-by-play
SportsMajor League Baseball
EmployerESPN (2011–2022)
NBC Sports Chicago (2016–present)
NBC Sports (2021–2022)[a]
Fox Sports (2022–present)

Jason Benetti (born September 9, 1983) is an American sportscaster.[2] Since 2016, he has been the primary television play-by-play announcer of Chicago White Sox baseball. He is also the alternate play-by-play announcer of Chicago Bulls basketball for NBC Sports Chicago.[3] He was also the main announcer for ESPN's alternate "StatCast" telecasts, and additionally has worked for NBC Sports, Westwood One, and Time Warner covering football, baseball, lacrosse, hockey, and basketball.

Early life and education

Benetti was born 10 weeks prematurely and hospitalized for three months. During the three months in the hospital, Benetti had a respiratory illness while in intensive care that deprived his blood of oxygen. It is believed that caused his cerebral palsy, which was diagnosed when Benetti was a toddler. He underwent years of physical therapy and two surgeries to improve his ability to walk.[4][5]

Benetti grew up a few miles south of Chicago in Homewood, Illinois,[6] and graduated from the Homewood-Flossmoor High School in 2001. He ran school's NCAA tournament pool and joined the school's radio station, WHFH (88.5) as a regular disc jockey and play-by-play announcer for Vikings sports coverage.[7] Benetti's cerebral palsy prevented him from playing tuba during marching band season. Not wanting to exclude him, the band director asked him to serve as the halftime broadcaster for their marching events.[8]

Benetti attended S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and graduated in 2005 with bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism, economics and psychology.[9][10] At Syracuse, he worked at WAER-FM where he called Syracuse Orange lacrosse and women's basketball.[11]

After graduating, Benetti enrolled at Wake Forest University School of Law where he earned a Juris Doctor degree in 2011.[10]

Career

During law school, Benetti acted as the voice of High Point Panthers basketball games, Syracuse Chiefs baseball games,[9] and high school sports for Time Warner Cable Sports Channel.[4][12] He also in worked roles with Fox Sports 1, Westwood One, Big East Conference,IMG College, Salem Avalanche, and DePaul University.[10]

ESPN (2011–2022)

Benetti served as an intern for Chicago sports radio station WSCR. In 2011 Benetti joined ESPN,[8] where his broadcasting career would move him into television, despite his childhood preference for radio-only broadcasting.[4] Benetti would call select college basketball games for the ESPN3 online service, and then move on to ESPN2 and ESPNU. In 2013 Benetti called his first football game for ESPN's syndicated American Athletic Conference package.

In 2020, Benetti signed a multi-year extension with ESPN, and during that year called KBO League games remotely for the network due to the COVID-19-induced delay of the 2020 Major League Baseball season.[13]

Chicago White Sox (2016–present)

Beginning with the 2016 season, Benetti replaced Ken Harrelson as the television play-by-play announcer for select Chicago White Sox home and road games, where he would be paired with Steve Stone.[6][5] In May 2017, the White Sox announced Benetti would take over full-time play-by-play duties in 2019 upon Harrelson's retirement.

NBC (2021–2022)

In 2021, Benetti was named as play-by-play announcer for NBC's coverage of baseball at the 2020 Summer Olympics.[14][15]

On April 26, 2022, it was reported that Benetti would serve as the lead play-by-play announcer for the new NBC Sports-produced MLB Sunday Leadoff games for Peacock, joined by rotating analysts representing the teams in each game.[16]

FOX (2022-present)

In August 2022, Benetti moved to Fox Sports and will do play by play for Fox's coverage of college football and basketball, as well as Major League Baseball.[17][18] Even after the move, he continued calling games for NBC Sports Chicago.[19]

Personal life

Benetti works with the CHAT ("Communication Hope through Assistive Technology") Camp at Syracuse University's Burton Blatt Institute.[10][20] At Syracuse’s Newhouse School, he taught sports broadcasting as an adjunct professor.[10]

Benetti is part of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation's 'Just Say Hi' campaign.[6]

References

  1. ^ Benetti was hired to cover the 2020 Summer Olympics for baseball, and he was later hired to cover Major League Baseball games for their streaming service Peacock under the name MLB Sunday Leadoff
  1. ^ Skrbina, Paul. "'The fit is great'". digitaledition.chicagotribune.com. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  2. ^ Masur, Andy (19 May 2022). "Anatomy Of A Broadcaster: Jason Benetti". Barrett Sports Media. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  3. ^ "Jason Benetti Profile". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07.
  4. ^ a b c "Jason Benetti Is Voice of Hope in Face of Cerebral Palsy". AOL News. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b "New 32-year-old White Sox broadcaster manages cerebral palsy". USA TODAY. AP. April 8, 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Van Schouwen, Daryl (24 June 2016). "White Sox adding Jason Benetti to play-by-play team". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  7. ^ Maese, Rick (July 5, 2013). "Jason Benetti, Syracuse Chiefs announcer, refuses to let cerebral palsy affect his game". Washington Post.
  8. ^ a b "Disability is no impediment for ESPN play-by-play man Benetti". ESPN. January 22, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Blum, Sam (22 April 2014). "His calling: Jason Benetti uses disability as motivation to achieve career success in announcing". The Daily Orange. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e "For the People Speaker Series: Jason Benetti". Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. October 18, 2022. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  11. ^ Muoio, William (18 February 2016). "Newhouse Alumnus Tapped to Call Hometown Team, Chicago White Sox, for ESPN". Syracuse University News. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  12. ^ Leo, Tom (27 October 2010). "The Voice of Hustle: Jason Benetti stacks up the sports assignments and attends law school despite a mild case of cerebral palsy". The Post Standard. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  13. ^ Ufnowski, Amy (October 1, 2020). "Play-by-play voice Jason Benetti has signed a multi-year extension; he reflects on his career and his colleagues cheer the news". ESPN.
  14. ^ Rosenthal, Phil (June 3, 2021). "Jason Benetti is set to call Olympic baseball for NBC this summer, the latest broadcasting gig for the Chicago White Sox announcer". Chicago Tribune.
  15. ^ Enslin, Rob (July 20, 2021). "Orange Voices of the Summer Olympics". Syracuse University. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  16. ^ Rigdon, Jay (April 26, 2022). "Jason Benetti will lead Peacock's Sunday MLB broadcasts with a rotating booth of analysts". Awful Announcing.
  17. ^ "Jason Benetti on why he's leaving ESPN and his 'amazing' move to the Fox booth". The Athletic. Retrieved 2022-08-06.
  18. ^ Casselberry, Ian (30 August 2022). "Jason Benetti Moving to Fox For College Football is His Gain and ESPN's Loss". Barrett Media. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  19. ^ Agrest, Jeff (4 August 2022). "Jason Benetti's move to Fox indicative of ESPN's problem in booth". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  20. ^ Benetti, Jason. "Sports announcer: 'The way I look is a small part of who I am'". CNN.
Preceded byBob Costas (in 2000) Lead play-by-play announcer,Major League Baseball on NBC 2022 Succeeded byIncumbent