Behind the Broadcast: Catalon was right on top of epic men’s semifinal

Andrew Catalon thought that calling the curling competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics would be the

Andrew Catalon thought that calling the curling competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics would be the highlight of his sports broadcasting career.

But then came last Friday’s epic Summer Olympics men’s tennis semifinal match between Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro.

Catalon, the weekend sports anchor NBC13 (WNYT) was on the call for the four-hour, 26-minute three-set marathon that ended with Federer winning, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 19-17, at Wimbledon. The match was carried entirely by Bravo, one of the NBCUniversal’s channels that was carrying the Summer Olympics. NBC Sports picked up the coverage during the third set.

This was the third Olympic Games Catalon has worked for NBC. He called fencing matches from the Beijing Games in 2008, but worked in the NBC studio in New York.

“The one in Vancouver was really special because it was the first one that I had been to, and I was really hoping that I would get a chance to do the curling,” Catalon said. “But [the London Games] was special because of the place that it was at. Calling matches from the center-court bunker, a place that I watched growing up that everyone else broadcast from. To be in that bunker, four feet from the grass at center court, was such a thrill.

“And to cap it all off, to do that Federer-del Potro match, was one of the highlights of my career. It was such an incredible match, and we had such a big audience. Calling that match was a huge, huge thrill.”

Catalon had a sense that he was watching history as the third set went on and on and on. And he wanted to be an observer, and not intrude on the match.

“The thing I was focusing on in the third set was let [the action] breathe,” Catalon said. “It was a great match. There was so much emotion with the crowd, I didn’t want to talk too much. I wanted to let the pictures do the work.

“But when Federer broke, 10-9, and he couldn’t serve it out for the match, I thought that this was going to be a while, and it’s going to be historic. As it went on, and I heard in my ear from the producer that NBC was coming to us, I knew it was turning into a huge deal.”

Catalon returned to the United States on Monday, but there is no rest for him. He is in Kiawah Island, S.C., working on DirecTV’s coverage of the par-3 holes at the PGA Championship.

He will return to WNYT on Tuesday. Catalon will be back on the tennis beat, this time for CBS Sports Network at the U.S. Open. He will call qualifying matches beginning Aug. 21, and then work on outer-court matches Labor Day weekend.

Women’s soccer rates

The United States women’s soccer team’s 2-1 victory over Japan in Thursday’s gold-medal game drew 4.35 million viewers and had a rating of 2.74, the most-watched and highest-rated event ever on NBC Sports Network, NBC announced Friday. It topped the 3.6 million who watched Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers on June 2, 2010.

NBC Sports’ prime-time coverage Thursday attracted an average of 22.9 million viewers. Even though that’s the lowest number of these Games, it’s the most-watched second Thursday for non-U.S. Summer Olympics since the 1992 Bar­celona Olympics (23.7 million).

It topped the comparable night from the 2008 Beijing Olympics (22.4 million) and the 2004 Athens Olympics (21.5 million).

The 14-day average prime-time viewership of 31.9 million viewers is 3.3 million more viewers than the first 14 nights from Beijing (28.6 million) and 6.2 million more than the first 14 nights from Athens (25.7 million).

Thursday’s rating/share was 13.6/23, just 1 percent off the comparable night from Beijing (13.8/23) and Athens (13.8/24).

The 14-night average household rating of 18.0/30 is 7 percent higher than the first 14 nights from Beijing (16.8/29), and 15 percent higher than the first 14 nights from Athens (15.6/27).

Tessitore to Saturdays

Schenectady native and CBA graduate Joe Tessitore will be calling a package of Saturday night college football games on ESPN this season, the cable network announced Monday.

Tessitore, who calls the boxing action on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights,” called Friday prime-time games the last few seasons. Tessitore is paired with analyst Matt Millen.

Here are the announcing teams, in order of play-by-by play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter, for ESPN and ABC:

Saturday Night Football (on ABC): Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/TBA.

ESPN College Football Prime Time (Saturday): Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge/Holly Rowe.

ESPN Saturday Prime Time: Joe Tes­sitore/Matt Millen/Jessica Mendoza, Shelley Smith or Shannon Spake.

ESPN2 College Football Prime time (Saturday): Mark Jones/Brock Huard/Jessica Mendoza or Shelley Smith.

ESPNU Saturday Prime Time: Clay Matvick/Matt Stinchcomb/Allison Williams.

ESPN College Football Primetime (Thursday): Rece Davis/Jesse Palmer and David Pollack/Samantha Steele.

ESPN and ESPN2 Friday: Carter Blackburn/Rod Gilmore/Jemele Hill.

ABC Saturday Afternoon: Sean McDonough/Chris Spielman/Quint Kessenich; Mike Patrick/Ed Cunningham/Jeannine Edwards; Bob Wischusen/Danny Kanell/

Maria Taylor.

ESPN College Football (Saturday

afternoon): Dave Pasch/Brian Griese/Jenn Brown.

ESPN2 College Football (Saturday afternoon): Beth Mowins/Joey Galloway.

ESPNU Saturday Afternoon: Tom Hart/John Congemi; Anish Shrof/Dan Hawkins.

ESPNU Thursday (Historically Black College and Universities) and ESPNU Late Saturday (HBCU): Joe Davis/Jay Walker.

ESPN Radio: Bill Rosinski/David Norrie/Joe Schad.

SEC Network (ESPN Regional Tel­evision syndicated games): Dave Neal/Andre Ware/Cara Capuano.

Big East Network (ESPN Regional Tel­evision syndicated games): Eamon McAnaney/David Diaz-Infante/Paul Car­caterra.

The FOX Sports Media Group announced its college football broadcast teams. Here are those pairings, in order of play-by-by play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter:

FOX Sports: Gus Johnson/Charles Davis/Julie Alexandria.

FOX Sports/FX: Craig Bolerjack/Joel Klatt/Petros Papadaikas.

FX: Justin Kutcher/Eric Crouch/Darius Walke.

FOX Sports Net: Joel Meyers/Brian Baldinger/Jim Knox; Mike Morgan/JC Pearson/Laura McKeeman; Ron Thulin/Shaun King/Desmond Pernell.

FOX College Sports: Adam Alexander/TBA/TBA.

Big Ten Network: Eric Collins/Derek Rackley; Kevin Kugl/Chris Martin; Matt Devlin/Glen Mason; Brian Anderson/Jon Jansen; Wayne Larrivee/J. Leman; Josh Lewin/Danan Hughes; Tom Werme/Kelly Stouffer; Matt Sheppard/Chuck Long; Chris Denari/Justin Conzemius.

Martz, Evans join FOX

Former NFL head coach and offensive coordinator Mike Martz and ex-NFL fullback Heath Evans have joined FOX Sports as game analysts for the network’s NFL coverage this season, FOX announced Monday.

Martz will team with Ron Pitts, while Evans joins Sam Rosen.

Erin Andrews, who joined FOX Sports July 1 and will host a college football studio show, will join the top team of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver as a sideline reporter on Thanksgiving Day and the NFC playoffs.

Here are FOX Sports’ broadcast teams:

Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver.

Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa.

Thom Brennaman/Brian Billick/Laura Okmin.

Dick Stockton/John Lynch/Jennifer Hale.

Chris Myers/Tim Ryan/Jaime Maggio.

Sam Rosen/Heath Evans.

Ron Pitts/Mike Martz.

Summer at Saratoga

NBCSN and NBCSN HD begin their “Summer at Saratoga” series this weekend.

It kicks off tonight at 6 with the Fourstardave Stakes. On Sunday at 6 p.m., it’s the Saratoga Special Stakes and the Adirondack Stakes.

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