One unfortunate side effect of the Philadelphia Phillies’ new broadcast deal with NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet: broadcasters Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews will be replaced.
The longest-tenured member of the Phillies broadcast team, Wheeler has done play-by-play and color analysis for the team. He began in the Phillies’ PR department and later joined the legendary Harry Kalas on the broadcast team. Matthews played 16 seasons in the majors, including three with the Phillies (1981-83), and served as a coach for several teams before working on the broadcast side. The Phillies, in a statement, said both would remain with the organization:
“As the longest-tenured member of the Phillies broadcasting team, Chris Wheeler will return to his club roots after stepping down from his role as a Phillies broadcaster. With 37 years of broadcasting experience, combined with his front office background where he began his Phillies career, ‘Wheels’ will take on a new role allowing the organization to continue to benefit from his knowledge, experience and dedication to the game. Additionally, Gary Matthews will continue to work with the Phillies bringing his exceptional background as a major league ballplayer, broadcaster and commentator to new roles at the Phillies.”
The reason for the change, according to AP: the new broadcast deal gives NBCUniversal and Comcast the power to choose the broadcast team, and that option was exercised:
The team recently signed a new television contract with NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet that’s reportedly worth $2.5 billion over 25 years. The decision to replace Wheeler and Matthews came from the network, multiple sources told The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because it hadn’t commented on the matter.
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