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Monumental to debut ‘Manningcast’-style Capitals and Wizards broadcasts

Monumental to debut ‘Manningcast’-style Capitals and Wizards broadcasts

Tooba Shakir 54 years ago 0 0

Five years after he was replaced as the TV voice of the Wizards, beloved play-by-play man Steve Buckhantz is returning to Monumental Sports Network to offer commentary as a guest on the network’s new alternate game broadcasts.

Monumental Sports Network will feature three alternate Wizards broadcasts and five alternate Capitals broadcasts over the remainder of the teams’ regular seasons, starting with the Capitals’ home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. The broadcasts, available on linear TV and the network’s streaming platform as a complement to the regular game broadcast, will be modeled after ESPN’s popular “Manningcast,” with a rotating list of guests providing analysis and commentary for select games from the network’s recently opened studios adjacent to Capital One Arena.

In addition to Buckhantz, the Wizards’ alternate broadcasts on April 9, 12 and 14 will feature appearances by former Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez and former Wizards center Jason Smith. JP Finlay of 106.7 the Fan and Monumental Sports Network’s Beltway Football podcast will serve as the primary host. The Capitals’ alternate broadcasts on Thursday, April 11, 13, 15 and 16 will be hosted by 106.7 the Fan’s Grant Paulsen and feature former Capitals forward and 2018 Stanley Cup champion Devante Smith-Pelly, former Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau and longtime Capitals reporter Tarik El-Bashir. The network has not announced which guests will appear for which games.

Smith has served as a Wizards TV analyst since 2019, when Monumental Sports Network was known as NBC Sports Washington. Vasquez, who starred at Maryland from 2006 to 2010, made his analyst debut on Wizards pregame and postgame shows last month.

Buckhantz was the Wizards’ play-by-play voice for 22 seasons before NBC Sports Washington decided not to exercise the option on his contract and replaced him with Justin Kutcher in 2019. Monumental owned a 33 percent stake in the network at the time and Buckhantz suggested the move, which was unpopular with fans, was endorsed by the team. Shortly after Monumental acquired full ownership of NBCSW in 2022, Buckhantz and his longtime broadcast partner, Phil Chenier, were recognized at Capital One Arena when the Wizards held a “Big Three” reunion for Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, and the duo subsequently made an appearance on “Wizards Pregame Live.”

“I wasn’t the person who made the decision for Steve to leave, but when we acquired the network, I quickly reached out to him to rectify and talk to him about where we were and what we wanted to do with the future,” Zach Leonsis, president of media and new enterprises at Monumental Sports and Entertainment, said in a video interview. “ … I’m really proud to bring Steve back to our air. I think our fans are going to really enjoy it.”

The Capitals’ alternate broadcasts will feature familiar faces in Boudreau, who has served as a guest analyst on the network since 2021, El-Bashir, who left the Athletic to become Monumental’s Capitals insider in September, and Smith-Pelly, who launched his broadcast career by joining John Walton in the radio booth during the Capitals’ West Coast swing in December.

Most guests of the alternate broadcasts will appear in studio, with a couch-laden set that adds to the more casual feel of the program compared to a traditional game broadcast. Guests will watch the game broadcast along with viewers at home and offer commentary throughout. Leonsis said the alternate broadcasts this month are a precursor to what fans can expect next season, which could include enhanced data visualizations, gambling integration and even different language options, plus an expanded guest list.

“We imagine having a big rotating list of local celebs, social influencers and notable sports personalities that come through and make the show interesting and fun to watch,” he said. “These alt feeds are supposed to be fun.”

For linear TV subscribers, Capitals and Wizards alternate broadcasts will be available on Monumental Sports Network’s overflow station (MNMT2), as well as on monumentalsportsnetwork.com and the Monumental streaming app on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV with a TV Everywhere log-in. Replays of the alternate broadcast will be available on the site 48 hours after each game.

The alternate broadcasts will also be available to Monumental’s direct-to-consumer streaming service subscribers. Monumental will offer a free preview of its streaming service from Tuesday to Thursday, and a discounted annual membership rate of $155 through April 30.



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