Crew announces English radio broadcast talent team and the return of Inside the Crew
COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew today announced its 2014 Major League Soccer English radio broadcast team and the return of its weekly studio show, Inside the Crew. As announced in December of 2013, 95.5 The Game is the club’s English-language radio partner in 2014, with the network carrying the club’s complete MLS regular-season schedule. Neil Sika resumes his longtime play-by-play role alongside analyst and Ohio State Men’s Soccer Head Coach John Bluem. All Crew broadcasts on 95.5 The Game are accompanied by a half-hour pre-match show and a half-hour post-match breakdown.
The Crew’s weekly 60-minute feature show, Inside the Crew, returns in 2014 with a new timeslot, talent team and location on the radio dial. On Thursday nights at 7:00 p.m. ET on 95.5 The Game, Neil Sika and longtime TV analyst Dwight Burgess are set to provide reaction and analysis surrounding the club, complete with interviews from current Crew personnel and opposing players and coaches.
“We are pleased to welcome Neil and John back to the fold for our English-language radio broadcasts, and to have Dwight join Neil on Inside the Crew,” said Mike Malo, the Crew’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’re excited about 95.5 The Game being the dedicated home of all our English-language radio assets, including our signature weekly studio show, with Inside the Crew now airing during a more favorable weekday drive-time slot.”
The first airing of Inside the Crew is taking place tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET, with Crew President Mark McCullers and Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter joining the opening show of 2014. D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius rounds-out tonight’s guest list to provide opposition perspective ahead of the Black & Gold’s season-opener at RFK Stadium on Saturday, March 8.
2014 marks Neil Sika's eighth season as the Crew's radio play-by-play announcer. He began calling games for the Black & Gold as a fill-in in 2004. Additionally, Sika provides coverage on The Ohio State IMG Sports Network. He was the voice of Ohio State hockey (2003-08) and baseball (2004-05). He is also the host and lead announcer for the FBU National Championship, the premier youth football event in the nation. His national credits include work for the Big Ten Network, ESPN3, Time Warner Cable Sports and Sirius/XM's coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Bluem is also in his eighth season as the Crew’s analyst on the Black & Gold’s English radio broadcasts after joining the talent team in 2007. Serving as the Head Coach of Ohio State’s Men’s Soccer program, Bluem has led the Buckeyes to outright Big Ten championships in 2000, 2007, 2009 and won a share of the league regular-season title in 2004, while taking the tournament crown in 2007 and 2009. In six of the last eight years, the Buckeyes have finished either first or second in the league's regular-season race in a conference that is annually in the Top 3 of the RPI league index. For this, he has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times (1999, 2004 and 2009), the most of any active conference coach, bringing his career total conference coach of the year honors to six.
A broadcast veteran of more than three decades, Burgess has been the play-by-play television voice of the Columbus Crew for the club’s entire history. He has also called the action for a variety of national and international soccer events, including XM Satellite Radio’s 2006 FIFA World Cup coverage. He also spent two years as the radio play-by-play announcer for Ohio State men’s basketball and hockey.
2014 is the Crew’s 16th season at first-of-its-kind Crew Stadium, the first topflight soccer-specific facility built in the United States. Following this weekend’s season-opener at D.C. United and a second week bye, the home schedule opens with a visit from the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, March 22. The Black & Gold enter the upcoming season unbeaten in their last nine Opening Matches (5-0-4) at Crew Stadium dating back to 2005. The club’s home – and regular-season – schedule also wraps-up against the Union on Sunday, October 26, completing its 17th home tilt after 17 road challenges.
Before the Crew begins the 2014 season on Saturday at D.C. United, the team continues its final preparations for the upcoming campaign. For more information on catching the Black & Gold in 2014 – visit http://TheCrew.com/tickets. Single-match tickets for all Crew regular-season home games in 2014 are now on sale.