Mark Followill is used to calling play-by-play for the Dallas Mavericks and FC Dallas, but his career is about to go international, again.
“It’s a broadcaster’s dream to do the Olympics. I was so fortunate in 2016 when I did it in Rio [Olympics]. We were in Stamford, Connecticut, calling the games remotely. I found out then about a month or two before that I was going to be calling the soccer games there and it was just so amazing,” Followill said.
He said calling any game from a distance adds another level of a challenge, but that’s not just a pandemic precaution, that type of thing happens often. He also mentioned he’s really excited he doesn’t have to take a 13-hour plane ride to Tokyo to be part of Olympic history.
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“Yeah, I wouldn’t really enjoy a trip that long,” he joked. “But I have been doing a lot of soccer for the last 10 years. My time with FC Dallas has helped in terms of someone establishing themselves in the American soccer broadcasting scene. And then I was getting other international opportunities. I was still surprised though when they called and said they wanted me. It just came in January. I didn’t know how or what to expect after they were postponed and not knowing what the coverage would be like and how they would be limited. So yeah, I was surprised to get that call.”
Followill will call men’s and women’s soccer games thousands of miles away from the actual venues.
“We will call games off the monitor and that’s what we did in 2016. That’s how a lot of sports have been done in the past in the Olympics. A great percentage because of health and safety now and the limit on the number of people who can travel to Tokyo, so that has helped, because we have had practice with this, but every game takes me several hours to prepare.” Followill said.
He said while he is excited to call the games and see the action, it’s about the people behind the action that makes him the proudest to cover an Olympics again.
We’re not just covering sports. We’re covering people playing sports. Everybody has a story, and this is an opportunity to tell people’s stories. It’s a really unique and fun part of it,” Followill said.