Fox Sports North and the Wild made it official Tuesday morning: FSNorth veteran Anthony LaPanta is the new television play-by-play voice of the Wild. He replaces Dan Terhaar, whose contract wasn't renewed last month after seven seasons at the mike.
LaPanta, the Gophers' play-by-play voice since 2010 and the Wild, Wolves and Twins studio host since 2004, will join analyst Mike Greenlay as the Wild's television team.
The hire comes after three days worth of almost universally negative feedback from fans over LaPanta's expected hiring on blogs and message boards.
The Wild has the right to hire its own broadcasters in consultation with FSNorth. It was clear from the early going that FSNorth had a big influence over the decision. That's what happens when you pay big bucks for the local TV rights of a sports team, I guess.
The way it works with these deals in most cases is the teams pay the broadcasters, but FSN reimburses the team up to usually $250,000 to pay salaries. Any overages is paid by the team. So when fans complain to me about homerism, that's why I always write: "What do you expect? They're paid by the team."
I've gotten so many e-mails and tweets and I've read comments in the last couple days from Gophers fans and other WCHA fans that LaPanta is the ultimate homer. Again, I don't watch often because I'm working and I can't claim to know LaPanta well. But again, I say, what do you expect? FSNorth is a rightsholder, a partner. Don't want homerism, read a newspaper.
Turn on any local broadcast in any sports league, and for the most part, other than New York and Chicago and a few other markets, you're going to see the exact same thing, if not worse.
Ive gotten a lot of e-mails asking for other names that were interested in the job. I've got to keep most secret because the conversations I had with them were in confidence and some are under contract with other entities.
Former Columbus play-by-play man Dan Kelly, I'm told, was a candidate. Former Thrashers studio host and radio play-by-play man Dan Kamal was interested. The most intriguing name that may have been available is longtime Carolina play-by-play man John Forslund. I'm not sure he's looking to uproot his life because he's a staple in Raleigh and I've got to think will re-sign, but his contract is up June 30 and he's basically become the No. 3 or 4 man on NBC Sports Network. Like I said, not sure he was even interested and of course it would have taken a sweet, long-term deal to get him here IF it didn't work out in Raleigh.
One talented guy that was available is admittedly a good friend of mine - former Marlins announcer Roxy Bernstein. He's the Cal basketball announcer, fills in on Sharks games and hosts a radio show in San Francisco. So talented, great voice.
I believe about 20 or so folks, with varying degrees of experience, officially applied for the position..
Here's the press release. Youngblood will have a story for the paper tomorrow.