Dave O'Brien (sportscaster)
Born in Quincy, Massachusetts, O'Brien grew up in New Hampshire before studying broadcasting at Syracuse University. From 1987 to 1992 he called play-by-play for Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves as well as college football and basketball games for Georgia and Miami, garnering the Georgia Associated Press' "Best Sports Play-by-Play" accolade in 1988 and 1991. O'Brien then broadcast for the Florida Marlins from the team's inaugural year in 1993 through 2001, including their first World Series win in 1997. He has also called occasional Atlanta Falcons games as well.
Other baseball commentatory
O'Brien provided commentary for MLB's international coverage of the World Series from 2004 until 2009. O'Brien was television voice of the New York Mets on WPIX-TV from 2003 through 2005. He won the Achievements in Radio (A.I.R.) award for Best Play-by-Play for his call of Mark McGwire's 59th home run in 1998.
In 2007, O'Brien joined the Boston Red Sox Radio Network, calling games alongside primary play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione. In 2011, O'Brien became the primary play-by-play announcer with Castiglione becoming the secondary announcer. He currently does play by play in innings 1, 2, 5, 8, and 9 and Castiglione does the rest.
O'Brien has called play-by-play for ESPN since 2002, handling MLB, the NBA, college basketball, and soccer (including Major League Soccer's MLS Primetime Thursday and United States men's national soccer team telecasts).
2006 FIFA World Cup
O'Brien joined Marcelo Balboa on the primary broadcast team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup coverage on ESPN and ABC Sports, despite having no experience calling soccer matches prior to that year. Because The Walt Disney Company, owner of both television outlets, retained control over on-air talent, the appointment of O'Brien as the main play-by-play voice was made over the objections of Soccer United Marketing, who wanted JP Dellacamera to continue in that role. Disney stated that their broadcast strategy was intended, in voice and style, to target the vast majority of Americans who do not follow the sport on a regular basis. Mispronunciation and incorrect addressing of names, misuse of soccer terminology, and lack of insight into tactics and history plagued the telecasts, resulting in heavy criticism from English-speaking soccer fans, many of whom ended up watching the games on Univision instead.
Notable games broadcast by O'Brien
In 2007, O'Brien called play-by-play for an ESPN broadcast of a game between the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres, in which Barry Bonds tied the major league all-time home run record with his 755th home run. More notably, he called the August 7, 2007, game between the Giants and the Washington Nationals in which Bonds hit his 756th home run, breaking* the record that was held by Hank Aaron for more than 33 years.
O'Brien is also well known for calling the thrilling triple-overtime college basketball epic between Oklahoma State and Texas on January 16, 2007. He called the game on ESPN2 alongside Rick Majerus. Oklahoma State prevailed and won that game 105-103.
Dave O'Brien has been married to his high school sweetheart, Debbie Nason O'Brien for over 25 years. The couple have a son, Micheal, and two daughters, Samantha and Katie. They live in Rye, New Hampshire.
- ESPN MediaZone - A Resource for Media Professionals
- Daily Herald
- Fatsis, Stefan. "Fans Say ESPN's World Cup Coverage Deserves Penalty," The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, July 5, 2006.
- Sports Media Watch presents the ten worst personnel moves of the 2000s. #5: Dave O'Brien calls the World Cup (2006, ESPN)