Portland, ME – The Portland Pirates will have a new play-by-play voice in the fall.
The Pirates announced on Friday that Brent Marcotte will become the team’s new Director of Media and Team Services replacing those duties held by Mark Jeanneret.
Jeanneret was also the team’s play-by-play broadcaster, however, Managing owner and CEO Brian Petrovek said the team has decided to make a strategic shift in the organization splitting the duties once held by Jeanerette.
“This is a change in direction strategically for us,” he said. “We’re going to separate the role of radio broadcasting and the day-to-day public relations and team servicing. It became really apparent to me that trying to stuff all that work into the job of one individual was not productive for the club or the individual involved.”
Jeanneret was hired by the Pirates, replacing Greg Glynn, prior to the 2008 season. Before joining the Pirates, Jeanerette spent 12 years with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League. Last year, he filled in for his father and long-time Sabres broadcaster, Rick Jeanerette, for a pair a games in Western Canada.
“I told Mark from the get-go if he wanted to create his own broadcasting company I was open to working with him on that, but at the same time I think he wants to figure out if wants to go into a different direction and look at things outside of broadcasting,” said Petrovek.
“We’re certainly staying in touch about the future.”
Marcotte, who spent last season as an intern under Jeanneret, will deal with the day-to-day media responsibilities of the franchise and handle the day-to-day needs of the coaching staff and players.
“We’re thrilled to engage Brent’s passion, energy and knowledge with our business moving forward,” said Petrovek said the team’s release. “Brent provided us with consistent and high quality day-to-day communications and team services support during the entire 2010-11 season and proved to me his readiness to lead the department heading into this season.”
The future of what happens with the play-by-play role is much less clear.
Petrovek said his plans, which have been in the works for the last four or five months, included outsourcing the radio broadcast to essentially the highest bidder.
“The plan is to go back into market place for all potential radio broadcast companies to (outsource) the broadcast to any interested party interested in negotiating with us to obtain rights,” Petrovek said.
“They’ll take on the responsibility of the play-by-play and that allows us to focus more internally on the day-to-day servicing of our media and public relations effort that I don’t think we’ve been aggressive enough with, and to make sure that the person has the time to service the team with me and all the day-to-day logistics.”
For the last several years the Pirates have purchased airtime on a local station and then sold advertisement for those broadcast, keeping the revenue, however, it’s been a money losing venture, which is why Petrovek is looking to adjust his strategy.
“We want to get a sense of what the broadcasting world is telling us in terms of demand for play-by-play over a two and half hour broadcast,” Petrovek said. “If there is a station that sees it has a financial opportunity for them we’ll continue to broadcast on the radio. If demand is not there then we’ll come up with a different approach to get content to our fans through different goals and different media.”
If a team is unable to sign with a radio station in the local area, broadcasting over the internet is an option.
All 30 teams have their radio broadcast already streamed over the internet through a league initiative with Neulion, in which participation is mandatory.
“It’s going to be a work in progress over the next couple of months or so,” said Petrovek. “I’m interested in getting a sense of the local radio stations desire to pick us up. (Internet streaming) is very much an alternative means and focus. We’re working through the nuances right now. There a number of other teams that are interested in approaching this process in the same fashion that we are.”
“We’re actually going to have a few more conversations with the league and Neulion at the upcoming (AHL Board of Governors) meetings.”
Petrovek hopes to have future plans in place by no later Sept. 1.
“We’ve reached out to all the stations,” he said. “We’ve indicated a change of strategy, and we’re waiting to get sense of the market. I’d like this process done by Labor Day, if possible.”