He was like the Internet-famous Boom Goes The Dynamite kid, but for a national television audience of more than 10 million rather than a college station’s obscure newscast.
Sergio Dipp’s first sideline report for ESPN “Monday Night Football’’ Chargers-Broncos matchup in Week 1 was so bewilderingly awkward — punctuated with a meme-worthy reference to Broncos coach Vance Joseph “having the time of his life’’ — that there was no second sideline report. He did not go on camera again that night.
What he got instead was viral notoriety on the Internet that no serious person wants.
“I thought I was going to be fired,’’ he says now.
Dipp did not get fired. Perhaps unbeknownst to stateside viewers who figured him to be some wide-eyed novice who, in his second language, swallowed his words when the red light went on, he went back to doing what he did before.
Which happens to be staying very busy in a high-profile role for ESPN International and Deportes. He hosts “SportsCenter’’ weekday mornings for ESPN International as well as the “NFL Live’’ program on Sunday mornings. He also is the studio host for Mexico’s version of “NFL RedZone.’’
“You guys in the United States, you met me then out of nowhere,’’ he said. “New guy, new face, who is this guy? Out of nowhere. People wondered who I was and how I got there and what I was doing.
“But I’ve been working in sports media in Mexico for 10 years now. I’ve been at ESPN the last five. It was a new experience, being on television in the United States in my second language. But I was not a rookie.’’
Dipp has not been on ESPN since his one shot during that season-opening doubleheader. That will change this weekend when he reports for ESPN’s “SportsCenter’’ and “Sunday NFL Countdown’’ in advance of the Patriots-Raiders matchup at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, a game that will air on CBS.
Dipp acknowledges that the public response to what happened in the Chargers-Broncos game was overwhelming. But he said he is excited to have another chance in front of a stateside audience.
“I tried to understand the noise,’’ he said. “I think ESPN was happy with how I handled it, and I am happy to have another chance for ESPN in the States. It was a great experience for me before that happened, and it’s been my mind-set since. I’m looking forward to having another opportunity in front of the American public to have fun and do what I do.’’
Dipp said soccer remains far and away the most popular sport in Mexico, but football has gained an immense following since the turn of the century.
“When I was growing up,’’ he said, “it was between boxing and baseball for the second-favorite sport. Now it’s between boxing and football.’’
The Raiders are a popular team in Mexico, Dipp said, in part because former coach Tom Flores is of Mexican descent. But the sport’s rise in popularity has coincided with the Patriots’ rise to dynasty status, and Dipp believes there’s a good chance they’ll be treated like the home team Sunday.
“The Patriots are growing a fan base in a way that no other team has in Mexico,’’ he said. “The Patriots are the team that the young boys and girls and teenagers, both male and female, root for.’’
On Friday, perhaps the most intriguing sports-radio aspect of the Entercom/CBS Radio merger will become a reality.
Mark Hannon, the senior vice president and market manager for CBS Radio Boston who was instrumental in putting together the 98.5 The Sports Hub lineup when it launched in August 2009, will begin his new post-merger role at Entercom, where he will oversee WEEI. He will essentially replace Phil Zachary, who has been Entercom Boston’s vice president and market manager since October 2013.
Zachary is being reassigned within Entercom to another “turnaround mission’’; he will oversee the Hartford, Springfield, and Providence markets. Zachary deserves credit for a job well done at WEEI, stabilizing what had been a tumultuous atmosphere and overseeing a steady rise in Nielsen ratings, most notably with the “Kirk and Callahan’’ program in morning drive.
He also was accessible, reasonable, and as forthcoming as could be, which are scarcer traits than they should be among sports radio executives, particularly at Entercom through the years. He will always be respected in this space.
Meanwhile, the sale of The Sports Hub, WBZ’s FM station, to Beasley Media Group means that some personnel who also work for Entercom-bound WBZ (1030 AM) must decide which company they will work for.
For instance, Adam Kaufman, the morning sports anchor on the AM news station who also hosted a weekend Celtics program on the FM sister station, will remain with CBS Radio/Entercom. Mike “Sarge’’ Riley, another who does work for both stations, is remaining with The Sports Hub. And Michael Hurley, a frequent guest on The Sports Hub, is actually an employee of WBZ television (Channel 4) and will remain in that role.
According to industry sources, the affected personnel were allowed to decide whether they would go with the Sports Hub to Beasley or stay with CBS Radio/Entercom after the merger.
The Celtics have become more than one of the most compelling NBA teams this season. They’ve become increasingly popular television viewing.
Their 109-102 victory over the Nets Tuesday night — their 13th straight win — was the top-rated game so far this season on NBC Sports Boston. The game drew a 5.65 rating, the station’s second-highest for a regular-season game since April 2012, behind only a double-overtime loss to the 23-0 Warriors in December 2015.
Celtics broadcasts on NBC Sports Boston are averaging a 3.88 rating this year, up significantly from a season ago. Wonder what it would have gotten for a rating on Thursday’s game vs. the Warriors if TNT didn’t have exclusive rights.
Former Bruins goalie Andrew Raycroft will serve as a guest studio analyst Thursday and Saturday when the Bruins take on the Kings and Sharks on the West Coast. Raycroft, who played for the Bruins for five partial and full seasons before being traded to the Maple Leafs for prospect Tuukka Rask in June 2006, will join Dale Arnold, Barry Pederson, and Billy Jaffe on the program. No word on whether he’ll be wearing his trademark massive leg pads.