Denton: Magic Play-By-Play Man to be Part of NCAA Final Four

By John Denton
April 4, 2014

CHARLOTTE – David Steele has broadcast two NBA Finals and more than 2,000 Orlando Magic games and he will accomplish another significant milestone in his career when he’s on the call at the NCAA Final Four on Saturday in suburban Dallas.

Steele, one of three people who have worked for the Magic all 25 years of their existence, was picked by Turner Sports Network to be the play-by-play announcer for the University of Florida’s ``teamcast’’ during Saturday’s game against Connecticut. The ``teamcasts’’ are team-specific presentations tailored to the individual teams competing in both games. They will air simultaneously on TNT and truTV on Saturday. Steele will work with Mark Wise and James Bates on TNT at 6 p.m.

The teamcast concept – hailed under Turner’s banner as ``Your Team, Your Way’’ – will present games with local flavor. The telecasts will include team and player storylines, custom music, graphics and show packaging, additional cameras and team-specific replays and custom halftimes with school features.

Steele, who is universally known throughout Central Florida as ``The Voice of the Magic,’’ was honored that he was selected for the UF broadcast.

``I didn’t understand what (``the teamcast’’) was at first because I hadn’t heard much about it. But once I figured out what they were talking about and exactly what they were going to do, it was the Final Four and it was going to be on Turner and I was doing play-by-play of the game, I was really excited about it. I quickly realized that this is a big deal,’’ Steele said. ``This will be right up there with doing the NBA Finals. As a broadcaster to have the opportunity to do a national championship-caliber game on a national stage, it’s pretty exciting.’’

The opportunity for Steele to be a part of the Final Four event didn’t come without some schedule-adjusting. He was on the call Friday night in Charlotte for the Magic and Bobcats and was scheduled to fly to Dallas early Saturday morning. Steele was given permission by the Magic to miss Saturday’s game and veteran announcer Paul Kennedy will fill in for Fox Sports Florida’s telecast of Orlando against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

``It’s a challenge and it’s pushing my brain, broadcasting skills and my experience to the limit,’’ Steele said of calling a NBA game and a college national semifinal game in a 48-hour stretch. ``It’s such a great opportunity that I felt like I had to take advantage of it. There are enough hours in the day to get it all done.’’

Steele, a big collegiate sports fan, has spent much of the past week familiarizing himself with the Gators’ basketball players in between Magic telecasts. He thinks that Florida has a good shot of beating Connecticut on Saturday to get to Monday night’s National Championship Game on CBS.

``Their season has been just remarkable. I think they’ve probably overachieved, given the individual talent. But the sums are greater than the individual talents,’’ Steele said. ``(Florida coach) Billy (Donovan) has done such a great job bringing it all together.

``I love watching (the Gators) play because they are such a great basketball team, they play so well together and they play defense,’’ Steele added. ``I think if they dominate the boards, which they are capable of doing, and somewhat control (Shabazz) Napier, which I figure they will try to do, they should do well. If they get some offensive rebounds and knock down some big threes, they should be alright. It’s going to be a great game and I think both of the Final Four games are going to be closely contested games.’’

Check back to next week for more on Steele’s incredible 25-year run as ``The Voice of the Magic.’’