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This month, Kate Scott makes history. As the Sixers begin their season, she’ll become the first woman broadcaster for any major Philly sport in television history.
It’s more than just a local milestone: Scott is only the second woman hired to run play-by-play duties for any NBA team.
In calling games for the 76ers on their local network (NBC Sports Philadelphia), Scott replaces legendary announcer Marc Zumoff, who retired last spring. She’ll pair with Alaa Abdelnaby, who continues his role as a color analyst.
The position adds to an already impressive list of firsts for Scott.
In 2016, she became the first woman to call an NFL game on the radio. She was the first woman to call college football on the Pac-12 Network, was the play-by-play voice for the first ever all-female NHL broadcast, and last season was part of the first ever all-female broadcast of a Golden State Warriors game.
During an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic, Scott acknowledged her string of being “first” in several areas of sports broadcasting. While she’s proud of her recent hiring, she’s frustrated there hasn’t yet been more change, and hopes her progress opens doors for other women to follow..
“A part of me is embarrassed and a little pissed off that I’ve been so many of the firsts,” Scott told the John Kincade Show. “Because it’s 2021. You’d think that there’d be so many other qualified women who would’ve gotten these opportunities. But they haven’t.”
Overall, about 20% of the 108 local NBA team TV announcers this season are women.
Of those 21 women, six are play-by-play announcers or analysts, while the other 15 are sideline reporters. Of the 59 radio announcers for NBA teams, Ruth Riley is the only woman employed as a color analyst for Miami Heat games on WAXY. There are no women radio play-by-play announcers in the league.
Scott’s hiring, announced Sept. 22, comes during a run of women being elevated to more prominent NBA broadcast roles.
In early September, a few weeks before Scott’s job with the 76ers was announced, the Milwaukee Bucks announced it had selected Lisa Byington as play-by-play caller, making her the first woman in that role for a major men’s professional team.
The Utah Jazz announced on Sept. 24 that Holly Rowe had been hired as an analyst for the team’s local broadcasts. Candace Parker and Turner Sports agreed to a multi-year contract extension that will keep her as a national studio analyst. And at just 25 years old, Malika Andrews will be the host of “NBA Today”, ESPN’s new daily NBA show set to debut in October.
Unlike her predecessor in Sixers play-calling, Scott isn’t a native Philadelphian. In fact, she has never called a game in the city before. But Zumoff is adamant that his successor has the chops to succeed — and to make the job her own.
“I said to him, ‘You have all these wonderful sayings and I would love to honor you in some way and carry over a couple of your favorites,'” Scott said during her 97.5 interview. “He said, ‘Kate, stop it. It’s your time. … It’s your time.'”