Meghan McPeak had no intention of making history. But in 2020, as part of the NBA’s first all-woman broadcast team, the play-by-play commentator did just that. This is not the first she has made waves, in 2015 Meghan McPeak became the G League’s first (and still only) female play-by-play commentator. Now, the Canadian native simply wants to keep enjoying sports and demonstrating to others that women’s voices have a place in the sports world.
An All-Female Broadcast
“It was an all-female broadcast,” Meghan McPeak, the Washington Mystics and Capital City Go-Go announcer added. “It was a five-person team. We had a host and an analyst in the studio. We were all women of color, including the three of us who were on the in-game broadcast. It felt like making history because not only were all females calling the game, but they were all women of color, which had never been done in the NBA before.” The Toronto Raptors took on the Denver Nuggets in that contest.
McPeak also says that it was incredible to be a part of this broadcast with her friends, WNBA All-Star Kia Nurse as a color commentator and TSN anchor Kayla Grey as a sideline reporter. MLSE and TSN made the decision collaboratively, with Raptors staff members such as John Wiggins, vice president of organizational culture and inclusiveness, and Rebecca Ross, senior director of programming, broadcast, and distribution, working to make it happen.
The sporting world has already begun to follow suit. She says that Beth Mowins provided the play-by-play commentary. Doris Burke performed the analysis. Additionally, Lisa Salters served as a sideline reporter. They took it a step further by ensuring that as many women as possible worked behind the scenes. Producer, director, and audio engineer—everything that the audience does not see that enables them to go on camera. They are the true stars of the program, as she likes to refer to them, since without them, they would not be on television.
Meghan McPeak Came Prepared
Her experience—as the voice of Toronto’s G League affiliate Raptors 905; as the host of pregame, halftime, and post game shows for the Raptors’ 2016–17 NBA season on TSN 1050 radio; and as a guest analyst on NBA TV Canada’s The Hangout and Bell TV’s Open Gym: Fast Break — prepared her for this historic moment, which has shaped her career ever since. As far as she is concerned, she can continue to conduct play-by-play indefinitely. “If someone came up to me and said, Here’s the amount of money we’re providing; you can choose which chair you want to sit in,” she says, “I’m taking play-by-play a thousand times out of a thousand.” And that appears to be the sentiment shared by everyone in that position.
The profession is competitive, according to the former athlete who played basketball and graduated from Humber College’s Radio Broadcasting department in Toronto. The NBA consists of 30 franchises. Meghan McPeak explains that once you get in, you don’t leave. She also says that If you can retire in your 60s, 70s, or 80s while continuing to do your job, that is essentially what everyone is aiming for. She asserts that many women — at least those in her generation and preceding generations — believed they were “not permitted” or unable to conduct play-by-play, particularly in men’s sports.
McPeak also explains that women do it in women’s sports. That is insignificant. However, it is in men’s sports that there are so few of them. She thinks that it wasn’t until she discovered other women in sports who looked like her on social media that she felt inspired to try it out. So she is hoping that by being a part of this sisterhood, she and the women like her are demonstrating to future generations that anyone can do it, because men’s and women’s basketball are equal.