ESPN announces 2 new additions to Masters broadcast team

Masters flag at 2023 Masters

ESPN announced Laura Rutledge and Jeff Darlington will join its Masters broadcast team.

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ESPN on Wednesday announced two new additions to its Masters broadcast team, which is busy preparing for the 88th Masters that begins in just a few short weeks.

According to the release, Laura Rutledge and Jeff Darlington will join ESPN’s Masters coverage squad, further bolstering the roster of the network that’s been the cable rightsholder of the tournament since 2008. ESPN holds the broadcast rights of the Masters Par-3 Contest and first two rounds of the tournament, as well as extensive pre- and post-round coverage throughout the week.

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Rutledge will host ESPN’s two-hour “Welcome to the Masters” pre-broadcast show that debuted last year and leads into the start of live coverage on Thursday and Friday. Darlington will contribute to “SportsCenter” as a reporter and essayist. He’ll also contribute to preview shows on ESPN+ running on Tuesday and Wednesday of Masters week.

Rutledge joined ESPN in 2014 is the host of “NFL Live” and the SEC Network’s “SEC Nation.” She also works as a sideline reporter for NFL and college football games. Darlington joined ESPN in 2016; he works as an NFL reporter and contributes to several ESPN NFL weekly shows such as “Get Up,” “NFL Live,” “SportsCenter” and “Sunday NFL Countdown.”

Last year, ESPN’s first- and second-round ratings were slightly lower than the year before, but strong storms on Friday afternoon suspended the tournament and cost the network a valuable broadcast window. The final round of last year’s Masters, however, was the most-watched golf telecast on any network in the past five years. CBS, the tournament’s long-time broadcast partner, said it drew 12.06 million viewers, which was a 19 percent increase from the year before.

The 2024 Masters is April 11-14 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

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