The Dallas Mavericks players aren’t the only Mavs’ employees experiencing the wrath of owner Mark Cuban. He’s also taking shots at the Mavs’ broadcast team — play-by-play voice Mark Followill and longtime analyst Bob Ortegel, who are on year-to-year contracts — as ratings for the team sag.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Cuban called the telecast “stale” and “unimaginative” in e-mails to Mavs director of broadcasting Dave Evans. He was also critical of Ortegel, who in his 21st season calling Mavs games is adhering to a new edict: “Less is more.”
Since the 67-win season in 2006-07, Mavs ratings have dipped from 3.8 to 1.4 on Fox Sports Southwest and from 5.7 to 2.9 on KTXA- 21.
To spice up the telecasts, Cuban told Evans to give up-and-comer talk-radio personality Jeff Wade, aka Skin, an audition as a second analyst. Wade made his debut Jan. 8 and, working pro bono, appears mostly on weekend telecasts. He has become the league’s lone TV analyst who is not a former player or coach.
“Whenever changes are being made, you always wonder, well, are changes being made because of dissatisfaction with what you’re doing?” said Followill, 38. “I’m not losing any sleep over it, but I’m doing the best that I can and hoping that will continue to be good enough.”