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How Comcast SportsNet's Ron Burke Preps for Games


For local sports fans, ’tis the season to be jolly—if only because so many teams are playing at once. The Eagles, the Sixers and the Flyers are knee-deep in their seasons, and Comcast SportsNet’s veteran anchor, Ron Burke, reports on them all, including December’s Eagles games against the Cowboys and the Giants. Although he isn’t a native, Burke has been reporting on the region’s sports teams for 26 years. In other words: He feels our pain. 

MLT: How do you prepare for a game?

RB: It’s a combination of research and my own memory of players, plays and games. Plus, each team issues tons of statistics to sports reporters. We get big, thick books with pages about the team’s players and their performances.

MLT: Sports fans would love to get their hands on those books. 

RB: For sure. They’re as thick as encyclopedias and focus just on the two teams playing that day. Included are statistics on players, teams, what the team did the last week, and what happened the last five times the teams played each other. They also include where a player is from and how many times he’s played against his college roommate. That’s where I find interesting nuggets of information that make great pregame and postgame stories. 

MLT: If you could interview any athlete—living or dead—who would it be? 

RB: I’ve been a sports reporter for half of my life, so I’ve had the opportunity to interview a lot of modern icons. So I’d pick people who were my childhood heroes: Bruce Lee and Evel Knievel. Back then, there were no VCRs or DVDs, so it was appointment television to watch them on Wide World of Sports. Knievel did these dangerous—and incredibly cool—stunts. I’d ask him where he found the courage to keep doing them. Bruce Lee is, to me, the greatest action-movie star of all time—not with guns, but with his own two hands. I’d ask him how he created that place for himself in Hollywood in that time, with the prejudices that existed. 

MLT: Say the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers are all playing championship games on the same night. You can choose to report on only one. Which would it be? 

RB: The Eagles. With the other sports, we’d be talking about a series of games. But with football, the championship is decided by one game. Can you imagine the Eagles playing in the Super Bowl? I’m getting goosebumps just saying it. This town, this city, this entire region has a hunger for that championship. We’ve all been waiting a long, long time. Our region would explode with excitement, and I’d want to be part of it. Let me rephrase: I will be part of it—because it will happen one year. The Eagles will be in the Super Bowl. And I’ll be there to report on it.

On Jan. 21, 2015, Ron Burke emcees Comcast SportsNet’s Shining Star Awards, benefiting the March of Dimes. For tickets and information, visit www.shiningstarawards.com

Ron Burke