Alumni Matt Farago, announcer of the Harlem Globetrotters, visits Lincoln Park
November 20, 2016
Announcer Matt Farago and the Harlem Globetrotters
Matt Farago didn't know that broadcasting for high school sports and women's professional football would someday lead to the gig of a lifetime.
As the Lincoln Park alumni explained to students during a master class on Nov. 16, every opportunity—from experiences at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School to announcing high school and national games — prepared him for his new job as an announcer for the world famous Harlem Globetrotters.
Farago, 25, was hired in September, as the announcer for the Globetrotters, an exhibition basketball team that for the past 90 years has combined great basketball skills with one-of-a-kind family entertainment. He recently returned home from the first international leg of the tour, which took him to faraway places like Istanbul, Dubai and Israel.
Farago attended Lincoln Park in 2007 to study media arts. He later transferred to cyberschool. For the past five years, Farago has returned to announce Lincoln Park's playoff games, including the state championship two years ago.
He never had formal training. As a youngster, Farago turned the volume off his Madden video games to imitate sports announcers. By high school, he was already broadcasting for local schools. Farago was only 16 in 2009, when he started the Champs Sports Network, an online site that grew from covering high schools to national sports like the IFAF U-19 junior world championships for American football.
At age 19, Farago got a big break as the content producer for USA Today high school sports. He has also worked for ESPN3, Max Preps, Pittsburgh's WTAE-TV, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Penn State Greater Allegheny, All American Bowl, Geneva College, Western PA Fall Ball League, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Johnstown Generals, West Virginia Lightning, USA Hockey National Championships, USCAA National Championships, among others.
Farago stressed the importance of having experience over money, seizing opportunities big and small, and never being afraid to fail.
While covering WPIAL football championships at Heinz Field, he was invited by former Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Charlie Batch to visit Batch's suite. Batch became an instrumental mentor for Farago, who now volunteers with the Best of the Batch Foundation.
While working for ESPN3 as a sideline reporter at a Pittsburgh Passion professional women's football game, Farago had the opportunity to interview Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney, Passion co-owner Franco Harris and Denise DeBartolo York, owner of the San Francisco 49ers.
He landed a hard-to-get interview with Mario Lemieux while working with Pittsburgh Sports Weekly, and was able to get Charlie Batch to agree to co-broadcast a high school basketball game. All it took was to ask, he said.
"Never settling for that first 'no' was really so important to moving on and getting an opportunity. Find your opportunity. I was cold calling, emailing, beating down the door when no one knew that I existed."
The Harlem Globetrotters have entertained U.S. troops at military bases overseas and showcased their talents to fans in 122 countries and territories on six continents. The team starts their U.S. tour Dec. 26 in Pittsburgh.
About Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School
Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School (www.lppacs.org) is a Pennsylvania public school providing a state-approved academic program and pre-professional training for grades 7-12 in music, theater, dance, creative writing, health science arts and media arts. The school enrolls students from more than 65 surrounding school districts.
Media Contact: Fred Miller, communications coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org