ESPN broadcaster Jay Alter stays close to Darien roots

DARIEN — Darien High alum and ESPN play-by-play broadcaster Jay Alter says he’s looking forward to moderating the upcoming DCA Darien Neighbors, Global Players event.

But he wants to make it clear he’s “incredibly jealous” of DAF Media, who is helping live stream the event.

“I told my friend, Damian Andrew, who runs DAF that if I was in school when they had that, I would've been calling all those games and that would've been my dream come true,” he said.

Alter said when he was in school, he had to “lug my own camera/tripod out to the games, set it all up, film it myself.”

Alter said he also used highlights on Blue Wave News, the Darien High television news show.

“I believe even with DAF that Blue Wave News still exists today and is run by the same person, Ivan Crowther, who was incredibly supportive and helpful in leading me to pursuing sportscasting as a career,” he said.

Alter said Darien’s successful sports program helped him “excel.”

“Many times you are only as good as the sports you cover and they all gave me plenty to talk about,” he said.

Alter, who still lives in Darien with his wife Liz, a fellow member of the Class of 2012. The couple got engaged at Weed Beach.

“We never had a plan to move back here or anything, but we both absolutely love the area, the town, the people, the community. It is very much ‘home’ for both of us,” Alter said.

At ESPN, Alter calls football, basketball and lacrosse games.

“As a play-by-play broadcaster, day-to-day is usually figuring out when your flight is, what hotel you're staying at, and what game I am going to next,” he said.

The pandemic has changed all that — where normally Alter said he would be traveling close to 150 days a year, ESPN has built a home studio in his basement.

“I thought there was no way I'll be able to call as strong a game off a monitor instead of being there, but the technology has blown me away,” he said.

But Alter said he misses interacting with colleagues, players and coaches on the road.

Alter will hold a conversation at 7 p.m. May 13 with Chase Carey, chairman of Formula 1, and Mark Waller, chief commercial officer of McLaren Racing, to discuss Formula 1 car racing.

Alter said he first heard of the DCA: Darien Neighbors, Global Players when the CEO of Jet Blue and an executive from the NFL were invited to attend a panel discussion.

Alter watched it and said he was “blown away.”

“I thought it was such a creative, clever idea to create something that allows access to some incredible people's perspective,” he said.

Alter said the DCA does a “great job” in finding interesting and successful people to include.

“I'm glad that I am the one asking the questions and not giving the insight,” he said.

Series tickets for all three speakers: $80 DCA members / $120 public and individual speaker tickets: $30 DCA members / $45 public. Tickets for this event must be purchased by May 13 at 3 p.m. For more information on the series or to buy tickets visit dariendca.org or through the DCA office, 203-655-9050 ext. 10.