CHARLOTTE — The Panthers have a new voice.
And it's one that should be familiar to area fans.
The team on Tuesday announced the addition of Anish Shroff as the new play-by-play voice for the Panthers Radio Network, a job he can't wait to start.
He's familiar with the city he now calls home, as the New Jersey-native moved to Charlotte 10 years ago to work at ESPN's Ballantyne studios.
"You have to be a fan at heart; I really believe that," he said of his new role. "I think I represent a lot of the people in this town. I moved here for an opportunity, and for a job, never knowing it would be home forever, and it's become home forever. And there's a lot of people here who are transplants. Half the people on my street are from Connecticut, Boston, Florida, New York. They're from everywhere. And these nomads, these vagabonds, have found a place they can call home and call community.
"I want the Panthers to be a unifying factor there."
The 39-year-old Shroff is also comfortable in his new office, as he was in Bank of America Stadium's national broadcast booth for the Duke's Mayonnaise Bowl last December, calling South Carolina's win over North Carolina. And during that broadcast, he also had some fun by sampling the sponsor's product on-air, saying the peanut butter and jelly sandwich dipped into mayo held up better than the doughnut.
"Let's have some fun, laugh at ourselves, make it fun for others," Shroff said of that game. "From what I've heard about (Panther legends-turned radio analysts) Jordan Gross and Jake Delhomme, it sounds like they can have some fun too. I want it to be entertaining.
"Sometimes I watch sports now, we try to add so many of these outside elements into our sports narrative, and we miss the reason that so many of us are coming to sports. Let's give them a diversion. Let's give them an escape. Let's untether them from whatever's happening in their personal life and their work life, and let's just have fun for a few hours. It's a game."
Shroff also brings serious credentials to the job, having graduated from Syracuse's prestigious Newhouse School, and worked his way up the ladder at ESPN since joining the company in 2008.
The fact he's a local also helps the transition, as he takes over for the retiring Mick Mixon.
"Anish understands the significance of the role and is committed to more than just calling games on Sundays," Panthers chief revenue officer Jake Burns said. "He is a Charlotte resident and is intimately familiar with the community and our fans. He wants to be part of the fabric of our community, which is incredibly important.
"He is a nationally recognized play-by-play voice - his ESPN experience calling big college football games speaks for itself. He has a tremendous work ethic and will bring everything he has to all aspects of this role."
Shroff lives here with his wife and 4-year-old daughter Athena, who has grown up with the team and has a few conditions on her dad's new job.
"She's been a Panthers fan, we've lived in Charlotte her whole life," Shroff said. "Since she was little, she had some Panthers stuff, she likes the colors, but she's excited. She's holding me to getting her a personalized jersey. I told her if I get the job, she can get the personalized jersey."
Shroff, a first-generation immigrant whose family came from India in the 1970s, is also the only minority play-by-play radio voice in the NFL. But he's also an established Charlottean, and wants to bring all fans together.
"I get asked about background and race a lot, but with this job, I view it as, 'Hey, Panthers fans are a cross-section of gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, race, religion, everything.' I want to be a voice for that," Shroff said. "And I want to be someone who can bring the games into their homes, their cars, their tailgates. I want to connect with all of that."
View photos of Anish Shroff in the radio booth and on the field as he takes the reigns as the new play-by-play announcer of the Carolina Panthers.