A day after he worked Game 4 of the Hawks-Cavaliers series, it was made official. Mike Tirico is leaving ESPN, his home of more than 25 years, and moving to NBC Sports.
The news had been long expected after first being reported by the Sports Business Journal a few weeks ago following a report of NBC making Tirico an offer from The Big Lead. But now we finally know what Tirico will be doing for NBC — he’ll work on Sunday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, the Olympics, select golf telecasts, and “other big events.” In other words, NBC actually has a lot of things for him to do, which is the reverse of the Josh Elliott situation. (Hopefully this time, NBC’s big splash works out better for both parties involved.)
Tirico’s last assignment for ESPN will be as a host for the European Championships in June.
Mike Tirico, the play-by-play and studio voice for many of ESPN’s biggest events over the past quarter century, will join NBC Sports Group starting July 1. Tirico will work on an array of high-profile properties including Sunday Night Football, primetime television’s No. 1 show for five consecutive years; NBC’s new Thursday Night Football series (NBC is the only network with two primetime NFL packages); the Summer and Winter Olympics; select golf telecasts; and other big events.
“Mike is an elite talent who can contribute to all of our biggest events,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer of NBC Sports. “The opportunity to add Mike to NBC Sports Group’s lineup, which is already the strongest in sports broadcasting, was too good to be true.”
“I am thrilled to join this outstanding team,” Tirico said. “For me, NBC Sports has always represented the highest quality in television sports production and the chance to now be a part of that, is a dream come true. It is a perfect time in my career to take on new opportunities, and I am excited to do that with an exceptional group of people.”
Tirico, the voice of ESPN’s Monday Night Football from 2006-2015, is one of four play-by-play announcers to work primetime NFL games for at least 10 seasons (Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Mike Patrick).
Tirico joins NBC after 26 years at ESPN/ABC (1991-2016), where he established himself as a preeminent broadcaster on properties and events including MNF, The Open Championship, The Masters, NBA, college football, college basketball, FIFA World Cup, and tennis’ U.S. Open and Wimbledon. He was named the 2010 Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA), an award voted on by his industry peers.
The magnitude of this move shouldn’t be underestimated; it may just be the biggest sports media transaction since Dan Patrick also left ESPN for NBC a number of years ago. NBC now has someone who can be counted on to be the long-term face of their sports division after Al Michaels and Bob Costas decide to hang up the microphone. And when it comes to gifted broadcasters, NBC probably couldn’t have made a better choice across the entire sports media.
Tirico’s July 1st debut means he’ll join NBC in plenty of time to work their first British Open telecast as well as this year’s Summer Olympics.