ESPN has been in an incredible time of transition lately, even outside the numerous layoffs of talented, longtime personalities last month. In fact, before that, ESPN said goodbye to significant figures at the network like Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, and Bill Simmons. ESPN has also seen the semi-retirement of lifer Chris Berman, who will depart his full-time NFL hosting duties at the beginning of next season and move towards an emeritus role in Bristol.
There is at least one longtime ESPN personality who isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, though – Dickie V.
On Monday ESPN announced that it was adding another year to Vitale’s contract. Originally set to run through the 2018-2019 season, which would give the former Pistons coach an even 40 years working with ESPN, the contract will now run through the 2019-2020 season, which would mark his 41st year in Bristol. It’s the same tactic ESPN employed when extending Vitale’s contract by one additional season last year.
Here’s details via ESPN:
Longtime ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale – one of the most influential and vibrant personalities in the history of sports television – has signed a contract extension with ESPN through the 2019-20 season.
Vitale will be the main analyst on many of the network’s top games, including regular-season action primarily on ESPN and ESPN2 and the network’s Champ Week coverage. The Basketball Hall of Famer contributes to numerous ESPN platforms throughout the year, including ESPN.com, ESPN Radio and more.
The agreement adds an additional year to his previous extension, announced last June, and extends Vitale into his 41st season with the network. He began with ESPN in its first year (1979-80).
“ESPN has been my second family. Everyone knows my love for my wife, kids and grandkids, but ESPN has also been a vital part of my life for 38 plus years,” said Vitale. “I’ve met so many beautiful people there who have meant so much to me. I’m beyond thrilled about this new contract – it’s pure joy and jubilation for me and my family.”
“Dick Vitale is an ESPN PTPer – our signature college basketball voice for 38 years,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “He has grown the sport and the place of ESPN in the sport. He is, literally, a Basketball Hall of Famer who has augmented a remarkable on-air career with a tireless passion for helping others, highlighted by his remarkable work on behalf of The V Foundation.”
When you think about the pantheon of ESPN personalities, at least in terms of their longevity, Vitale, Berman, and Bob Ley have to be at the top of the list.
And with the work of the likes of Vitale, Brent Musburger, Vin Scully, and Verne Lundquist we all know that age is just a number in broadcasting. So as long as Vitale is having fun broadcasting college hoops and wants to keep working then ESPN will likely keep him on board on a year-by-year basis. There are some parallels to the Berman situation as Jay Bilas has already been promoted to the #1 lead analyst spot at the network for college hoops. However, Vitale still has a sizable and regular presence at the network calling many games throughout the season. And if that means Vitale gets to call a couple more games with Bill Walton, that can’t be a bad thing, right?