Tom Rinaldi’s move from ESPN, his home for the past 19 years, to rival Fox Sports, is the latest in an ever-growing list of talent moving away from the Disney-owned sports network. Cost-cutting has seen plenty of longtime and notable talents leave ESPN in recent years, which has been a boon for Fox. While his contract was up at the end of the year, ESPN did try to keep Rinaldi by offering him a salary increase, though Fox offered him significantly more money.
But according to Rinaldi, the move to a new network wasn’t entirely financially motivated. He told the NY Post’s Andrew Marchand that a lesson he learned while working as a high school teacher and coach stuck with him.
“I would find myself sad, kind of at a loss, because the students were going on to their ‘next,’ their next adventure, their next chapter, their next move. And I wasn’t. That’s always been a part of something in me. In this case, the simple truth is a chance to move to the next.”
Rinaldi expounded on that anecdote in a discussion with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch as well.
Why Tom Rinaldi left ESPN for Fox Sports.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) December 19, 2020
“This was a next in every shape that I just absolutely wanted to do,” said Rinaldi. “It’s a next step in some opportunities that I wouldn’t have had with any other entity. Fox has this world-class portfolio of events, many that I’ve ever been a part of. There’s such a great allure in that. That’s really the core reason to be able to come over and try to contribute to these incredible events.”
Some of those events Rinaldi may have the chance to be involved in now include Big Noon Kickoff, the 2022 World Cup, the MLB World Series, and Super Bowl LVII in 2023.
Marchand did ask Rinaldi about the impact of the financial side, though the reporter didn’t want to directly answer.
“I’m going to keep any of the financial considerations private, but I can tell you with absolute earnestness that ESPN has been awesome in every phase from the moment I have arrived to the most challenging year that it has had, in 2020,” Rinaldi told the Post.