Mike Tirico, the play-by-play voice of ESPN’s Monday Night Football since 2006 as well as anchoring its No. 2 team for NBA games among several other marquee announcing duties at the network, is exiting to join NBC. Sources close to the situation confirm the reports of his pending departure that were first published today by Sports Business Journal. His contract reportedly ends this summer.
The versatile Tirico most likely will become the play-by-play broadcaster for NBC’s upcoming NFL Thursday Night Football games, a package it is sharing with CBS and NFL Network. That partnership, worth a reported $225 million per network, kicks off this in the fall, with CBS and NBC airing five games apiece to be simulcast on NFL Network.
NBC does not have any NBA rights, but it does have the PGA Tour Championship and the British Open for golf as well as the Olympics, which could also be landing spots for Tirico. At ESPN since 1991, he also has covered college football and tennis and has become a go-to guy.
Currently, Al Michaels is the lead play-by-play man for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and Bob Costas toplines the network’s Olympics coverage. The upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics are in Brazil.
NBC said today it doesn’t “comment on talent or others who are under contract to someone else.”
The surprising move raises the question: Who replaces him at MNF to pair with commentator Jon Gruden? SBJ says veteran Sean McDonaugh is the leading candidate for the play-by-play spot, which only four men have held since the franchise’s inception in 1970: Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford, Michaels and Tricio.