This report was co-authored by Bobby Burack and Ryan Glasspiegel.
Rumors have been swirling in sports media circles in recent weeks that Mike Tirico has inked a blockbuster extension with NBC, with one source telling Outkick numbers reached as high as 10 years for $100 million. Not so, says Tirico’s agent Sandy Montag.
“Mike is under his original contract with NBC Sports and hopes to be there for a long time,” Montag tells Outkick in a statement. He declined to answer follow-up questions such as whether an extension is not technically signed but imminent. An NBC official also vehemently denied the numbers we were told.
Nonetheless, the Peacock network clearly has a high degree of confidence that Tirico will be the long-term successor to Al Michaels on Sunday Night Football. Trade talks in which ESPN sought to bring Michaels back to Monday Night Football were a complete non-starter.
Tirico has called at least one NFL game per year for NBC, and it’s expected that he will call more this upcoming season. Tirico is a jack of all trades for NBC, hosting the network’s popular Football Night in America show, calling Notre Dame games, and appearing on coverage for golf, the Olympics, the Triple Crown, and the Stanley Cup playoffs. He has also added a lunchtime interview show on NBCSN.
There is a discernible pageantry across all networks in getting ducks in a row for upcoming rights deals with the NFL. CBS is paying Tony Romo an eye-popping $17-18 million per season, both because he’s an excellent announcer but also to signal their considerable commitment towards remaining in the league’s suite of partners. ESPN swung for Romo, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees, but was not able to land any of the three star quarterbacks; Brees opted to sign with NBC where for now he will call Notre Dame games with Tirico.
Having a succession plan for Al Michaels in the form of Tirico locked up long-term would be a sign from NBC that their objective excellence in presenting NFL broadcasts will continue for the foreseeable future. Michaels and Cris Collinsworth are still at the top of their games. The New York Post reported in March that Michaels has two years left on his deal, which means it’s set to expire after NBC airs the Super Bowl in early 2022. Sunday Night Football has been the number 1 show in primetime television for nine straight years.
Like many media companies, NBC Universal is going through some belt-tightening in the wake of coronavirus. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the company is weighing extensive layoffs across its media and entertainment portfolios as Jeff Shell, the CEO of their parent company Comcast, said on last week’s corporate earnings call, “On costs, the question about whether we’re right-sized on costs given where the environment is headed, the answer is probably no, and we’re addressing that pretty aggressively.”
Ryan Glasspiegel contributed reporting to this story.
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