Bob Costas, the sportscaster who narrated World Series games, boxing matches and NBC’s Olympics telecasts and elevated his commentary to include politics and culture, is joining CNN as a contributor, the cable-news outlet announced Monday.
He is expected to offer perspective on sports issues as that industry grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and a range of cultural and racial issues that have been rippling through U.S. society. The announcement was made by Jeff Zucker, the former NBCUniversal CEO who now oversees WarnerMedia’s news and sports properties.
“Bob Costas is a legendary, respected voice across the spectrum of sports and beyond,” said Zucker, in a prepared statement.
“I’m very pleased to join CNN’s roster of journalists and commentators,” Costas added. “CNN’s willingness to devote time and attention to sports related topics, makes it a good fit for me.”
Over the decades, Costas has grown from doing play by play to weighing in on some of the biggest issues in the sports business – not always the job for which NBC had hired him. He once discussed the effects of gun culture on athletes on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” halftime shows and sparked a minor controversy during his 2014 Olympics hosting duties after the way he characterized actions by Russian leader Vladimir Putin were disputed by right-leaning commentators. In 2017, while speaking at the University of Maryland, he told an audience he felt U.S. football was in decline, citing head injuries suffered by the players. Costas would later cite that incident as a factor in his parting of the ways with NBC Sports after a 2018 Belmont Stakes telecast.
There was no word in the announcement as to whether Costas might also contribute to Turner Sports.