Veteran sportscaster Mike Tirico will join NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” booth next fall, pairing up with analyst Cris Collinsworth in the latest shake up among the announcers who call the plays of TV’s most-watched sport.
Tirico fills a spot left vacant by the departure of Al Michaels, who is expected to join Amazon to call “Thursday Night Football.”
“When Mike joined NBC Sports in 2016, it was our plan for him to become our primetime Olympics host and the play-by-play voice of Sunday Night Football,” said Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports, in a statement. “We are excited to have Mike join Cris Collinsworth full-time in the booth this season.”
NBC confirms speculation about the future of its “Sunday Night Football” booth with an NFL meeting slated to take place later this week. The show has long been Michaels’ roost. But his contract ended after the network’s Super Bowl broadcast earlier this year, leaving sports fans and executives wondering how the network might tackle the issue.
Tirico takes the field, as it were, as all the TV networks with NFL rights look to woo bigger audiences after agreeing to substantial hikes in the licensing fees they will pay the league National Football League under a new 11-year pact that keeps the bulk of professional-football telecasts under the purview of the big traditional TV broadcasters. In addition to Michaels’ anticipated move to Amazon, ESPN recently raided Fox Sports for its long-standing team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
Tirico is no stranger to the sport. One can argue that ESPN has been working to replace him ever since he left a perch at “Monday Night Football” to join NBC. He has regularly hosted hosted NBC’s pre-game show “Football Night in Amerca,” filled in regularly for Michaels and has called 20 games with Collinsworth over the years.