• Sports TravelMagazine.com 29 December 2017
It’s never easy replacing a legend. But NBC’s Mike Tirico will at- tempt to do so in February when he becomes the prime-time host of the network’s Olympic Winter Games coverage, taking over for Bob Costas, who held the position since 1992. For Tirico, however, it’s
only one of many tasks he has taken on
since moving to NBC in July 2016 after
25 years at ABC and ESPN. The former
play-by-play host of “Monday Night
Football” is now NBC’s voice for “
Thursday Night Football” and the on-site host
of “Football Night in America,” which
leads into NBC’s Sunday night coverage.
He also hosts NBC’s Triple Crown and
golf coverage and is the voice of the network’s Notre Dame football broadcasts.
In this interview, Tirico discusses his
approach to the upcoming Games, how
politics have crept into sports and how
often he is on the road.
Bob Costas was prime-time Olympics host for 20 years. What kind
of pressure does that put on you?
I’ve become fond of saying you follow
Bob Costas, you don’t replace him. He
really set an incredible mark for all of us
to model our presentation after. He set
an incredible standard for journalism,
humor, the right touch at the right mo-
ment. I hope to bring a lot of the things
I’ve learned as a viewer and for the last
25 years or so of doing network TV to
my tenure in that chair. It’s a rare and
unique opportunity because you are the
continuing face over 18 straight nights
of prime-time TV, and that just does not
happen anywhere else in American TV.
There’s a great responsibility that goes
with it, but I intend to approach it as
another night of network and sports TV.
Have you sought specific advice
from Bob or are you avoiding it to
pave your own way?
Bob’s first bit of advice, which was
great, was to do it your way—don’t try to
do exactly everything I did. But there are
certain things he learned doing the job
that only experience can teach you. The
great part of this is that we are friends
and have known each other for a long
time. Bob has been very clear about being available at a moment’s notice if I
have a question about something. I haven’t gone too far down that road yet,
but I’m sure over time as things get closer, I will not hesitate to reach out.
What do you see your role being
as prime-time host?
I can pass along what I learned in
hosting the World Cup a couple of
times at ESPN and even the European
soccer championships. You are a connector. You connect the last events with
the next events. You connect the story
lines of the day to the other prudent
story lines. You connect overarching
themes for the week, for the entire time
of the competition. And you’re the person that makes sure you can put context and perspective to what you’ve just
seen. The joy of this and the challenge
of this is that it’s a live Olympics. It will
be seen live across the country in prime
time. So our putting things in perspective is going to happen on the fly.
By Jason Gewirtz
The veteran broadcaster will take over as host of NBC’s prime-time
Olympics coverage, one of many roles he plays at the network