ESPN announced Maria Taylor would begin work with NBC Sports by covering the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The news comes after she and ESPN could not reach an agreement about her contract extension.
What We Know:
- In light of her departure, ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro celebrated Taylor’s “ability and work ethic;” additionally, he mentioned he was proud of the work she did for the company. Pitaro stated the network remains determined to build a “deep and skilled talent roster” to reflect the athletes and topics they report and fans they serve.
- In regards to leaving her former position, Taylor expressed gratitude for her time at ESPN; she thanked Pitaro and others for encouraging and motivating her, and declared she would “make them proud.”
- Taylor began at ESPN by working for the SEC Network covering college sports and hosting College GameDay. Her skills and screen presence eventually landed her as the host of NBA Countdown. With NBC, she will work as a host and contributor at Football Night in America and the Super Bowl. Taylor will also co-host Prime Plus with Mike Trico.
- When asked about her new position, Taylor said she was excited to start. She said she always dreamed of hosting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl. Taylor added that the opportunity would be impossible without “standing on the shoulders of all those” who came before her.
- Taylor’s future at ESPN entered limbo earlier this month after racist comments made by colleague Rachel Nichols. In released audio footage, Nichols is heard on a phone call complaining to Lebron James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn about Taylor hosting the NBA Finals. She implied that the network only chose Taylor to improve diversity. After footage surfaced, Nichols quickly apologized but was pulled from sideline coverage.
Taylor covered Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals as her last assignment with ESPN.