After a difficult month of April which saw ESPN eliminate up to one hundred on-air contributors, the network is trying to make May a bit more pleasant by securing contract extensions with valuable members of its on-air programming teams. The latest individual to earn an extension, is one of the company’s most influential and vibrant personalities, longtime ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale.
Vitale, will remain with ESPN through the 2019-2020 college basketball season as part of the new agreement. He’ll continue serving as the main analyst on many of the network’s top college basketball games, including regular-season contests on ESPN and ESPN2 and the network’s Champ Week coverage. Vitale will also make contributions throughout the year to additional platforms including ESPN.com, ESPN Radio and more.
“Dick Vitale is an ESPN PTPer – our signature college basketball voice for 38 years,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “He has grown the sport and the place of ESPN in the sport. He is, literally, a Basketball Hall of Famer who has augmented a remarkable on-air career with a tireless passion for helping others, highlighted by his remarkable work on behalf of The V Foundation.”
“ESPN has been my second family. Everyone knows my love for my wife, kids and grandkids, but ESPN has also been a vital part of my life for 38 plus years,” said Vitale. “I’ve met so many beautiful people there who have meant so much to me. I’m beyond thrilled about this new contract – it’s pure joy and jubilation for me and my family.”
The new deal adds an additional year to Vitale’s previous extension, and extends him into his 41st season with the network. He first began working for the company during the 1979-80 season — just after the network’s September 1979 launch — and was part of the broadcast of ESPN’s first-ever major NCAA basketball game – Wisconsin at DePaul on Dec. 5, 1979 (a 90-77 DePaul win). Since then, he’s provided analysis for more than over a thousand game broadcasts on the network. His personality and over the top style have made him a huge hit with college basketball fans.