Dick Vitale signed an extension to remain with ESPN through the 2020-21 season. The new contract ensures that Vitale will be with the network at least into his 42nd season.
In the press release, ESPN notes Vitale signed an extension last May, keeping him at the network through the 2019-20 season. With two full college basketball seasons still remaining on his current deal, it’s interesting that the two sides chose to tack on one more year.
After looking back even further, I found that this is a trend with ESPN and Vitale. This will be the fourth consecutive spring that ESPN announced a one year contract extension with Vitale, even though his current deal was not set to expire for two more seasons. Maybe Vitale negotiates his broadcasting contracts similarly to his coaching deals, but it’s interesting that in recent years the two sides have never let Dickie V come within two seasons of being a free-agent.
“ESPN has been family to me and I am honored that they want me to continue being a contributor on our college basketball team,” Vitale said via the press release. “ESPN has provided me a forum that has turned my dreams to reality. I feel young at heart. I said once, and I will say it again – my goal is to be the first in broadcasting to open a hoops game at 100 years old saying “This is Awesome, Baby!’ with a capital A.”
During a time where ESPN has been going through a lot of changes, both financially and from a programming standpoint, it at least appears both the network and Vitale have a good working relationship that they’re able to negotiate so often and smoothly. You would think a contract extension taking Vitale until he’s 82 years old and his 42nd season with ESPN would be his last, but based on the trend, don’t be surprised if you’re reading this same article next year.