Arguably the busiest woman in sports managed to lead NBA Finals coverage on ESPN at the beginning of a week, and appear on NBC’s Olympics coverage just a few days later.
Shortly after her contract with ESPN expired, Maria Taylor joined the NBC Sports family as the 2021 Summer Olympics got underway on the latter’s air.
Taylor hosted ESPN’s NBA Finals coverage throughout the six-game series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, even working out an agreement with the higher-ups at ESPN to extend her deal long enough to cover the pivotal Game 6 in Milwaukee.
A day after the NBA Finals wrapped up, Taylor’s obligation to ESPN was over, and the two sides jointly announced that they would each be heading their separate ways moving forward.
“Maria’s remarkable success speaks directly to her abilities and work ethic,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro wrote in a statement. “There is no doubt we will miss Maria, but we remain determined to continue to build a deep and skilled talent roster that thoroughly reflects the athletes we cover and the fans we serve. While she chose to pursue a new opportunity, we are proud of the work we’ve done together.”
In Taylor’s statement, the Georgia native expressed her gratitude for her tenure at ESPN, which included coverage of collegiate sports, the NBA, the NFL and more.
“So thankful to Jimmy and all of my great teammates and friends at the SEC Network, College GameDay, Women’s and Men’s college basketball, and the NBA Countdown family — the people who believed in me, encouraged me, pushed me, and lifted me up,” Taylor said. “Words are inadequate to express my boundless appreciation, and I hope to make them proud.”
Just two days later, Taylor was introduced by NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico as a member of NBC’s Summer Olympics team, live from Tokyo Bay Terrace.
“Maria has excelled in a wide range of roles at marquee events, and will be a powerful addition to our team,” NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement. We are always looking to improve, and Maria is going to make us better. We are very excited for her to join us right away in Tokyo.”
Taylor and Tirico’s paths will cross frequently over the next few years on NBC Sports programming, as NBC said Taylor will serve as a host and contributor for Football Night in America and Super Bowls in the coming years, along with work on “premier NBC Sports properties.”
Tirico currently hosts Football Night in America for NBC’s Sunday Night Football games, and seems to be next in line to replace Al Michaels in the SNF booth alongside analyst Cris Collinsworth when Michaels’ contract runs out following the 2021 NFL season.
Taylor will undoubtedly add loads of value to NBC Sports broadcasts, bringing a wide-ranging background as a studio host across a litany of sports to coincide with years of sideline reporting experience in a variety of settings.
In the first seven months of 2021 alone, she contributed to ESPN’s College Football Playoffs, the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament, the 2020-2021 NBA season, and the entirety of the NBA postseason, all before heading to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics.
“Literally, hosting the Olympics, Football Night in America, and the Super Bowl is what I dreamed of when I started in television – and this would not be possible without standing on the shoulders of all of those who came before me and made this path possible,” Taylor said in NBC’s press release. “And I plan to pay it forward.”