ESPN’s Maria Taylor is near to closing a potential deal with NBC Sports, which is hoping to secure the broadcasting talent in time for Olympics coverage, Front Office Sports reports. According to “sources” that revealed the information to the outlet on Wednesday (July 14), Taylor could become the new host of “Football Night in America.”
Meanwhile, the network’s Mike Tirico will transition into the play-by-play reporting position that has long been held by Al Michaels. Front Office Sports writes that Taylor could also contribute to NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame football seeing as she has experience with ESPN’s “College GameDay” broadcast.
“The deal’s at the half-yard line,” an unnamed source told the outlet. “But that can still be a long way in contract negotiations.” Taylor hasn’t accepted the deal yet and ESPN might also still raise its offer.
Taylor’s contract with ESPN is set to expire this month. Last week, it was reported that the network offered to triple her $1 million per year salary to $3 million, but the former University of Georgia athlete is seeking $5 million or more. If ESPN meets her at that figure, Taylor would make more than NFL reporter Adam Schefter, but less than Mike Greenberg and Stephen A. Smith. Her contract with the network expires on July 20.
The news of a potential deal with ESPN’s rivaling company also arrives after Taylor’s colleague was recorded making disparaging remarks about her. As reported by REVOLT, reporter Rachel Nichols was heard talking by phone with LeBron James’ spokesperson Adam Mendelsohn about Taylor receiving NBA Finals hosting duties over her last year.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it,” she said during the call. “Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
Nichols later apologized for her comments and was taken off sideline reporting for this year’s NBA Finals.