Maria Taylor might be leaving ESPN for a major role at NBC Sports. Taylor — whose contract with ESPN expires during the NBA Finals — is reportedly nearing a deal with NBC Sports, according to Front Office Sports and the New York Post.
The Post's Andrew Marchand reported Wednesday night that NBC wants Taylor to join the network as soon as July 23, just in time for its Olympics coverage. Her ESPN contract ends on July 20, which is Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
It's unclear how much money Taylor would make as part of the deal, but ESPN was reportedly offering Taylor $3 million to stay, so the NBC Sports figure would likely top that.
From the Post:
ESPN may have the right to match an NBC offer, so it is not clear if Taylor would need ESPN’s permission to work so quickly for NBC. Contracts often have matching rights, though they are seldom used.
NBC Sports could have big plans for Taylor if she takes their offer. Front Office Sports mentions Taylor could host "Football Night in America" when Mike Tirico takes over play-by-play duty for Al Michaels. Tirico currently hosts "Football Night in America," but is expected to take over for Michaels once his contract expires after the 2021 season.
Taylor has also worked on "College GameDay" at ESPN, and could be involved with Notre Dame broadcasts at NBC Sports.
Taylor's deal with NBC isn't finalized yet. It's currently "at the half-yard line," a source told Front Office Sports. The source noted, "That can still be a long way in contract negotiations."
Maria Taylor in the spotlight at ESPN after Rachel Nichols fiasco
Taylor's tenure at ESPN could end on a negative note after she was the subject of leaked 'diversity' comments from colleague Rachel Nichols. During the conversation, Nichols implied ESPN only wanted to advance Taylor due to the network's poor track record with diversity.
A number of employees at ESPN were furious over Nichols' comments. Nichols apologized to Taylor during an episode of Nichols' show "The Jump," and was then replaced as the NBA Finals sideline reporter by Malika Andrews.
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