REVISITING NBC SPORTS GREAT ACQUISITION, OF ONE OF THE MOST EXHILARATING, SPORTS HOSTS IN THE INDUSTRY, “Maria Taylor”, whose work has already included many of the biggest events in sports, joins NBC Sports beginning with the Tokyo Olympics. She comes to NBC Sports after nearly a decade at ABC/ESPN, where she most recently hosted the NBA Finals

REVISITING NBC SPORTS GREAT ACQUISITION, OF ONE OF THE MOST EXHILARATING, SPORTS HOSTS IN THE INDUSTRY, “Maria Taylor”, whose work has already included many of the biggest events in sports, joins NBC Sports beginning with the Tokyo Olympics. She comes to NBC Sports after nearly a decade at ABC/ESPN, where she most recently hosted the NBA Finals

Maria Taylor makes a Great NBC debut during the broadcast of 2021 Olympics opening ceremony.

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Maria Taylor’s NBC career began with a surprise appearance from Tokyo before the rebroadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday evening in the United States.

“We are thrilled to welcome a new member to our NBC sports and Olympic family: Maria Taylor,” Mike Tirico, one of the hosts of the opening ceremony, told viewers. “Maria, welcome to Tokyo and the team.” Taylor then introduced a short feature about the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, which she also narrated.

It has been a whirlwind few days for Taylor. On Tuesday, she hosted coverage of the N.B.A. finals in Milwaukee as an ESPN employee. On Wednesday, ESPN announced that it could not agree on a contract extension with her. On Friday, she was working for NBC at the Olympics.

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According to a news release announcing her new roles, Taylor will join Tirico in hosting NBC’s late-night Olympic coverage and serve as a correspondent. After the Olympics, she will host coverage of the biggest events NBC has rights to.

“Literally, hosting the Olympics, ‘Football Night in America,’ and the Super Bowl is what I dreamed of when I started in television,” she said in the release. Taylor will be especially essential to NBC next February, when the Super Bowl takes place in Los Angeles during the middle of the Winter Games in Beijing.

Taylor departed ESPN after a tumultuous year. One of her colleagues, Rachel Nichols, made disparaging comments about Taylor last July. In a conversation with an adviser to LeBron James that Nichols was unaware was being recorded, Nichols, who is white, said that she had lost the N.B.A. finals hosting duties to Taylor, who is Black, because ESPN executives were “feeling pressure” on diversity.

The comments, and the way ESPN executives handled them, contributed to long-running tension among employees who cover the N.B.A. The controversy overshadowed the beginning of the N.B.A. finals, and Adam Silver, the commissioner of the N.B.A., said he thought that “ESPN would have found a way to be able to work through it.”

They did not, and as soon as she had the opportunity, Taylor left for another television company.

A look back at Maria Taylor’s career as she debuts for NBC Sports at Tokyo Olympics

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Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for IMG)

To the surprise of almost no one, NBC has added a new talent to its sports broadcast roster: Maria Taylor. She was seen Tuesday night in Milwaukee working for ESPN as the Bucks clinched the NBA championship. That ended her run at the Worldwide Leader, and now she has debuted in Tokyo for the Peacock network. Ahead of her Olympics debut, let’s take a look back at her remarkable journey so far…

A volleyball star

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Joshua L. Jones via Imagn Content Service

Taylor received an athletic scholarship to the University of Georgia, where she played volleyball and basketball from 2005-2009. While at Georgia she was named a member of the All-SEC volleyball team each season. She also continued to play for the U.S. Volleyball Junior National A2 team and helped them win a bronze medal during the Open Division of the U.S. Volleyball Championships.

Time with ESPN

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(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for ESPN)

Taylor had been with ESPN since 2014. She hosted “NBA Countdown” since 2019 as well as being a reporter for “College GameDay” and ABC “Saturday Night Football” since 2017.

Taylor started her career by covering the Dawgs

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: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor was a reporter and host for IMG College at the University of Georgia for three years. She also appeared on various studio shows including Dawg Report, SEC Men’s Basketball Tonight, and SportsNite.

Her next big move came in 2014

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor joined the SEC Network in 2014. She was a college football reporter with commentator Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer, and was also an analyst on other SEC telecasts including volleyball and women’s basketball.

A major offer

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In 2020 it was reported ESPN made an offer that would have placed Taylor’s salary at near $5 million, but Taylor chose not to negotiate at the time.

COVID-19 impacted negotiations

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USAT

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, things changed financially across the landscape. ESPN was no different and its most recent reported offer to Taylor, 34, was a raise from $1 million to the neighborhood of $3 million, according to the New York Post.

The “Rachel Nichols” incident

 

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A story ran during the NBA playoffs and it exploded beyond sports media circles. Per the New York Post: a private recording of leaked comments was reported by the New York Times in which fellow NBA host/reporter Rachel Nichols alleged ESPN gave Taylor the Finals hosting job to make up for what Nichols described as the network’s “crappy longtime record on diversity.”

The impact

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‘Dream Come True’: Maria Taylor Makes NBC Sports Debut Covering the Tokyo Olympics After Rocky Departure from ESPN

‘Dream Come True’: Maria Taylor Makes NBC Sports Debut Covering the Tokyo Olympics After Rocky Departure from ESPN

Sports reporter Maria Taylor has accepted a new role at NBC Sports following failed contract negotiations with ESPN.

The longtime football reporter made her first NBC appearance as she covered opening day of the Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 23. According to the network, Taylor will also take on duties of hosting and contributing to “Football in America,” Super Bowls, and NFL coverage. Whispers of her mulling over a possible opportunity with network began circulating mid-July.

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Maria Taylor made her NBC Sports debut during opening day coverage of the Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 23. (Photo: @mariataylor/Instagram)

“Maria has excelled in a wide range of roles at marquee events, and will be a powerful addition to our team,” said Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports. “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.

For a decade Taylor covered professional and collegiate football, as well as other sports, at ESPN. She most recently covered the NBA playoffs and Finals, a gig she first landed last season. However, the experienced reporter was thrust into a storm of headlines over a month ago when leaked audio of a phone former colleague Rachel Nichols was publicized by The New York Times and other outlets. In the recording, which took place in July 2020, Nichols is heard insinuating that Taylor was only given the opportunity to hosts the 2020 playoffs as a diversity hire.

ESPN attempted to smooth things over in-house, but a resolution ultimately was not met before the public was able to cast judgment. Going into the 2021 playoffs Taylor’s contract with the ESPN was set to expire, sparking weeks of negotiations of a possible extension. In the end, Taylor opted to move on to new opportunities.

While appearing during the day one of Olympic coverage she said it was a “dream come true.”

“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 possible without standing on the shoulders of all of those who came before me and made this path possible. And I lean to pay it forward,” she said in released statement.

Taylor’s supportive following, many of whom had hoped she would leave ESPN, were equally thrilled to see she landed on her feet at NBC Sports.

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MARIA TAYLOR JOINS NBC SPORTS, MAKES DEBUT AT TOKYO OLYMPICS

STAMFORD, Conn. – July 23, 2021 – Maria Taylor, whose work has already included many of the biggest events in sports, joins NBC Sports beginning with the Tokyo Olympics. She comes to NBC Sports after nearly a decade at ABC/ESPN, where she most recently hosted the NBA Finals earlier this week.

Highlighted by host roles for the Olympics and the NFL – including as a host and contributor for Football Night in America and Super Bowls – Taylor will work across premier NBC Sports properties. In Tokyo, her very first assignment as part of the NBC Sports team, she will join Mike Tirico as host for Prime Plus, and will also serve as a correspondent.

“Maria has excelled in a wide range of roles at marquee events, and will be a powerful addition to our team. 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,” said Pete Bevacqua, Chairman, NBC Sports.

“Incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work with Pete, Molly, Sam, Fred, and the entire NBC Sports family,” Taylor said. “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. And I plan to pay it forward.”

A graduate of the University of Georgia, Taylor played basketball and was a three-time All-SEC volleyball player. She was also a member of the USA A2 National Volleyball team. Taylor delivered the commencement address at her alma mater in May, marking the 60-year anniversary of the university’s integration.

ABOUT NBC OLYMPICS

A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. NBC Olympics is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights on all platforms to all Olympic Games through 2032.

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NBC apparently has huge plans for Taylor. She could become the host of “Football Night in America,” when Mike Tirico moves to the full-time “Sunday Night Football” play-by-play position in the fall of 2022. Taylor could also have a role on Notre Dame football this season.

Before all of that, however, we’ll get to enjoy her at the Tokyo Olympics.

Broadcaster Maria Taylor Earns Praise in NBC Sports Debut at Tokyo Olympics

Mike Tirico introduced Maria Taylor during the Olympic Opening Ceremony

Maria Taylor made her NBC Sports debut in grand fashion at the Tokyo Olympics, appearing alongside NBC Olympics primetime host Mike Tirico during the Opening Ceremony.

Taylor joined NBC less than a week after her contract with ESPN expired, and NBC formally made the announcement during its primetime Olympic show Friday before a replay of the opening ceremony.

In her debut, Taylor said “It’s an honor to be a part of this team and the Olympic legacy.”

Notable individuals from the sports world praised Taylor’s debut at the Olympic opening ceremony.

Taylor Tweeted about her NBC Sports debut, calling it an “Olympic dream come true.”

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