Whether you like him or not, it appears that ESPN original Chris Berman will be at the network until late in the decade, almost to his 40th anniversary. It means social media will have Berman to kick around for a long time.
Berman began with ESPN when it was a little cable network on September 7, 1979. On the network’s 33rd birthday, ESPN signs Berman to this extension.
Under the contract, Berman will continue to host Sunday and Monday NFL Countdown and the NFL Draft. He’ll also keep calling the first half of the U.S. Open golf tournament as well as the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby.
And of course on Monday, Berman will call his first NFL game. Here’s the press release.
Chris Berman Signs Multi-Year ESPN Extension
Six-time National Sportscaster of the Year Chris Berman, who joined ESPN in October 1979 – less than a month after the network launched – has signed a new multi-year extension to remain with ESPN. One of the preeminent sports commentators of his generation, Berman will continue as the leading voice and face of ESPN’s National Football League studio coverage as host of Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and Monday Night Football halftime, NFL highlight segments on SportsCenter and the NFL Draft. He will also continue to host the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and ESPN’s U.S. Open golf coverage.
Berman’s extension will officially begin in 2013. At the conclusion of his new deal, Berman will have worked for ESPN for nearly 40 years.
A fixture on ESPN’s NFL Sundays, Berman is set to begin his 28th year as host of Sunday NFL Countdown (formerly NFL Gameday) this weekend. His tenure pre-dates ESPN’s first NFL television contract and is by far the longest streak ever among all weekly pro football studio show hosts. Also a fan favorite for his signature calls on NFL highlights, Berman earned widespread acclaim as host of the classic NFL PrimeTime from 1987-2005, alongside his longtime on-air partner Tom Jackson. In 2010, Berman received the distinguished Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.
ESPN President John Skipper said:?? “On the day we commemorate our company’s birthday, it’s fitting we extend our relationship with Chris, arguably the most recognizable face and voice in ESPN’s history. Since arriving in Bristol in 1979, Chris’ passion and enthusiasm, and, of course his signature highlights, have long been his trademarks, earning him a special place among fans for more than three decades.”
“For more than three decades, Chris has developed a special relationship with our fans, especially fans of the NFL. He is synonymous with our coverage of the league and other major events, and we’re thrilled he will remain an integral part of ESPN in the years ahead,” added ESPN Executive Vice President, Production John Wildhack.??
Said Berman: “I never could have dreamed that ESPN would be my home as a young man in his 20’s all the way to a not-so-young man in his 60’s. It’s always been a privilege to work alongside thousands of colleagues who love the sports we cover and the people who make them so special. It remains an honor to be welcomed into the homes of sports fans far and wide, and I’m thrilled to be able to continue such a marvelous journey.”
In addition to occupying his familiar host position on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown –Sept. 9 (10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET), Berman will handle NFL play-by-play for the first time in his career on Monday night, Sept. 10, when he calls the San Diego Chargers-Oakland Raiders game (10:15 p.m.) alongside Trent Dilfer as part of ESPN’s season-opening MNF doubleheader.
Let the negative comments begin.