ESPN has slowly started to transition its college basketball coverage at major games away from longtime broadcaster Dick Vitale, but the company isn’t ready to give him up quite yet.
Via its Twitter feed, ESPN announced Vitale signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him around through the 2017-18 season. The release said:
“Vitale will continue to call some of the season’s top games across ESPN networks, including regular-season action primarily on ESPN and ESPN2 and the Men’s Final Four for ESPN International.”
Vitale, who has basically been with ESPN since the channel’s launch, previously said he wants to broadcast a game when he’s 100 years old, per Nina Mandell of USA Today Sports.
Backing up a little but, though, there’s an important qualifier in ESPN’s statement: “some.”
Now, Vitale can’t call every major game, so of course he’ll be a part of “some” top games. But that also doesn’t mean Vitale will continue to stick on the broadcasts between big-name teams, particularly Duke vs. North Carolina.
Last season, for the first time in a long time, Vitale wasn’t a commentator for the Tobacco Road rivalry. Instead, ESPN turned to Jay Bilas, a tremendous basketball mind and deserving analyst.
While Vitale will remain a major part of ESPN’s coverage, it’s not clear if the company may slowly phase him out further as his contract winds down.
Nevertheless, Dickie V’s energy and enthusiasm isn’t leaving our television sets for a few more seasons. And that’s awesome, baby.
Photo: USA Today Sports