ESPN has been on fire in terms of announcing the re-signings of on-air talent. While this new policy from Bristol HQ is being done to counteract perceptions of a talent exodus, the release of more information to fans and viewers is always a good thing. After re-signing a group of their NFL reporters earlier this month, ESPN announced the re-signing of several play by play men yesterday across sports to multiyear contracts. The list includes some fairly big names as well. The six individuals are:
It's always interesting what you can learn in these announcements. For instance, did you know Mark Jones first worked for ESPN back in 1990?!? That's over 20 years! Who knew? As far as the rest of the gang of six, McDonough and Nessler are two of the most highly respected play by play men in the business while Pasch, Tessitore, and Wichusen also play valuable roles for the network.
Nessler has excelled in college sports for ESPN after a cup of coffee calling the NBA Finals. His value as a broadcaster can be seen in his work as NFL Network's #1 play by play man as well. McDonough may be part of the best booth in all of sports with Jay Bilas & Bill Raftery and is one of the most underrated pxp guys in the business. McDonough does not only college basketball and football, but also baseball and golf. Really, it'd be nice to see him get higher profile assignments as well.
Joe Tessitore is another name to watch as his Friday night pairing with Rod Gilmore has become one of the broadcast duos du jour in the last two years. Their work calling some memorable games in that timeslot has produced an amount of exciting games Gus Johnson would be proud of. Tessitore also contributes as the host of College Football Live and Friday Night Fights. It wouldn't surprise me to see Tessitore be someone that can break out of the pack over the next few years, and to some extent he has already done so.
It's also a time like this one recognizes the depth of quality announcers at ESPN. Were any one of these six to defect to NBC, CBS, or Fox it would be seen as a valuable addition to their network. Nevertheless, they will each stay in Bristol for the foreseeable future.