Benched: NBC’s Mike Tirico talks Olympics postponement, and when sports might return

DETROIT – Mike Tirico is known as one of the busiest guys in sports. From Sunday Night Football, to PGA events, to the Olympics, he is the man at NBC.

But what is he up to now that sports are on hold?

“I’m figuring out how to cook again, getting caught up on emails and all of that stuff,” Tirico said. “I was in Florida when they stopped the PGA tour event, the Players Championship.”

The Players Championship was the last live sports event with fans before everything went dark.

Since then, Tirico said he and his family have been laying low. He said he has so much gratitude for all of the healthcare workers out on the front lines. He also said athletes stepping up in big ways warms his heart, especially Matthew and Kelly Stafford’s contributions to local first responders.

“What he and Kelly have done for our area has been extraordinary,” Tirico said of their history of philanthropy. Of their most recent donation of meals to healthcare workers he said: “One more time ringing the bell. That’s real leadership for our community.”

Tirico was a few weeks away from traveling to Tokyo to begin NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. As we found out last week, the Olympics are postponed until 2021. Tirico said planning an event of that magnitude in a few months, what usually takes seven years will be tough. He said he especially feels for the athletes.

“They have been planning for years to have their bodies plateau at just the right time and now they won’t be competing,” Tirico said. “I feel so bad for people who would make the Olympics this year, but maybe not next year.”

So when does he think sports will return? Answer: This summer, maybe July or August.

“If we get through this and get there, we’re going to have the most compact, exciting sports season,” he said. “All those spring events plus football getting started, baseball in shortened schedule. It could be a really exciting time in sports.”

Until then, he’s passing the time watching sports reruns, which are new to his young son.

“What would you pick to watch as if it were live again?” I asked.

“Forgive me Spartan and Wolverine fans, but we are a Syracuse family,” Tirico, a Syracuse alum, said. “I would go back and watch the 2003 National Championship in which the Orangemen beat Kansas for our first title. Actually, I did just go back and watch that.”


About the Author:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.