ESPN Strikes New Pact With Kevin Neghandi for ‘Sports Center’ and More

Rexa Vella

ESPN Strikes New Pact With Kevin Neghandi for ‘Sports Center’ and More

Kevin Neghandi may not be the most controversial sports analyst at ESPN — no one’s heard him slam executives on air or suggest he needs a higher salary — but he is making a name for himself as one of the show-iest. There may be no format or program that Neghandi cannot handle.

Yes, he is best known for co-anchoring the 6 p.m. edition of “Sports Center,” but Neghandi has also become an expected face during ESPN’s coverage of the Rose Bowl parade; the Special Olympics; the NBA Draft,; and college football games on Disney sibling ABC.

He may get the chance to try his hand at a few more things in months to come. ESPN has extended Neghandi’s contract so that he will celebrate more than 20 years at the Disney sports-media giant under his next term. “We’re very happy to have Kevin remaining with ESPN for years to come,” said Norby Williamson, executive editor and head of event and studio production at ESPN, in a statement. “He has contributed to our success in so many areas — ‘Sports Center,’ college football, NBA Draft, and more — and he’s a consummate professional in everything he touches.”

Neghandi says he’s always been open to trying new things, citing “that fear of never saying ‘what if’ when you look back at life. When I was in college, I said ‘yes’” to every offer that came his way, whether it meant working at the school paper or selling sportswear at retail. Over the years at ESPN, he has also participated in “Baseball Tonight,” “Outside the Lines,” “College Football Live” and the Little League World Series. His new contract comes a little more than two years after ESPN extended that of his “Sports Center” anchor, Elle Duncan.

He takes his Special Olympics gig particularly seriously, knowing that “we can share incredible stories of people who have been overlooked and denied the opportunity to basically havfe the chance to compete,” Neghandi says in an interview. “That’s what we all want. All we want is to be included.”

It’s a topic he’s particularly sensitive to, being one of the few national sportscasters of Indian-American descent. Neghandi has hosted the event on ESPN since 2015.

Before joining ESPN, Negandhi worked as a sports director at WWSB in Sarasota, Fla. A native of Phoenixville, Pa., Negandhi graduated from Temple University in 1997, and in 2013 was inducted into Temple’s School of Media and Communications Hall of Fame.

He’s interested in seeing how the rise of streaming will affect the medium. “Streaming is wide open,”: he says. “I think we are in the early part fo seeing what kind of impact we can have.”

No matter the assignment, Neghandi says he wants to do his best, particularly now that’s his deal has been renewed. “Where I’m at, I just want to continue to get better every day, make good TV, give fans something to remember and feel good about, and inform them and feel good about it.”

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