ESPN Adds Bill Polian, Chris Evert to On-Air Talent Pool
ESPN has added two familiar names to its talent pool this week, bringing aboard former Indianapolis Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian and tennis great Chris Evert to provide on-air analysis for its NFL and tennis coverage, respectively.
Polian to Offer Front Office Analysis
Polian, a six time NFL Executive of the Year, will appear throughout the year on NFL Live, NFL32, and SportsCenter, as well as contribute to ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Radio and other platforms. Known for his integral role in building dynasties in Indianapolis during the 2000’s and Buffalo in the early 1990’s (as well as kick-starting the expansion Panthers in the mid 90’s), Polian will focus on the NFL Draft, free agency and the multitude of other business-related aspects of pro football, including player transactions, trades, salary cap issues and league rules.
“Bill Polian has experienced it all during his two-and-a-half decades as a NFL general manager and team executive and we will tap into his expertise immediately on ESPN in preparation for the upcoming NFL Draft, free agency and arguably the biggest offseason story in years with the future of his former quarterback Peyton Manning still to be determined,” says Seth Markman, ESPN senior coordinating producer for NFL studio shows.
Polian adds: “I’m excited to be joining ESPN. It presents another opportunity for me to remain involved in the game I love while allowing me to view it from a different angle. I hope I can bring new insight to the millions of loyal ESPN football viewers.”
Evert Takes the Court for ESPN
Evert, who joined ESPN at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, has signed a four-year deal to work all four of tennis’ majors and other events. One of the most accomplished players in history, she also recently worked the Australian Open (including the women’s final) on ESPN2 and will help call the French Open this summer.
“Last year we quickly discovered what Chris brings to our telecasts – the perspective of having been at the sport’s pinnacle, keen knowledge of the game today and a personality that sparkles with both candor and humor,” says John Wildhack, ESPN EVP, production. “She instantly fit well into our hard-working team and it’s appropriate a champion of all the Grand Slam events will work all four for us.”
Evert won 18 major singles championships, Evert retired in 1989 with 157 singles titles overall, and a career win-loss record of 1,309-146 (.900), the best of any professional player in history. She was a unanimous selection to the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995. In the past, she has worked as an analyst for NBC.
“Everyone from ESPN – from the commentators to the production staff – made me feel part of the family from day one,” says Evert. “I couldn’t ask for a more helpful or engaging group of people to team with. The Grand Slams were such an important part of my life, and I am excited to be going back to them. I look forward to expressing the emotions, as well as the strategies, that the current players are feeling at these special events.”