ESPN isn’t letting one Philly guy go.
The network has locked down the popular SportsCenter host and Temple graduate Kevin Negandhi with a new multi-year contract extension, the Inquirer has learned. Terms of the deal are unknown.
Since taking over as the anchor of the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter in 2018, Negandhi and co-host Sage Steele have been instrumental in stabilizing the flagship show’s TV ratings. The show lost viewers during its experimental SC6 days for myriad reasons, with hosts Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, both of whom have since left the network.
During the fourth quarter of 2019, the 6 p.m. SportsCenter was up slightly over last year, averaging 553,000 viewers. The show also had five months of viewership growth in 2019 and eight in 2018, not a small achievement in an era when TV ratings for everything outside of live sporting events continue to decline.
Negandhi, a Chester County native, first joined ESPN in 2006 after serving as the sports director at the ABC-affiliate in Sarasota, Fla. In addition to his role on SportsCenter, Negandhi is a studio host on ESPN on ABC College Football and has hosted the network’s coverage of the Special Olympics World Games. He also hosts the ESPN College Football Podcast alongside Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack. He was also the first Indian-American to ever serve on as an anchor on national sports network.
“I like to be open-minded and just work,” Negandhi, 44, told the Inquirer. “Over time, I just did my job and found ways to challenge myself to get better while enjoying the process.”
Thanks to his various jobs at ESPN, Negandhi has a 700-level view for all the major sports storylines that will unfold in 2020. So which does he think will be the most interesting to follow as the year progresses?