NBC’s Steve Kornacki has gotten a new role that expands his brand of data-nerd journalism to sports, making him one of the highest-profile out gay men in sports media.
Kornacki, 41, who became an internet sensation for his insightful coverage of the 2020 election results wearing a stapled-on tie and khakis while holding a pen in his mouth and a calculator in his hand, signed a four-year contract that expands his role into sports, including the NFL and Olympics, the Los Angeles Times reports.
NBCUniversal has ... given the youthful-looking correspondent a new multimillion-dollar four-year contract that will employ him across NBC Sports and its entertainment division in addition to NBC News, where he will be a mainstay of MSNBC’s political coverage. ...
In his new deal, Kornacki will be a regular analyst on NBC’s “Football Night in America” and the halftime report on “Sunday Night Football.” He will also be a part of the network’s Super Bowl telecast in 2022.
Kornacki will have a role in NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Games and Triple Crown horse racing — a sport he’s loved since childhood when he went to watch harness races with his uncle at Scarborough Downs in Maine. He will also break down statistics on NBCU’s regional sports channels, which carry National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and National Basketball Assn. games in several major markets.
On the entertainment side, Kornacki will develop, produce and host a game show for the network or NBCU’s streaming service, Peacock.
Kornacki came out as gay in 2011, saying at the time, “I just didn’t fit the stereotypes of gay men. I was an ESPN addict as far back as elementary school.” He built up a legion of fans that exploded during the November election with his ability to analyze and parse results as they came in by the minute. This led to a gig at the end of the 2020 NFL season analyzing playoff possibilities.
Kornacki has never made an issue of being gay, just being himself, and it has worked. He joins people like ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez, columnist Steve Buckley, Washington Post college sports writer Chuck Culpepper and sports radio host Jared Max as openly gay men in high-profile sports media roles.
It’s an awesome and well-deserved promotion for Kornacki, but I hope there was no dress code in his contract. NBC needs to know that Kornacki knows his fashion sense better than anybody else.