Anchor Neil Everett is leaving ESPN, Front Office Sports has confirmed.
The famous “SportsCenter” anchor confirmed he’s the latest on-air talent to leave during the Walt Disney Co.-mandated downsizing of ESPN’s on-air TV/radio talent.
The 61-year-old Everett has been one of ESPN’s most popular anchors for 23 years.
The Portland native will seek to increase his role with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. He also has several side projects in the works.
“Bartender…last call,” Everett said in a statement to Front Office Sports.
He added: “ESPN changed my life, but now it’s time for me to change my life. Time to write a new chapter.”
The wisecracking Everett and Stan Verrett have worked together in Los Angeles since 2009. Their late edition from the West Coast puts them among the longest-running and most effective “SportsCenter” duos ever.
Everett’s known for his “Bartender, Jack” call on home runs and musical references. He’s also co-starred in some of the network’s mockumentary “This is SportsCenter” commercials.
Everett spent 15 years in local TV in Hawaii before joining ESPN in July 2000 (Hence his “Aloha” call).
Verrett tweeted a salute to his longtime partner reading: “I started at ESPN in 2000, a few months after Neil Everett. We joined up for ‘SportsCenter’ from LA in 2009. For 14 years, he was the best teammate I could imagine. Selfless, caring, generous, and a pro’s pro. He’s moving on now, but we are brothers for life. That’ll never change.”
One source said Everett was offered a new deal at a reduced salary — and turned it down, similar to Kenny Mayne in 2021. Another said his contract was not renewed. In 2021, Mayne told Richard Deitsch of The Athletic that ESPN offered him a 61% paycut.
An ESPN spokesman confirmed that Everett’s contract was not being renewed.
ESPN previously announced contract extension for anchors Everett, Verrett, Ashley Brewer and Linda Cohn in July, 2021.
Everett’s pending departure doesn’t appear to impact Verrett, Brewer and Cohn’s roles at ESPN’s Los Angeles studio operation, said sources.
Separately, Everett has served with the Trail Blazers for two years. He’s worked both pregame and post-game shows. He also hosted a pair of alternate telecasts this season.
Front Office Sports previously broke the news that ESPN would not renew NHL analyst Chris Chelios’ contract. More front-facing talent names will emerge this month as the network completes it cost-cutting “talent exercise.”
The ESPN budget cuts are part of Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger’s strategy to slash 7,000 jobs and $5.5 billion in costs worldwide.
At the same time, ESPN is still spending big money on new talent. It just gave a monster $85 million, five-year deal to breakout star Pat McAfee.
ESPN declined to comment.