Bob Costas


Bob Costas : biography

March 22, 1952 –

Broadcasting career

Early career

His sportscasting career started while attending Syracuse University, as an announcer for the Syracuse Blazers minor-league hockey team playing in the Eastern Hockey League and North American Hockey League.

Costas began his professional career at KMOX radio in St. Louis, Missouri, where he served as a play-by-play announcer for the Spirits of St. Louis of the American Basketball Association in 1974. He also called Missouri Tigers basketball for KMOX, and co-hosted the station’s Open Line call-in program.

He was a prominent contributor to the ABA book Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association. He is extensively quoted on many topics, and the book includes his reflections of ABA life during his tenure as radio voice of the Spirits of St. Louis.

Costas later did play-by-play for Chicago Bulls broadcasts on WGN-TV during the 1979–1980 NBA season.Database (undated). . The Museum of Classic Chicago Television. Retrieved August 5, 2012.Database (undated). . The Museum of Classic Chicago Television. Retrieved August 5, 2012. He was also employed by CBS Sports as a regional CBS NFL and CBS NBA announcer from 1976 to 1979, when he moved to NBC.

NBC Sports

When Costas was first hired by NBC, Don Ohlmeyer, who at the time ran the network’s sports division, told the then 28-year-old Costas that he looked like a 14-year-old (a story that Costas would recite during an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien when O’Brien commented about Costas’ apparent inability to "age" normally). Ohlmeyer presumably based his reaction on Costas’ modest stature (Costas is 5′ 7" in height) and boyish, babyfaced appearance.

He has been an in-studio host for NBC’s National Football League coverage and a play-by-play man for National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball coverage. Costas has teamed with Isiah Thomas and Doug Collins for NBA telecasts (from 1997–2000) and Sal Bando{} (1982), Tony Kubek (from 1983–1989), Joe Morgan and Bob Uecker (from 1994–2000) for baseball telecasts. Before becoming the studio host for The NFL on NBC in 1984, Costas did play-by-play of NFL games with analyst Bob Trumpy.

Since 2001, he has been the co-host of the Kentucky Derby. Since 1995, Costas has also hosted NBC’s coverage of the U.S. Open golf tournament.

In 2009, he hosted Bravo’s coverage of the 2009 Kentucky Oaks.

With the introduction of the NBC Sports Network, Costas also became the host of the new monthly interview program Costas Tonight.


Costas has frontlined many Olympics broadcasts for NBC. They include the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, Sydney in 2000, Salt Lake City in 2002, Athens in 2004, Turin in 2006, Beijing in 2008, Vancouver in 2010, and London in 2012. He discusses his work on the Olympic telecasts extensively in a book by Andrew Billings entitled Olympic Media: Inside the Biggest Show on Television. A personal influence on Costas has been legendary ABC Sports broadcaster Jim McKay, who hosted many Olympics for ABC from the 1960s to the 1980s.(June 7, 2008). . NBC Sports. Retrieved July 31, 2012.

During the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Opening Ceremonies, Costas’ remarks on China’s teams’ possible drug use caused an uproar among the American Chinese and international communities. Thousands of dollars were raised to purchase ads in the The Washington Post and Sunday The New York Times, featuring an image of the head of a statue of Apollo and reading: "Costas Poisoned Olympic Spirit, Public Protests NBC." However, Costas’ comments were made subsequent to the suspension of Chinese coach Zhou Ming after seven of his swimmers were caught using steroids in 1994. Further evidence of Chinese athletes’ drug use came in 1997 when Australian authorities confiscated 13 vials of Somatropin, a human growth hormone, from the bag of Chinese swimmer Yuan Yuan upon her arrival for the 1997 World Swimming Championships. At the World Championships, four Chinese swimmers tested positive for the banned substance Triamterene, a diuretic used to dilute urine samples in order to mask the presence of anabolic steroids. Including these failed drug tests, 27 Chinese swimmers were caught using performance enhancing drugs from 1990 through 1997; more than the rest of the world combined.