Sports | April 14, 2021 11:02 am

Former ESPN “Stat Boy” Tony Reali Has New Multiyear Deal at The Worldwide Leader

Reali will continue as the full-time host of "Around the Horn," a gig he's had since February 2004

Tony Reali in 2014
Tony Reali attends ESPN The Party at Basketball City in 2014 in New York City.
Michael Loccisano/Getty

Since starting his on-air career at ESPN two decades ago as “Stat Boy” on Pardon the Interruption, Tony Reali has grown into a very successful middle-aged man.

That being the case, The Worldwide Leader has rewarded 42-year-old Reali with a new multiyear contract that will see him continue to serve as the full-time host of Around the Horn, a gig he’s had since February 2004.

After getting his foot in the door as a researcher and writer for the sports-themed ESPN quiz show Two Minute Drill as a 21-year-old Fordham grad, Reali took on the role of “Stat Boy” correcting the errors of hosts Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser on PTI.

Reali’s success on PTI, which debuted in 2001, led to him filling in as the host of Around the Horn, and he eventually seized the role on a full-time basis. “My goal for every show, every day is to make people feel,” Reali said in a press release. “I want people to remember what we say and what we did – mute faces! – but I’m most proud that we make people feel.”

Since Reali began hosting Around the Horn approximately 17 years ago, the show has aired more than 3,800 times, and he has handed out countless numbers of points that don’t really matter. If you add in his stint on PTI, Reali has probably been on somewhere close to 5,000 late-afternoon/early-evening shows during his time at ESPN.

“We could be looking at some historic numbers whenever Reali decides to hang up his mute button,”  Kyle Koster writes on The Big Lead. “There’s a decent argument to be made that he has a fringe case already for enshrinement in the network Hall of Fame, or at the very least, have his sport coat retired and raised to the rafters. If Reali keeps on chugging, it’s within reason he’ll reach 10,000 shows. Ten thousand!

To mark the announcement of the contract extension, ESPN created a very weird video showing the way that Reali’s face has aged over the past 20 years or so. (Why they didn’t do this to mark 81-year-old Dick Vitale’s contract extension, we’ll never know.)

“Tony is the face of Around the Horn and he’s a big reason why the show has been a staple of ESPN’s weekday programming lineup all these years,” said ESPN executive VP Norby Williamson. “With multiple panelists and the scoring component, hosting this show is very challenging, yet Tony makes it look effortless.”

Stat Boy, all growed up.