Tennis

For Tirico’s U.K. suitcase, dozens of ties and plenty of shoes make the cut

Mike Tirico says he has "100 or so" ties in his wardrobe; for his Wimbledon and The Open assignments in the United Kingdom, he brought about two dozen. (ESPN Images)
Mike Tirico says he has “100 or so” ties in his wardrobe; for his Wimbledon and The Open Championship assignments in the United Kingdom, he brought about two dozen. (ESPN Images)

LONDON – Mike Tirico spends a lot of the year living out of a suitcase.

He covers Monday Night Football, NBA, college hoops, some golf plus tennis’ US Open and now at Wimbledon, where he’s spending a fortnight before heading straight to The Open Championship in Scotland.

Most of those trips are short – two or three days, generally. But regardless of the length, the biggest issue he faces when packing is – ironically, something viewers at home won’t see – his shoes.

“You have to manage your shoes properly,” he says. “It’s the biggest issue for me. [SportsCenter anchor] Scott Van Pelt and I joke how many shoes we need, even for a weekend golf tournament.”

For Tirico’s toes, the choices range from the professional to the comfortable.

“You need the business look, and in both brown and black,” he says. “Plus casual loafers, flip-flops, workout sneakers and gum-soled golf shoes – called “teaching shoes” as they have no spikes – which are the easiest way to get around a golf course. They are my salvation.”

As for what viewers will see, Tirico admits the guys have it easier than the ladies.

“I bet [SportsCenter anchor and Wimbledon studio anchor] Chris McKendry won’t repeat a dress in the two weeks here,” he predicts. “All I have to do is change my tie and it’s a completely different look.”

For his current business trip through the United Kingdom, Tirico chose about two dozen from the “100 or so” ties currently in his Michigan home’s closet. But he doesn’t plan out which goes with what as he packs.

He plays it by ear.

“I won’t repeat a tie, but I choose day by day, to reflect the mood,” he says. “It’s the one way for a guy to stand out.”

But he also thinks fans should focus on other things than what the sportscasters are wearing.

“There is not one single person on the face of the earth taking inventory on what I’m wearing on TV,” he admits. “And if anyone is, I’d suggest they get outside more or get some hobbies.”

BG eschews shoes on the road
Brad Gilbert sporting one of his many pocket squares. (Ben Solomon/ESPN
Brad Gilbert sporting one of his many pocket squares. (Ben Solomon/ESPN)

Like Mike Tirico, tennis analyst Brad Gilbert is particular about what footwear he takes on the road, matching the occasion with the style and comfort appropriate. But he doesn’t have a single shoe, per se, at Wimbledon. For the one-time No. 4 player in the world, it’s sneakers 24/7.

“I have three pairs of dress sneakers – black, blue and brown,” he explains. “Plus tennis shoes for when I can get a hit in here, and running shoes for a quick jog or the gym, and flip-flops.”

He also differs from Tirico when it comes to ties. Gilbert doesn’t wear them.

“I have zero ties,” Gilbert freely admits. “But I have about 30 handkerchiefs with me for my blazers.”

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