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Face Facts: Tony Reali Enters His 20th Year At ESPN With New Deal

“My goal for every show, every day is to make people feel,” says Reali, who's evolved from PTI's "Stat Boy" to Around The Horn's sharp MC

Around the Horn host Tony Reali has a new multi-year contract as he enters his 20th year on-air for ESPN. Yes, 20 years!

Reali started as a fresh-out-of-Fordham 21-year-old. Now, he’s a husband and father, and he still has the same boundless energy and positivity – both on-air and off – that he brought to ESPN two decades ago.

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“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 Vice President, Event and Studio Production and Executive Editor, Norby Williamson. “With multiple panelists and the scoring component, hosting this show is very challenging, yet Tony makes it look effortless.”

In 2000, Reali began working as a researcher and writer for the sports-themed ESPN quiz show Two Minute Drill. After Pardon the Interruption debuted in 2001, Reali assumed the role of “Stat Boy,” the end-of-show ombudsman responsible for any omissions or errors made by Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

On PTI, Reali exhibited a knack for artfully correcting sportswriters. That led to 10 or so fill-in opportunities on Around the Horn in 2003 before he was named the full-time host in February 2004.

Seventeen years and more than 3,800 ATH shows later, Reali remains the welcoming face at the console every weekday at 5 p.m., ready to score the day’s sports discussions – and mute, when necessary.

A host with a producer’s mentality, Reali has helped mentor ATH’s recent influx of new panelists. He has also used his platform to speak openly about mental health awareness and other important issues, and he has been a champion for Special Olympics.

“My goal for every show, every day is to make people feel,” said Reali. “I want people to remember what we say and what we did – mute faces! – but I’m most proud that we make people feel.”

Shelby L. Lacy produced the video. ESPN Images provided the Reali photos.

(Illustration: Bill Hofheimer/ESPN)
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