NBCUniversal’s Swiss Army Knife, Steve Kornacki, is back with NBC Sports working his third Kentucky Derby as insights analyst this coming Saturday, May 6.
Kornacki’s main gig is as NBC News’ national political correspondent. Among his responsibilities is manning the network’s Big Board on Election Night. However, Kornacki also contributes to NBC Sports’ programming, namely the network’s Sunday Night Football franchise during the fall and its live coverage of horse racing, including the Kentucky Derby, in the spring.
NBC Sports held its pre-Kentucky Derby conference call on Tuesday, and Kornacki, a participant on the call, fielded a question from a member of the press.
This question is for Steve Kornacki. Steve, you have such a deep following on the news and your big boards. How much do you enjoy now being integrated into the sports department?
Kornacki: It’s tough to put into words. I love it. I feel incredibly lucky, incredibly fortunate. The NBC Sports people have been unbelievably generous and welcoming to me. Their eagerness to include me means a ton to me.
I think, like I said, the sports opportunities I’ve had, particularly when it comes to the Derby itself and horse racing in general, I feel particularly lucky because I’m just such a big fan. It’s something, really going back to when I was a kid. This is a sport I followed really closely.
Even before I was doing Derby and horse racing coverage for NBC, I would spend – this is how I would spend my weekends, watching the races and me and my uncle having a phone call in the morning deciding which track we were going to play and kind of figuring out our strategy for the day. I’ve always just enjoyed the sport tremendously.
When I got to cover this in 2021 for the first time, it was the first time I actually got to go to the Derby in person. Just being there and getting the environment – ’21 was the first post-Covid year, so I think it was probably half capacity, but it felt pretty full to me. Just an incredible experience.
Like I said, whether it’s on horse racing or Sunday Night Football, the folks both on air and off I’ve gotten a chance to work with, sometimes I’ll look up and watching these races and watching the recaps, and I’ll realize, ‘geez, I’m getting to be in the same room as Jerry Bailey.’ There’s somebody who I’ve watched this guy ride. I remember so many of his races.
I’m getting to hear him maybe off the air even just give his unfiltered thoughts, and I find that is kind of a thrill for me.