NBC announces Hosts for 'Spartan Race' competition

Dhani Jones,  Kyle Martino, Evan Dollard and MJ Acosta Dhani Jones, left, and Kyle Martino, will host 'Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge,' with Evan Dollard and MJ Acosta serving as course reporters. (Photo: Mark Hill, NBC)

The hosts and reporters of NBC's Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge know a thing or two about physical competition.

Dhani Jones, a former NFL linebacker, and Kyle Martino, who played for Major League Soccer (MLS) teams and the U.S. national team, will host the series, NBC announced Thursday. Evan Dollard, known to fans of American Gladiators and American Ninja Warrior, and MJ Acosta, a TV sports anchor and boxing announcer, will serve as course reporters.

Spartan is inspired by Spartan Race (www.spartan.com), a leading creator of obstacle races, and is produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, the company behind NBC's American Ninja Warrior. Spartan Race, which oversees events in more than 25 countries, features competitions for all fitness levels, including competitive and elite heats.

In each episode, six teams of five players – a Spartan elite along with two men and two women – will take on difficult obstacle courses that feature "mud, frigid water and razor-sharp barbed wire." The overall competition will include 36 teams, which can be made up of friends, family members or co-workers, with the triumphant quintet receiving $250,000.

Jones, who played for the New York Giants. Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals, is an author and the host of Playbook 360 on Spike and Be A Champion on CNN.com. In his post-football career, he became a partner in two advertising agencies and launched a philanthropic effort, BowTie Cause.

Martino, who played for the LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew, is a studio analyst for NBC Sports' coverage of the English Premiere League and co-host of 36 Hours on Travel Channel.

Dollard, a host of TV and web competitions, won a Gladiators championship and has been a favorite on American Ninja Warrior and the Esquire Network spinoff, Team Ninja Warrior.

Acosta, a sports anchor for KNSD, the NBC station in San Diego, has announced dozens of boxing and MMA matches in English and Spanish.

Spartan is expected to premiere in the summer, but no specific date has been announced.