His longtime NFL broadcast booth partner has defeated Fox for ESPN. Will Joe Buck follow Troy Aikman?
This is the next big domino that falls in this broadcast bingo game. (Sorry to mix up board game metaphors. But, that’s life.) Buck has one year left on his contract with Fox. via Andrew Marchand from New York PostBuck makes $11 million a year.
Marchand adds that the “expectation” is that Fox will let Buck listen to ESPN. Peter King suggests in his book Football morning in America column that Fox will already let Buck leave, Given that the network doesn’t want a lame duck in a job that consists of handling the best place to play both football and baseball.
Buck became an institution at Fox. He joined the network when he got his first NFL package in 1994, and became the top announcer by play after Pat Summerle retired to cover the 2001 season. Now, 20 years later, Buck can say see you later back home long ago.
Will Buck, or is he simply trying to get the best deal possible from Fox? The best way to get the best deal from Fox is to create the impression that he’s walked out the door with one foot. However, he would give up the ability to call up two Super Bowls in the next three years; ESPN/ABC is still five years away from returning to spin.
Then there is the audience size factor. At Fox, Buck plays for millions more than he sometimes hears and sees on ESPN, given the lingering realities of air versus cable television.
At a time when NFL broadcasters’ in-cabin money goes to nonsense, Fox may be regressing to what he considers rational. On the one hand, the market is what it is. On the other hand, no one follows any NFL game to hear a particular broadcaster. The game itself is the drawing card.
However, having the right broadcasters gives big games the feel they deserve. For Fox, the question is how far they’ll go with the money for Buck in order to keep him where he is – assuming he wants to stay.
“Typical food guru. Problem solver. Devoted beer practitioner. Professional reader. Baconaholic.”