Since 1994, Joe Buck has been on everybody’s television screens calling NFL games or Major League Baseball games (since 1996) for FOX. However, if you ask him, he felt he was more lucky enough to work for a network that had the rights to those sports, so he could have that opportunity.
This week, Buck was on the The Athletic Baseball Show with Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville. One of the things he talked about is how people think Buck hates their team when he calls games:
Stark asked Buck if he would have told Buck back then that he would end up calling 23 World Series and 6 Super Bowls as well as calling baseball for a total of 30 years (both locally in St. Louis and nationally), what would he say? The son of the late, great Jack Buck thought what he’s done is more of an indication on how great FOX is doing than what he is doing:
“It’s weird for me to look back. I was just trying to make sure I wasn’t going to get exposed as some fraud. A lot of stuff was swirling around and I just remember thinking let’s get through this one. Calling my dad before and after games and just knowing I ended up in a place that just continues to buy the rights to baseball. I didn’t win a national title search and Simon Cowell isn’t evaluating my broadcasts. FOX wrote the bigger checks and I was lucky enough to audition when they got football and get in the door. I just ended up at the place that continues to want to pay to cover baseball in October at a network level.”
Glanville asked Buck about what the difference is between baseball and football in terms of being able to elevate big moments, such as a home run call.
“I think baseball lends itself to those moments a little bit more. The NFL doesn’t lend itself to that. Baseball has so much nuance and so much more time to talk about how we talk to the manager, here is the matchup he’s looking at, here’s who on his bench. The guy could be at the plate fouling off pitches. There’s time to do that. If you love the strategy of baseball which is becoming less and less part of the game in my opinion unfortunately, you love calling this game.”
Glanville also asked Buck what he thinks about athletes voicing their opinion on social issues. Buck says his dad told him before Buck started calling Triple-A games to realize how hard it is for people to play the game.
“I think my dad would be very proud that the people he admired so much are willing to use their voice for social change. I think that is the next step in the evolution of the professional athlete. I couldn’t be more proud of what I see around me. The way Colin Kaepernick grew up is so different than the way I grew up and I respect that. Then, when they start putting money and time behind these efforts, you realize how special a lot of these athletes are. I’m very proud that the people I get to cover are also making a difference in society.”
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.