The mad 2022 NFL broadcasting carousel is extending beyond the booth to the sidelines as well. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Fox’s top NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews is nearing the end of her contract and could move elsewhere.
However, Fox would like to keep Andrews on its No. 1 NFL broadcast team, where she’s been for the past 10 years. (That might surprise longtime viewers and fans who remember Andrews from her days on ESPN’s college football coverage.)
Fox has already lost analyst Troy Aikman to ESPN and faces play-by-play announcer Joe Buck possibly joining him on Monday Night Football if the network decides to let him out of the final year of his contract. Fellow sideline reporter Tom Rinaldi could very well be the last broadcaster standing on that top NFL broadcast crew, which will cover two of the next three Super Bowls.
As Marchand points out in his report, Andrews has established a reputation as a top interviewer for Fox in addition to her sideline reporting. In recent years, she’s nabbed off-field, sit-down conversations with some of the NFL’s top newsmakers including Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. With that, she’s arguably a bigger part of her network’s NFL coverage than ESPN’s Lisa Salters and NBC’s Michele Tafoya.
(If we’re talking about sideline reporters, Tafoya probably began the NFL broadcasting shuffle when Marchand reported that she was leaving NBC and Sunday Night Football last December. Following NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVI, Tafoya announced that she was joining Kendall Qualls’s Minnesota gubernatorial campaign.)
As mentioned, Fox wants to re-sign Andrews and that appears to be the most likely move. (Wouldn’t the same have been said for Aikman and Buck a couple of weeks ago?) But if Amazon wants another established name and familiar personality for Thursday Night Football, the streaming outlet could pursue her. (Could she have a role in a pregame show there as well?) Replacing Tafoya at NBC could also be an option, though Kathryn Tappen appears to be the choice there.
Marchand also said ESPN is interested in bringing her back, but Salters is already on the sideline for Monday Night Football. Going back to College GameDay would seem like a step backward. But what about Andrews hosting Sunday NFL Countdown? Samantha Ponder’s contract is up, and ESPN might try to seize an opportunity to bring back a popular name as it tries to add some sizzle to its studio pregame show.
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.