Sports TV News
Fox’s Top NFL Broadcast Team Also Faces Losing Erin Andrews, Near End of Contract
Fox wants to re-sign Andrews and that appears to be the most likely move. (But wouldn’t the same have been said for Aikman and Buck a couple of weeks ago?)
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.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sports TV News
Sean McManus: LIV Golfers Won’t Get Different Treatment During The Masters
“We’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.”
CBS Sports is preparing for coverage of its 68th consecutive year of The Masters, but the 2023 event could prove to be unlike any before it, and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus is cognizant of the situation.
After several former Masters champions departed the PGA Tour for the upstart LIV Golf, many pondered what that meant for the sport’s major championships. The Masters decided to continue to allow the golfers who are now playing exclusively with the Saudi-backed league to compete for the green jacket. McManus shared that CBS will continue the showcase the golfers as it always has.
“We’re not gonna cover up or hide anything,” McManus said, as reported by Golf Digest. “As I’ve said so often, our job is to cover the golf tournament. We’re not gonna show any different treatment for the golfers who have played on the LIV tour than we do the other golfers. And if there’s a pertinent point or something that we need to, or we feel that we should bring up in our coverage on Saturday and Sunday, or on our other coverage throughout the week, you know, we’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.
“Having said that, unless it really affects the story that’s taking place on the golf course, we’re not gonna go out of our way to cover it. I’m not sure there’s anything that we could add to the story as it already exists. We’ll cover it as, as is suitable.”
Sports TV News
NFL Owners Not Voting on Flex Scheduling For Thursday Night Football
“The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.”
Amazon will have to wait for flex scheduling. NFL owners decided to table a proposal that would allow the league to create more compelling matchups for Thursday Night Football later in the season.
That doesn’t mean flex scheduling won’t be a reality on Thursday nights this season. The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.
Earlier this week, Peter King of NBC Sports reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is pushing the idea. Coaches have been outspoken about how much they dislike it, complaining about managing injuries and the competitive disadvantage that would come with finding out you suddenly have a shorter week of preparation than expected. According to King, Goodell is trying to make Amazon happy after the first season of Thursday Night Football failed to deliver projected audience numbers for Prime Video.
League owners did take a step they hope will lead to fewer games between losing teams. Last season, teams could only be scheduled once for a Thursday night game. The owners decided to bump that limit up to twice per season.
Goodell defended the proposal against accusations that the league is prioritizing revenue over player safety.
“We always look at the data with respect to injuries,” he told the media gathered at the league meetings. “That is what drove our decisions throughout the first 12 or so years of Thursday Night Football and how it’s evolved. I think the data was very clear: it doesn’t show a higher injury rate. But we recognize shorter weeks. We went through this with COVID, too.”
When the idea of flex scheduling is revisited in May, it will require the support of 24 team owners in order to become a reality.
Sports TV News
Eric Shanks Got Approval From Alex Rodriguez Before FOX Hired Derek Jeter
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?”
Derek Jeter is going to work a very limited schedule for FOX next season. Still, before he came on board, FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks wanted the support of Jeter’s former Yankees teammate and on-again/off-again friend Alex Rodriguez.
Andrew Marchand is reporting that Shanks reached out to ARod personally. Rodriguez gave his approval to the network.
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?” a Fox Sports spokesman said when The New York Post reached out for confirmation.
While Derek Jeter is now part of the FOX family, fans shouldn’t expect to see him every time baseball is on the network. He is only scheduled to work “marquee events”. This season, those include the London series, the All-Star Game, and the World Series.
He will be at the desk alongside Kevin Burkhardt, David Ortíz, and Rodriguez.