Sports TV News
ESPN Officially Announces Joe Buck, Troy Aikman On ‘Monday Night Football’
“The opportunity to be a voice on Monday Night Football, adding to its legacy and being a part of the future of the NFL on ESPN, has me motivated and reflective.”
ESPN has made it official: Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are the new broadcast team on Monday Night Football.
The network issued a release on Wednesday announcing that both broadcasters have been signed to multi-year agreements. The New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand previously reported that Aikman’s deal is for five years and $90 million, while Buck’s contract is also for five years ranging between $60 million and $75 million.
Buck and Aikman both moving to ESPN together means that their long broadcast relationship will continue, having been together for 20 years on Fox. With their 21st season together, ESPN points out that they will match Pat Summerall and John Madden, arguably the greatest broadcasting team ever, for the longest run by an NFL announcing duo.
Lisa Salters remains as MNF‘s sideline reporter, going into her 11th season on the broadcast. And John Parry will return as the production’s officiating analyst.
“The opportunity to be a voice on Monday Night Football, adding to its legacy and being a part of the future of the NFL on ESPN, has me motivated and reflective,” said Aikman in a statement. “As a kid in California, the voices of Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, and my mom’s personal favorite, Don Meredith, echoed throughout our living room each week. Joe and I are humbled to be part of that same tradition that has existed for more than 50 years across generations of football fans.”
ESPN’s release mentions that both Buck and Aikman will contribute content to ESPN+. Besides the obvious appeal of multi-million dollar contracts, the possibility of doing more for the network besides calling Monday Night Football appeared to be a draw.
No details on what the two will do were revealed, but with Buck previously attempting an HBO talk show, maybe he’d be interested in a feature interview series. Aikman could perhaps show further insight as an analyst in ESPN+’s Detail series, though Peyton Manning has the football angle covered there. Maybe the two have interest in producing some documentary content.
It should be noted that ESPN mentioned nothing about Buck calling baseball, which was natural to speculate since he was the voice of Major League Baseball on Fox for 24 years. But with the network getting extra Wild Card playoff games in MLB’s expanded postseason, maybe Buck will make an appearance there.
“Everything about Monday Night Football, including the broadcast, set the standard for the modern NFL experience,” Buck said in the announcement. “My earliest memories of walking around football stadiums are tagging along with my dad as he called Monday Night Football on radio. To return to the stadium on Monday nights with Troy – who I have the utmost comfort with and confidence in – and begin a new chapter, for us and ESPN, has me excited about this season and our future.”
The announcement also reiterates that ESPN will broadcast 25 games each season as part of its new 10-year rights deal with the NFL. That schedule will be comprised of 23 regular-season games, a Wild Card playoff game, and a Divisional Playoff match-up. Buck and Aikman obviously can’t call all of those broadcasts, so we’ll see additional announcing teams during the season.
Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will likely be one of them when available. Will this mean that ESPN’s former MNF team of Steve Levy and Louis Riddick will also be on the call? (Brian Griese has left broadcasting with the expiration of his ESPN contract, becoming the quarterbacks coach with the San Francisco 49ers.)
Buck and Aikman’s first Monday Night Football broadcast is scheduled for Sept. 12, with Phil Dean producing and Jimmy Platt directing.
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
Steve Rosenberg Out As President of Diamond Sports Group
“John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that a memo went out to the company on Monday morning announcing the change.”
A company declaring bankruptcy is never good for the people at the top. Steve Rosenberg is experiencing that right now. He is out as the president of Diamond Sports Group.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that a memo went out to the company on Monday morning announcing the change. In it, Diamond CEO David Preschlack wrote that CFO David DeVoe will assume Rosenberg’s responsibilities for now.
Steve Rosenberg joined Sinclair in 2020. He replaced Jeff Krolik as the company’s president of local sports.
Last week, Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company intends to work out new deals with the NBA and NHL for its Bally Sports RSNs in hopes that it will remain in tact. Ourand writes that an attempt to do the same with Major League Baseball has not yielded meaningful results as of yet.
“With the recent appointments we have made to the senior leadership team, and the talented staff we have throughout the organization, I am confident in this team’s ability to work together to execute our strategic goals at this time,” Preschlack wrote in his memo.
Sports TV News
Variety Predicts Sports Betting Broadcasts Future of RSNs
“With the state of the RSN business a little hazy for some networks, closer integration with gambling is something that VIP+ expects to be leant into more in an effort to engage the most passionate local fans.”
The sports betting market grew in 2022. With five new states legalizing mobile wagering last year, that is not a surprise. The overall take for sportsbooks was $93.4 billion. That is a whopping 84% growth over 2021.
With so much money coming from new markets, Variety wanted to get an idea of how much the sports betting industry is actually growing versus how much of the growth is artificial.
The study from the publication’s VIP+ shows that in markets with a full year of mobile wagering on the books before 2022, the growth is slower but still significant at 19%. Writer Gavin Bridge suggests that the statistic could hold the answer for the future of regional sports networks.
“While winning money was the most popular reason for sports betting, data provided by VIP+’s research partner CRG Global in our ‘Sports Gambling & Media‘ report show that one of the most popular reasons was that betting ‘makes the games I watch more exciting,’ with several other reasons relating to watching televised games also important to some betters,” he writes.
With regional sports networks looking for a new model in the face of serious economic uncertainty, Bridge points to Comcast’s regional NBC Sports networks as a reasonable path forward.
Through its partnership with PointsBet, NBC offers alternate broadcasts of the local teams it covers that have a gambling focus. The alternate feed have not been available for every game on the RSNs, but Bridge writes that we could see more of that in the future.
“With the state of the RSN business a little hazy for some networks, closer integration with gambling is something that VIP+ expects to be leant into more in an effort to engage the most passionate local fans. Ultimately, sports betting overlays and alternative game feeds can be anticipated for most major sports in the coming years as media partners look for new revenue streams and ways to engage fans for longer.”
Sports TV News
NCAA Tournament Delivers Highest-Rated Round of 64 Ever
“ For the first round on Thursday and Friday of last week, games accomplished a total audience delivery of 9.2 million viewers.”
The first two rounds of the 2023 NCAA tournament are in the books, and the TV ratings indicate historic viewership.
For the first round on Thursday and Friday of last week, games accomplished a total audience delivery of 9.2 million viewers. This was for contests on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV in addition to streaming on March Madness Live.
Action on Thursday averaged 8.4 million, up 2% compared to 2022.
On Friday, game broadcasts averaged 9.3 million, making it the most-watched first round ever.
The Sweet 16 tips off on Thursday this week.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.