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Kevin Burkhardt To Be Named Fox’s Top NFL Play-By-Play Voice

Burkhardt and his analyst partner will be on the call for two of the next three Super Bowl telecasts, which Fox has the rights to.

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As expected, Kevin Burkhardt is the new lead NFL play-by-play voice for Fox Sports.

According to the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, Burkhardt will replace Joe Buck as Fox’s top play-by-play announcer. Though there was some speculation that the network may seek a flashier outside hire for the role, such as Al Michaels, Fox Sports executives always seemed to prefer an internal move. And once Michaels agreed to a deal with Amazon, Burkhardt’s path was clear.

Still to be determined is who Burkhardt’s broadcast partner will be. All signs point to Greg Olsen, who teamed with Burkhardt last season and has long been viewed as a rising star analyst, also moving up from the No. 2 to the No. 1 crew.

Fox has not yet made an official announcement regarding Burkhardt, likely waiting until his partner is also officially settled upon. Then, as ESPN did with Buck and Troy Aikman and Amazon did with Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit, the network will announce its new No. 1 NFL broadcast team.

Burkhardt and his analyst partner will be on the call for two of the next three Super Bowl telecasts, which Fox has the rights to. That’s quite a showcase for a broadcasting duo which has plenty of experience, but might not be as familiar with the larger mainstream audiences that watch the Super Bowl — or even the 4:25 p.m. ET game each NFL Sunday.

Also yet to be determined is whether or not Burkhardt will maintain his role hosting Fox’s postseason Major League Baseball coverage. He has hosted the network’s pre- and post-game studio show since 2015, with analysts Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, and Frank Thomas.

Buck called the World Series for Fox along with his NFL obligations. In October, that sometimes required him to be in the baseball booth rather than with Aikman on an NFL broadcast. The Fox MLB postseason show has been popular with fans and critics, so the network may not want to break that up. But there will likely be scheduling conflicts some weeks.

Speaking of Buck, he had kind words for his successor on Twitter.

For Burkhardt, getting the No. 1 Fox NFL gig is the culmination of a long career that began calling minor league baseball and working at WGHT in New Jersey, followed by a stint at WCBS. That led to a job at WFAN, where he eventually became the station’s New York Jets reporter.

From there, Burkhardt moved to SNY, where he was a popular sideline reporter and studio host for New York Mets broadcasts. And that was the springboard for Burkhardt to Fox, where he’s now one of the network’s prominent sports voices.

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records

FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.

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The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.

The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.

The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.

The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.

Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.

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