Kirk Herbstreit will pull off quite a juggling act each week during the upcoming football season.
First, he’ll call Amazon’s Thursday Night Football with Al Michaels. The following Saturday morning, Herbstreit will be on site for ESPN College GameDay. Then from there, it’s off to the Saturday night college football game he’ll call with Chris Fowler.
How Herbstreit will handle that workload is one of the biggest questions surrounding taking on the Thursday Night Football gig. Some might question whether or not a broadcaster known for college football should be calling NFL games. But Herbstreit is undoubtedly a professional and should do good work, even if he’s cramming a lot of it into three days each week.
This should probably be prefaced by baseball, hockey, and basketball broadcasters who have to call multiple games a week, many of them in different cities, scoffing at the notion that Herbstreit is taking on a massive workload.
Yet Herbstreit acknowledged during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show (via Awful Announcing) that he doesn’t know how his new work schedule will affect the routine he’s developed in his years of doing College GameDay and calling college football games for ESPN/ABC.
“The one thing I’m anxious about is getting into a routine,” he said. “I’ve just had my same routine and I’ve known what Sunday looks like, I’ve known what Mondays look like. I’ve just known it and now it’s all gonna change.
“I’ve written it down, I’ve looked at a calendar, I’ve done that several times trying to look at my Sunday. Sunday for me has always been a veg day. Just unplug. Get home at usually two in the morning and I haven’t slept. Sunday, I’m just kind of like half-awake, half-asleep, watching a game, hanging out with my wife and my kids. And now, it can’t be.”
Anyone who’s changed jobs or taken on more work, disrupting a comfortable — or reliable — routine can likely relate to Herbstreit’s anxiety over the situation. Perhaps he’ll benefit from football, pro and college, having the longest offseasons of the major sports. So he’ll certainly have time to prepare and train himself for a new schedule, rather than just jump right in.
But as Herbstreit said himself, it’s one thing to look at a calendar or schedule and think about how it will go versus actually doing the work and everything involved like watching tape, studying rosters, making calls, travel, meeting with coaches and players, etc. For some, reality can become an adjustment, one that takes weeks or months to settle into.
At least Herbstreit will be very well paid for changing his life to accommodate his new job. According to reports, he’ll earn $10 million per season from Amazon, in addition to his ESPN salary that will apparently put his total package in the same financial neighborhood as Troy Aikman and Tony Romo. He’ll just have to work more for that money.
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.