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.
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.