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Gus Johnson & Aqib Talib Paired In FOX NFL Booth

The duo is teaming up for 6-7 NFL games this season.

Russ Heltman

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Gus Johnson
Courtesy: Fox Sports

Fox Sports announced their new play-by-play lineup for the upcoming NFL season, and one pairing stood out above the rest. The network is putting Gus Johnson and Aqib Talib for a select number of games this fall. UFC and NFL reporter Megan Olivi rounds out the crew as a sideline reporter.

Gus Johnson has been the network’s lead voice for college football since 2011 and basketball since 2013, with the former hampering his ability to dive into NFL action. Until now, a Fox spokesperson confirmed to SI’s Jimmy Traina that the duo is calling 6-7 NFL games together this year. Back in April, Talib discussed his first foray into broadcasting with Traina on the SI Media Podcast:

“When I got the call from Fox when my agent called me, he said they wanted to sign me to a three-game deal. It was a max of three games and a chance of no games because you’re not on the A team or B team, so you’re just filling in for guys with all this COVID stuff going on. Kinda like an audition, really. I probably got like $10K for the game. I ain’t really get no cash for the game. It was just an opportunity. Opportunity to go out there and see if you could do it or not.”

Gus Johnson has been on the call for some magical moments over the years on Fox’s Big Noon Saturday games, but this is his first time calling NFL games since he left CBS ten years ago. 

Some other notes from the lineup feature Mark Sanchez as part of an NFL broadcast booth for the first time in his career. Greg Olsen is also diving headfirst into his analyst role as Kevin Burkhardt’s right-hand man in the network’s number two booth. 

Fans also learned Tom Rinaldi’s role in the upcoming NFL season. The famed storyteller joins Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Erin Andrews only when Fox has America’s Game of the Week.

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Big Ten Finalizes Largest Media Rights Deal in College Sports History

The conference will earn more than $8 billion over a seven-year deal with CBS, Fox, and NBC. It will generate $1.1 billion per year. Its previous deal with Fox and ESPN garnered the conference $440 million annually.

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BIG TEN, CBS, NBC, FOX SPORTS

Per a report from Sports Business Journal‘s Michael Smith, it’s official: The Big Ten has secured and finalized the largest media rights deal in college sports history.

The conference will earn more than $8 billion over a seven-year deal with CBS, Fox, and NBC. It will generate $1.1 billion per year. Its previous deal with Fox and ESPN garnered the conference $440 million annually. The soon-to-be 16 schools in the conference, after the additions of USC and UCLA, will receive nearly $70 million annually from the deal.

The contract also sees the Big Ten’s women’s basketball tournament championship game migrate to CBS.

As for the perceived overlap between the SEC and Big Ten during the 3:30 PM ET window on CBS, Warren said the conference was more than willing to work around prior contractual obligations.

“I made up my mind early on that I was not going to put CBS in a position where they had to say no because they had to break the SEC contract,” Warren told Sports Business Journal. “It wasn’t the right thing to do. So we just had to get creative.”

Peacock will become the conference’s streaming home, and NBC has agreed to a $100,000 advertising budget with each conference member to promote their academic institutions. NBC will have 16 games per season in primetime under the terms of the newly signed deal.

Fox’s package of Big Ten games will grow from 24-27 to 30-32 games through the end of the deal in 2029.

Each network will air the Big Ten’s football championship game during the lifetime of the deal. Fox will air four, CBS will air two, and NBC will air one.

Sources told SBJ that while ESPN was not included in this media rights deal, there’s a possibility talks could continue to bring ESPN a smaller package of games than previously negotiated.

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Notre Dame Expects Next Media Rights Deal to be Worth $60 Million Annually

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Coduto

There are still a few more seasons until Notre Dame starts the process of hammering out a new media rights deal, but it’s believed the FBS independent could have its next partner shelling out more than double what NBC is currently paying.

NBC, which appears to be a front-runner alongside CBS to be one of the key rights partners in the Big Ten’s new contract, currently pays $25 million each year for rights to Fighting Irish football according to Front Office Sports.

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Viewership for Fighting Irish games was reportedly down 48% year-over-year for the 2021 season, averaging 2.5 million viewers. The year before that, the pandemic season in 2020, viewership for Notre Dame was its best since 2005.

Notre Dame remains an independent in football, but is in the ACC for its other programs. The Fighting Irish do play some ACC schools in football. With NBC and the Big Ten apparently becoming new partners, it’s believed that Notre Dame would then have more Big Ten opponents in football.

The current contract between the school and NBC ends in 2025.

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Robert Griffin III Replaces Randy Moss on Monday Night Countdown

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program.

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Robert Griffin III
David Becker, Getty Images

With Monday Night Countdown set to lead into Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, ESPN announced their lineup for the show.

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program. Robert Griffin III will join Booger McFarland and Steve Young as the show’s main analysts.

They will be partnered with Suzy Kolber who returns for her sixth year as the show’s host and news breaker Adam Schefter.

It was reported in July that analyst Randy Moss would not be returning to the show, opting instead to focus solely on Sunday Night Countdown.

The first regular season action featuring Monday Night Countdown will be on Monday, September 12 when the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.

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