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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

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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