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#pounditWednesday, September 28, 2022

Articles tagged: ESPN

Huge salaries for Adam Schefter, Adrian Wojnarowski revealed

Adam Schefter on the field

ESPN announced on Thursday that it has signed both Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski to contract extensions, and we now have an idea of how much money the network shelled out.

Sources told Outkick’s Bobby Burack that Schefter and Wojnarowski will each be paid $10 million a year with their new deals. The NFL and NBA insider both drew interest from sports gambling companies, but ESPN stepped up with the big offer to keep them.

Stephen A. Smith remains the highest-paid employee at ESPN. He makes roughly $12 million per year.

As Burack notes, the extensions for Schefter and Wojnarowski should have a big impact on the market for top insiders. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has a few years remaining on his deal, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Yahoo’s Chris Haynes have contracts that expire later this year.

ESPN has gone on a huge spending spree this year. The network also paid a massive sum to lure Troy Aikman and Joe Buck away from FOX.

Photo: Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; ESPN personality Adam Schefter talks during a segment before the Pro Bowl football game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN announces extensions for 2 top insiders

Adam Schefter on the field

ESPN spent some big money recently to revamp its “Monday Night Football” booth, and the network announced more major news on Thursday.

ESPN has signed both top NFL insider Adam Schefter and top NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski to contract extensions.

Jeff Passan, ESPN’s top MLB insider, also signed an extension with the company last November.

There has been some talk recently about sports betting outlets potentially poaching top talent like Schefter and others. ESPN has given Schefter more editorial freedom in recent years with things like his podcast, which is likely a factor in why he keeps re-signing with the network.

The price ESPN paid to lure Buck and Aikman away from FOX was a reminder of how deep the company’s resources run. The extensions for Schefter and Wojnarowski are further evidence.

Photo: Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; ESPN personality Adam Schefter talks during a segment before the Pro Bowl football game at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Steve Levy had gracious response after being replaced by Joe Buck

Steve Levy smiling

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are leaving FOX and will take over the call for Monday Night Football beginning in 2022. That means long-time ESPN personality Steve Levy will be exiting stage left alongside Louis Riddick and Brian Griese.

But Levy has taken the change in stride. There are no hard feelings or personal issues with Buck or Aikman. In fact, Levy welcomed Buck into his old position with a very classy tweet — one that did come with a little playful banter.

Buck promptly replied to Levy and thanked him for being gracious and kind to the new guy.

“This is the other side of it,” Buck said in his tweet. “I thank you for your friendship and grace with this Steve. Excited to join YOUR network. Please sit next to me in the cafeteria — I don’t know many people there yet.”

Levy has been with ESPN since 1993 and on the call for Monday Night Football since 2019 (full-time in 2020). Buck had been with FOX Sports since 1994.

Buck and Aikman will make their debut appearance in the Monday Night Football booth on September 12, 2022.

Price ESPN paid to trade for Joe Buck revealed

Joe Buck smiles

Joe Buck had one year remaining on his deal with FOX when he accepted an offer to join his longtime partner Troy Aikman at ESPN. In addition to paying Buck a massive amount of money, ESPN also had to make a trade with the play-by-play announcer’s former employer.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, FOX agreed to let Buck out of his contract early as a gesture of good faith. However, the network did work out an agreement with ESPN. FOX and ESPN share the rights to Big Ten football games. They have a drafting system where they pick specific games, and ESPN has agreed to let FOX pick one Big Ten game earlier than usual next season in exchange for Buck.

As college football writer Bryan Fischer notes, the deal likely amounted to ESPN giving FOX the Sept. 3 Notre Dame-Ohio State game.

That is the first game of the season for Notre Dame and Ohio State, and both programs could be ranked in the top five of preseason polls. FOX will gladly take that marquee matchup.

Buck’s deal with ESPN is expected to be in the $60-75 million range. Aikman had an opt-out in his contract with FOX, so no trade was necessary between the two networks. The Hall of Famer is, however, making a lot more than Buck at ESPN.

Photo: Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Report reveals what FOX received in exchange for Joe Buck

Joe Buck smiles

Joe Buck’s move from FOX to ESPN came after days of speculation. FOX had to let Buck out of his contract a year early, but it turns out they did get something from ESPN in return for the broadcaster.

FOX and ESPN share the rights to Big Ten football games, and FOX will receive the right to select an extra Big Ten game early next season, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. While minor, it does represent a tangible return for letting Buck go to ESPN.

Notably, this is just about the exact scenario one expert described as a possibility earlier in the week. There is some similarity to how Al Michaels was allowed to join NBC in exchange for the rights to a cartoon character in 2005.

For FOX, it simply made sense to let Buck go. He was able to reunite with Troy Aikman and get a hefty payday out of it. The fact that FOX was able to land something in return, however minor, is a win for them as well.

Photo: Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Joe Buck to leave FOX, join Troy Aikman at ESPN

Joe Buck smiles

Troy Aikman shook up the NFL broadcasting world in stunning fashion recently when he reached an agreement with ESPN, and his longtime partner is reportedly going with him.

Joe Buck is expected to leave FOX to become the play-by-play announcer for “Monday Night Football,” Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports. FOX granted Buck permission to negotiate with ESPN on Friday, and a deal is expected to be finalized in the near future.

Buck had one year and $11 million remaining on his deal with FOX. There had been talk of ESPN and FOX agreeing to a trade for Buck, but Marchand reports that FOX is letting Buck out of his contract as a gesture of goodwill.

Buck’s deal with ESPN is expected to be in the $60-75 million range. Aikman agreed to an even bigger contract with ESPN, so the network was clearly committed to reviving its long-struggling “Monday Night Football” booth.

Buck had been at FOX since 1994. His departure means the network will also have to find another play-by-play announcer for MLB playoff games and the World Series.

Photo: Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Aikman makes surprising revelation about leaving FOX for ESPN

Troy Aikman in a suit

Troy Aikman will start a new gig next season after he accepted a massive contract offer from ESPN, and he may never know if FOX would have been willing to match it.

During an appearance on Sports Radio 96.7 and 1310 The Ticket in Dallas this week, Aikman shared a surprising piece of information about the events that led to him leaving FOX for ESPN. He said FOX never made a final offer to him after he received the offer from ESPN, which Aikman found “strange.”

“It is a strange set of circumstances that led me to where I am now and not be back at Fox,” Aikman said, as transcribed by Greg Joyce of the New York Post. “And I never would have envisioned that six months ago and so it is strange. When negotiations couldn’t reach, what I felt was fair value, I was able to negotiate an opt-out after six months which allowed me to be a free agent.”

Aikman was referring to his previous contract with FOX. He signed a four-year extension worth $13.2 million per year prior to the 2021 season. The deal included his and Joe Buck’s new “Thursday Night Football” responsibilities, but Aikman negotiated an opt-out into his contract. He exercised that opt-out clause when ESPN made their offer, but the Hall of Famer still expected FOX to make an effort to keep him.

“Then Fox never jumped into the game. They never made an offer,” Aikman said. “I didn’t have any conversations with Fox, until I got a call to congratulate me on my new deal. So that was a decision they made and it’s fine.”

It’s possible that FOX simply was not willing to pay as much as ESPN, so they didn’t want to insult Aikman with a lower offer. After all, Aikman will now be the highest-paid analyst in NFL history with his ESPN deal.

There has been talk of FOX letting Buck walk as well, and they may do so with a somewhat unique arrangement. The NFL TV landscape will look a lot different in 2022, and there could be even more changes coming.

Photo: Nov 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys former quarterback Troy Aikman attends the NFL game between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Are ESPN, FOX discussing a Joe Buck trade?

Joe Buck smiles

If ESPN wants to pair Joe Buck with Troy Aikman on “Monday Night Football,” they may have to make a trade for him.

In a recent edition of the “Sports Illustrated Media Podcast,” sports media expert Jim Miller hinted that ESPN and FOX may already be discussing a trade involving Buck.

“The deals are not synced up. If you’re ESPN and you’re Jimmy Pitaro, you want both of those guys in the booth,” Miller said, via Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing. “So you get closer to Troy and get a sense that Troy may come over. And then what happens? Well, if you’re (FOX Sports CEO) Eric Shanks, you get to sit there and go ‘Okay, yeah, so you won him. Now, let’s start figuring it out.’ In the ESPN book, I wrote about Al Michaels, and there was a Disney character of course, famous Oswald, that was part of the deal to let Al out early. But now, I think what’s been going on behind the scenes, and I’ve heard this from various people, is that there’s some real horse trading.

“I mean, look, does Fox want to keep Joe if Joe’s going to be unhappy? No. But do they want to be able to monetize this in myriad ways in order to really get some flesh out of ESPN? Absolutely. And what might that mean? You know, if I’m Fox, I might ask for two or three Big Ten games.”

Aikman signed a massive deal to move to ESPN, and has hinted that he’d like Buck to follow him. Buck is still under contract with FOX, so this may be the only way to make a move work. Whether ESPN is willing to go that far, especially when there are other options that would require less wrangling, remains to be seen.

Photo: Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Al Michaels reportedly undecided on future despite Amazon talk

Al Michaels in a suit and tie

Al Michaels is expected to leave NBC when his contract with the network expires later this year, and the broadcasting legend has a major decision to make ahead of the 2022 NFL season.

A report from five months ago claimed Michaels was in deep discussions with Amazon about becoming the lead play-by-play announcer for “Thursday Night Football.” The streaming giant will have exclusive rights to the NFL’s Thursday package beginning next season. We haven’t heard much about Michaels closing in on a deal with Amazon since. That could be because the 77-year-old has not made up his mind.

According to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, Michaels is still contemplating his future. He may have more to think about now that ESPN has lured Troy Aikman away from FOX with a massive contract.

Michaels will likely have his choice between ESPN and Amazon. If Buck leaves FOX, which seems unlikely, Michaels may have a third suitor.

Michaels called “Monday Night Football” on ABC/ESPN from 1986 to 2005. The network is said to have interest in bringing him back. Pairing Michaels with Aikman would give ESPN the powerhouse booth that it hasn’t had in years.

It’s hard to imagine Michaels, who is one of the greatest play-by-play broadcasters of all time, finishing his career with Amazon. Most NFL fans would probably rather see him with Aikman on “Monday Night Football.”

Photo: Aug 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Network television commentator Al Michaels before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Jeter could land prominent job after Marlins exit?

Derek Jeter

It may not take very long for Derek Jeter to land back in the spotlight after his stunning departure from the Miami Marlins this week.

The retired New York Yankees great shocked the baseball world on Monday by announcing that he was stepping down as Marlins CEO and selling his stake in the team. Jeter elaborated on the decision in a pensive statement.

It turns out though that Jeter’s decision may have also been motivated by the opportunities that lie ahead for him. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported Monday that ESPN would “love” to get into business with the 14-time All-Star. The report notes that ESPN has already established a relationship with Jeter, having produced a multipart documentary about Jeter (entitled “The Captain”) that will air later this year. ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro is also a big Yankees fan, McCarthy adds.

The Worldwide Leader has previously hired several ex-Yankees players to work baseball telecasts, including Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Aaron Boone. Rodriguez specifically is still with ESPN and is slated to team up with Michael Kay for a “Kay-Rod” alternate MLB telecast in the theme of ESPN’s “ManningCast” with Peyton and Eli Manning. McCarthy notes that a similar “JeterCast” could be a possibility for Jeter.

The former World Series MVP Jeter was known for his charisma as a player and has already gotten involved in some other media ventures since retiring. A move to the booth could be the next logical step for Jeter now that he no longer has the Marlins to worry about.

Photo: Oct 3, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter addresses the media at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports