Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are bringing their brand of comfort food to Monday Night Football this year. This required Fox letting Buck out of his contract a year early. Which apparently wasn't a big sticking point for the network as Sports Business Journal's John Ourand reports this morning that behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing found swift success once ESPN offered Fox the opportunity to carry one extra Big Ten football game this fall.
This season, Fox will have the rights to carry an opening week game in prime time — an opportunity that the network believes will bring in millions of extra ad sales dollars for the network. That game, in a previously unplanned window, will be the Sept. 1 - tilt, scheduled for a Thursday night.
The deal was negotiated on most high between Jimmy Pitaro and Eric Shanks, per Ourand. And anyone who has seen Succession knows that sometimes the quickest line to an agreement goes through the bigwigs ringing each other up. It's also reported that ESPN felt like it had an edge in negotiations because Al Michaels was waiting as a fall-back plan for the MNF play-by-play job. Michaels, of course, was swapped for a cartoon character back in 2006.
By now your suspicions should be confirmed. Sports media is very weird.
It will be a giant missed opportunity if Purdue and Penn State don't incorporate some sort of Joe Buck rivalry trophy into their series. It's sort of looking for an identity anyway and who wouldn't love seeing a giant bronze bust of the legendary broadcaster hoisted high above jubilant heads in West Lafayette or State College?