They go together like Procter & Gamble, Barnes & Noble. It’s difficult to think of one without the other. And it has been that way for nearly three decades with Buck & Fox Sports.
But that run reportedly is over, as the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported Friday that Fox has let Buck out of his contract — which had one more year to go — in order for him to move to ESPN. He’d join 20-year NFL broadcast partner Troy Aikman on “Monday Night Football.” It is widely known that Aikman has made the move, though it has not been announced.
Marchand reported that Buck “is expected to sign a contract in the five-year, $60-$75 million range with ESPN” after “Fox tried to keep Buck with an offer of $12 million per year.”
He also would oversee projects for ESPN+, Marchand said.
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He has been broadcasting for Fox Sports since its inception, in 1994, when he was just 25 and part of a stable of young announcers hired to call NFL games. He quickly rose in the company, being tabbed as his lead baseball play-by-play announcer two years later. And this wasn’t some limited package of regional telecasts — he broadcast the World Series that year alongside analyst Tim McCarver. That’s something that he now has done 24 times, 22 in a row, shattering or tying longevity records along the way.
But another well-know partnership, Summerall & Madden, was the gold standard at Fox Sports—probably all of sportscasting—when it debuted. Fox scored a coup in ’94 by not only landing the portion of the NFL package CBS had carried for decades but also by luring Pat Summerall and John Madden. after the skeptics thought there was no way they would join “the Simpsons network” lineup.
But they did. And they remained Fox’s top team until Madden left for NBC in 2002 and Summerall took a reduced role at Fox. In stepped Buck to the lead NFL chair, joined by commentators Aikman and Cris Collinsworth.
So Buck then was calling all the big games for Fox, NFL and MLB. Six times he has broadcast the Super Bowl and World Series in the same season. And he was the network’s lead golf announcer in the several years it had USGA events.
He had become Fox Sports, at least in terms of visibility and on-air clout. In recent Octobers, when baseball was at its pinnacle and overlapping with the meat of the NFL season, he seemingly was on every night. But at a cost.
“I’m proud of the line I came up with to say in the mirror years ago — ‘I’m deathly afraid of overexposure on TV and underexposure at home,’” he said in 2018.
Now he seems to be done on the World Series, at least for the foreseeable future. And his crazy Octobers seem to be over.