Forget FS1! Fox is mounting a challenge to ESPN’s College Gameday, and it is going to do it on network television.
The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand says the network has put together a cast that sources claim it feels represent the “Mount Rushmore of college football over the last fifteen years.” Maybe it could be more accurately called a “Mount Rushmore of college football over the last fifteen years if Nick Saban didn’t exist.”
Taking the places of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt are former USC teammates Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, and former Ohio State and Florida coach Urban Meyer. Rob Stone will serve as the host of the show.
Leinart and Stone are being relocated from FS1, where they hosted studio coverage on Saturday’s alongside Robert Smith and Dave Wannsteadt. Quinn had been providing color commentary on games on Fox and FS1.
The model is similar to the one Fox employs for the NFL and Major League Baseball. The show is anchored by a respected broadcaster and analysis is provided by multiple hall of famers (or hall of famers-to-be) in the respective sports.
Urban Meyer is an interesting addition. He retired last year after another Big Ten championship at Ohio State, but a cloud of suspicion and controversy hung over him and his team all season due to his handling of domestic violence accusations against wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
He is considerably older than his castmates. He and Stone will be the only two on the show over 40. Meyer is the only one over 50.
Whatever the pregame show ends up being called, it is an interesting experiment in college football broadcasting. ESPN’s College Gameday has long been considered the sport’s gold standard, and a gold standard amongst pregame shows in general. ESPN has never had a true competitor in the college football realm though.
CBS provides an hour long preview of their SEC game each week, but that airs while ESPN and FS1 are airing live games. The new Fox show will be the first time ESPN has faced serious competition in the form of another national pregame show looking to set the stage for the entire day.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.