The NFL’s free agent crop of broadcasters got a little smaller after two potential candidates removed their names from the ring. Instead of joining a network for the 2020 season, Drew Brees and Greg Olsen will be on the field for at least one more year.
NFL tight end Greg Olsen has called games for FOX during his bye week in recent seasons. Currently, Olsen is in the midst of working a five-game slate of XFL telecasts on FOX, with the network reportedly interested in signing him to a full-time contract. A full-time offer will have to wait for at least one season, however, as the 34-year old tight end agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks.
Brees doesn’t have one foot in the broadcast booth the way Olsen does, but the 41-year old quarterback did supposedly have his reps meet with network executives during Super Bowl week to discuss their mutual interest. Brees announced he’s returning to the Saints in 2020, but he will again receive plenty of interest about a second career in broadcasting once he’s done playing.
While the hottest broadcasting free-agent hasn’t yet announced what booth he’ll be sitting in next season, Tony Romo does sound like he knows what network he’ll be with.
“I think I’m already there a little bit, but we’ll see how it plays out, even though I think I already know, but I’m just not telling you guys,” Romo said with a laugh during an interview with Ben and Skin of 97.1 The Eagle in Dallas.
With ESPN heavily interested in landing Romo, the former quarterback is expected to land a deal that will pay him more than $15 million annually. CBS has the first right of refusal to match any offer he gets, keeping them as the favorite to retain Romo.
With Olsen and Brees heading back to the NFL, if Romo returns to CBS the trio will have passed on shaking up the broadcast industry despite swirling rumors this offseason.
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.