Jim Nantz is synonymous with CBS Sports, and as much as it’s hard to picture the iconic announcer with another network, that won’t stop him from fielding offers. And if Nantz is available, it’s logical to see ESPN topping the list of potential suitors.
In recent NFL off-seasons, ESPN has been linked to big names such as Al Michaels, Tony Romo and Peyton Manning for their Monday Night Football booth. Eventually landing on a trio featuring Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese, the MNF crew received praise for the first time in years. But a major broadcaster like Nantz doesn’t often make it to free agency.
According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, if Nantz does hit free agency this summer, ESPN will be interested in his services to lead their NFL and Masters golf coverage.
A few months ago, it was reported Nantz is seeking a pay increase similar to the one CBS gave his broadcast partner Tony Romo earlier last year. According to The New York Post, the play-by-play voice wants to top Romo’s $17.5 annual salary, a number that far exceeds other network sportscasters. Having been a prominent announcer for CBS since the 1980s, Nantz currently makes about $6.5 million per year, just over a third of what Romo earns.
This Sunday, Nantz will call his sixth Super Bowl for CBS Sports as he continues to be their lead voice for NFL football, college basketball and the PGA. Over the next three months, Nantz is scheduled to broadcast an impressive list of sporting events which includes the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and The Masters.
In the past year, ESPN cut a significant amount of salary, conducting the company’s largest round of layoffs in the wake of COVID-19, while letting contracts expire for some of their prominent talent. But the financial moves help set ESPN up to make more investments in live sports.
The addition of the 61-year-old Nantz could be an attractive asset as ESPN/ABC negotiates future rights deals. The network has reportedly sought to increase their NFL TV packages and enter the network Super Bowl rotation.
Nantz also recently expressed a desire to work into his 80s, with plans of anchoring Masters coverage beyond 2035. Golf’s most prestigious tournament is synonymous with CBS, but The Masters has signed one-year contracts with the network since 1956. Nantz is similarly synonymous with The Masters and if he signed a deal with Disney, it could open the door for ABC to acquire the tournament’s Saturday and Sunday coverage.
If Nantz does become a free agent, he’ll certainly have interested suitors with ESPN waiting at the front of the line. But after more than three decades with CBS, convincing other networks that he’s willing to go elsewhere might be the most difficult task in negotiating his next deal.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.