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Joe Buck on Moving to ESPN: ‘This Bus Was Coming Along One Time’

Buck revealed that he will start at ESPN on May 1 which, as he put it, means he’s technically unemployed for the next seven weeks.

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The past week in sports media has essentially been Joe Buck Week and, really, what a seven days it has been.

Going into last weekend, news of Buck leaving Fox for ESPN and Monday Night Football dropped. On Wednesday, ESPN officially announced Buck and Troy Aikman as its new MNF broadcast team. Hours later, Buck was eliminated and revealed on The Masked Singer, which turned out to be a bizarre farewell to his tenure at Fox.

In another example of timing so perfect that it almost seems orchestrated, Buck’s weekly podcast with Oliver Hudson, Daddy Issues, posted its regular Thursday episode and the broadcaster was ready to talk about the whirlwind events of the past week and the absurdity of how events played out.

Buck revealed that he will start at ESPN on May 1 which, as he put it, means he’s technically unemployed for the next seven weeks.

“After 27 years at Fox, my goodbye on-air, on the network, is me singing dressed as a ram,” said Buck. “As the Masked Singer, as a larger-than-life Roman soldier guy.

“It only proves how fast the deal with ESPN happened… that was shot the week after the NFC championship game, which happened to be in L.A. I mean, it couldn’t have worked out any better. And I had no idea that was going to be my last moments at Fox. But those are my last moments at Fox.”

According to Buck, his wife, ESPN reporter Michelle Beisner, “got into a wee bit of trouble” by revealing the move to ESPN on Instagram before any official announcement had been made and some people who probably needed to be notified had received word. (Although the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand may have broken the news first.)

Buck then recounted the machinations involved in getting out of the final year of his Fox contract to sign with ESPN. Much of this has already been reported, but it’s still intriguing to hear Buck’s perspective on this and his gratitude for network executives letting him out of his deal for a “quality of life” move that would be really beneficial to his family.

“I think what Fox realized… they didn’t want me to go, they have a Super Bowl this year, they have a Super Bowl in two more years, so they have two of the next three Super Bowls,” said Buck. “I’ve done it, so they have experience with me and I was signed through this year knowing that the Super Bowl was there.

“So Fox had to be really… for lack of a better word, kind and let me out of the deal because this bus was coming along one time. And if I didn’t get on it, I may never get on it.”

Buck went on to explain that the original plan was for Aikman to at least do half a season with him at Fox, while he also called Thursday Night Football on Amazon, followed by the postseason and Super Bowl. But those negotiations broke down, giving ESPN the opportunity to swoop in and sign him.

Then ESPN asked Aikman if he thought Buck might be willing to come with him, and that started the sequence of events leading to one of the biggest moves sports media has seen in recent memory, changing NFL broadcast coverage for two networks. Buck met with Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks and president of production Brad Zager and worked the situation out to everyone’s satisfaction.

The entire podcast is worth listening to, which includes Buck hinting that he knows what Fox will do to replace him. And he indicates pretty strongly that the network will make the internal moves of moving Kevin Burkhardt up to the No. 1 NFL play-by-play position and Joe Davis to lead voice of MLB and World Series broadcasts.

Daddy Issues is available on the show’s website, iHeartRadio, and your podcast app of choice including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer

“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”

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According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.

Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.

The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.

The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options. 

NFL+ would make NFL Media more valuable. The league is trying to sell an equity stake in its linear TV and digital media properties. Amazon and Apple are considered the most likely to make a deal. 

A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.

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Stephen A. Smith To Charles Barkley: ‘I Worry Because You’re Big’

“You’ve always been big. But now you’re bigger.”

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ESPN host Stephen A. Smith is concerned about his friend Charles Barkley.

Barkley, while in Dallas with TNT for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, Barkley hopped on a horse. The clip Stephen A. used in his ESPN+ show Stephen A’s World showed Barkley needing assistance by handlers to get off the horse.

Stephen A. was astounded.

“Ain’t no way Charles Barkley needs that much help getting off the horse,” Smith said. “But he did – he did!”

Smith then used the closing seconds to express his concern about Barkley’s size.

“I worry about you cause you’re a big boy,” he said. “You’ve always been big. But now you’re bigger.”

Barkley hasn’t had any publicized major health incidents stemming from his weight, but still Stephen A. was hopeful his friend might take some time and initiative to work on cutting a few pounds.

“Let’s address that, because I need you around,” Smith said. “I love you bro.”

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