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Joe Buck: ‘It’s Ego-Filled That I’m Doing St. Louis Cardinals Broadcast’

“…I’m really excited to get back in the booth and to work with Chip and to do play-by-play and color and switch off, and just to have two-and-a-half, three hours of fun.”

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Joe Buck
Courtesy: Brian Bowen Smith, Disney General Entertainment

Joe Buck will make his return to the Busch Stadium broadcast booth on Friday night alongside Chip Caray to broadcast the St. Louis Cardinals game against the Chicago Cubs at 8:15 p.m. EST on Bally Sports Midwest. Buck’s father and Caray’s grandfather worked together on Cardinals radio broadcasts on KMOX from 1954 to 1959 and 1961 to 1969. Both St. Louis natives made an indelible impact on fans of the team and Major League Baseball as a whole. Friday night will mark the first time since 1969 that a Buck and Caray broadcast team will call a Cardinals game together. On Thursday’s edition of MLB Now on MLB Network – hosted by Brian Kenny and featuring Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and Bob Costas – Joe Buck appeared to discuss the significance of the moment.

Buck, who joined ESPN in 2022 to serve as the voice of Monday Night Football with longtime broadcast partner Troy Aikman, was previously the lead play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports’ coverage of the National Football League and Major League Baseball. During his time behind the microphone for MLB on FOX, he worked with Tim McCarver and John Smoltz for broadcasts across 24 World Series championships and numerous marquee matchups. Buck has divulged in the past that he misses calling games for the local team and evinces a connection between broadcasters and fans. Before working at FOX Sports, he called Cardinals games on KMOX radio on FOX Sports Net Midwest.

“I think as far as calling baseball, doing the local stuff and being able to root with the watching and listening audience I think it’s a part of it that I missed when I went to FOX,” Buck said. “It’s just a different job, and I think when you’re thinking and I think hoping along with the fanbase that you’re talking to, there’s something fun about that, and that’s the part of it that I miss. So, will there be more games? I don’t know, but I’m going to have fun tomorrow night.”

Buck explained that Bill DeWitt III, the president of the St. Louis Cardinals, had approached him with the idea to return to call a Cardinals game while he was with FOX Sports at the end. Once he joined ESPN, DeWitt brought up the idea with more frequency, but Buck articulated that he was content with being at ESPN and broadcasting football games.

Caray became the play-by-play voice of the Cardinals last season and appears on Bally Sports Midwest alongside a rotation of color commentators that includes Jim Edmonds and Brad Thompson. Buck will be in the booth with Caray on Friday serving in a multifaceted role.

“Now that I have 6-year-old boys who are both playing coach-pitch baseball, I kind of want to do it to get them down on the field, to get them in the booth [and] let them see what I did for 35 years of my life and enjoy it,” Buck said. “And I’ll be honest – it’s narcissistic; it’s ego-filled that I’m doing it, but I’m really excited to get back in the booth and to work with Chip and to do play-by-play and color and switch off, and just to have two-and-a-half, three hours of fun.”

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Charles Barkley Announces He Will Retire From TV After Next Season

“Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

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Screenbrad from NBA TV with Charles Barkley
Screengrab: NBA TV

Charles Barkley is not waiting. After voicing his frustration several times with the way the media rights negotiations have been handled by his current employer, Warner Bros. Discovery/TNT, Barkley is no longer waiting for them to make a decision, he has announced his own decision.

After Game 4 of the NBA Finals concluded between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics, Barkley took time on the postgame show on NBA TV to announce no matter what happens, he will retire as an NBA commentator after next season, which will be his 25th with TNT.

“I’ve been thinking guys,” Barkley said “I want to say this, because you guys are my family. I really love TNT, all the people who work here, NBA Television. You guys have been great to me for 24 years and I just want to say thank you to my entire NBA family. I love you guys.

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.

“But I am going to pass the baton at the end of next year. I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me, because I am not doing any more interviews, don’t y’all be calling me, nobody calling me, I am not talking about this again. But I wanted to tell my NBA TV and TNT family that I am not going to another network, but I am going to pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter or you Steve [Smith]. Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

The NBA’s current media rights agreements with Disney/ESPN and WBD/TNT expire after next season. Many reports have said the NBA will soon sign agreements with Disney, NBCUniversal and Amazon to be the league’s new broadcasting partners beginning with the 2025-26 season. The Wall Street Journal has reported the total value of the new media rights packages is expected to be $76 billion over 11 years.

Rumors of a possible fourth media package being made in order for the NBA to keep its 40-year relationship with Turner Sports going have surfaced, but it looks like either way there will be changes coming to Inside the NBA, the award-winning show Barkley is a part of along with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

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FOX Sports Moving UFL Games to Friday Nights in 2025

“The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year.”

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FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently confirmed a report from Deadline last month that said United Football League games would move to Friday nights in 2025. The Deadline report had said FOX planned to replace WWE Smackdown with sports coverage from college football and basketball as well as games from the UFL.

Shanks’ comments were made during a Zoom with reporters about the news of their new agreement with the NTT IndyCar Series. SI’s Mike Mitchell reported that the UFL worked with FOX to move the games so they could complete their auto racing deal.

Shanks said many of FOX’s UFL games would be moved to Friday night when asked about the change but did not provide more detail.

The UFL was split between FOX and ABC/ESPN this season. The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year and the recent conference championship games were up 57% over the averages from the USFL and XFL last season. According to Mitchell, the league saw a large increase in the 18-49 demographic on FOX compared to USFL programming in 2023.

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Report: WNBA Could Quadruple Media Rights Fees

Under the current structure, the WNBA makes a reported $60 million annually from its media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, Amazon’s Prime Video, CBS and Ion.

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(Illustration) | Courtesy: Women's National Basketball Association

The NBA is reportedly in the process of formalizing new media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Prime Video expected to be worth a collective $76 billion over the course of the deal. At the same time, the NBA is also negotiating media rights for the WNBA in which it has an ownership stake of approximately 60%. The WNBA could quadruple its annual media rights fee within these negotiations, according to a new report from Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.

Under the current structure, the WNBA makes a reported $60 million annually from its media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, Amazon’s Prime Video, CBS and Ion. Throughout the season thus far, the WNBA has seen its ratings increase, drawing more than 1 million viewers across several matchups throughout the regular season. Moreover, discussion surrounding the league is further assimilating into the sports vernacular surrounding stars such as Caitlin Clark, A’ja Wilson, Sabrina Ionescu and Breanna Stewart.

Ben Strauss of The Washington Post outlined how the NBA is in the process of considering one total bid from media companies that combines the value of media rights for the NBA and WNBA. With the league itself determining the value of media rights for the WNBA, he argues that it could either be “rocket fuel” for the league or that its augmented popularity “is more of an afterthought.” The possibility exists that it could be a combination of both extremes as well, but by having the league negotiate its media rights deal, quantifying the true value could be a more difficult task.

In a report from earlier in the year, McCarthy stated that the WNBA is likely to negotiate its own separate media rights deal if it is not receiving the remuneration that it wants. The WNBA attained its most-watched opening month in league history, averaging 1.32 million viewers for games across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, Ion and NBA TV. Moreover, the league had its most-attended opening month in its 26-year history with 400,000 fans at games through the end of May and a rise in sales of WNBA-branded merchandise by 236% year-over-year.

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