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Tom Brady joins Fox after retirement, expected to call matches with Burkhardt

Buccaneers QB Tom Brady will join Fox “on a multi-year deal once he’s finished his NFL career,” according to VARIETY’s Brian Steinberg. Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch made the announcement during the company’s investor call this morning. Brady is expected to announce games with Kevin Burkhardt, who was recently named the NFL’s top play-by-play announcer. News of Brady’s impending arrival could give Fox “potential new momentum after losing lead announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN” this offseason (VARIETY.com, 5/10). Frank Pallotta of CNN.com notes that Brady is a “big hit” for Fox since he is “one of the most recognizable figures in sports and pop culture”. Its name alone “should attract new viewers” (CNN.com, 5/10). In New York, Mather & Draper note that former players, and especially QBs, have been “courted for decades to move to the broadcast booth at the end of their playing careers,” but the “competition to land the next star broadcaster has heated up to the point that some particularly coveted players are now signing TV deals before they’re done playing.” Players have recently been “immediately connected to top broadcast teams, with mixed results”. CBS’ Tony Romo in 2017 “was a revelation with his game prediction abilities”, although ESPN “had much less success” the following year with Jason Witten (NY TIMES, 5/10).

MONEY MOVEMENTS: ESPN’s Booger McFarland noted that announcing post-career plans while performing “is the new trend”, as Drew Brees “did the same thing with NBC”. McFarland: “I’m just wondering what that number was that the Murdoch family gave Tom Brady, who has everything in life, to come and call NFL football games.” ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth: “He has to be thinking about it happening soon. I don’t think he would be making those plans if it wasn’t something that was going to happen soon. But maybe that’s all the ‘money they’re throwing at him.” Meanwhile, Foxworth added that Brady has “a level of credibility that might allow him to do something a little interesting in the stand… (and) relax a bit and gives us a bit of personality”. Foxworth: “I don’t know what personality he actually has, but if anyone has the leeway to give us more fun in the booth, it could be Tom Brady.” Dianna Russini d ESPN: “It’s not just a job he’s going to do between a few modeling campaigns. He’s going to have to be all the way” (“Get Up,” ESPN, 5/10).

TAKE OUT YOUR SCORE CARDS: YAHOO SPORTS’ Liz Roscher notes that Brady’s new work is “just the latest development in a surprisingly wild time” for NFL advertisers, as the TV landscape this offseason has been “shaken like Yahtzee dice” . Al Michaels has moved to Amazon to call “TNF” games on Prime Video with Kirk Herbstreit. That left Mike Tirico to replace Michaels at NBC, where he will call the games with returning Cris Collinsworth. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman left Fox and “jumped ship for ESPN and landed major contracts”. Burkhardt has been promoted to Buck’s old position, and Brady “will join him in a year or two.” Fox did not name “who will be sitting next to Burkhardt until then – Greg Olsen was his partner last season – but it will have to be someone who agrees to be a seat warmer for Brady” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/10).

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