Fox traded Joe Buck for a B1G football game?


What a wild and weird world we live in, but it seems my title is by no means click bait. …you came here on the promise that this headline was true and so I’m here to deliver:

According to Sports Business Journal, the two networks have signed a deal that would allow Joe Buck to join longtime partner Troy Aikman on ESPN without breaking his contract.

Why? Well…B1G football makes millions and Buck costs millions, so if you can get the former for the latter…cool.

The game they won? The 2022 Thursday night college football opener between Penn State and Purdue.

It’s a good idea. For Joe Buck!?!?!

The behind-the-scenes details are that ESPN and Fox Sports signed a contract with the Big Ten in 2017, which stipulates that each network can broadcast 27 Big Ten football games per season.

Where it’s really fun is that who has which game is decided (essentially) like a fantasy baseball draft: each network gets choices to select broadcast rights for whatever weekend they choose. While the networks do do not choose specific games, they can select weekends.

Obviously, both groups know which teams will be playing each weekend – and that certain dates, like the rivalry weekend – are pretty quick to drop out of the table.

That said, due to the Buck trade, Fox will have the rights to 28 games this season and ESPN will have the rights to 26. He said it was as simple as Fox asking ESPN not to select the opener. Penn State – Purdue during none of their draft opportunities.

ESPN obliged, of course, which allowed Fox to land opening weekend as well as the rights to broadcast the Nittany Lions and Boilermakers in prime time.

Ourand noted that if Fox had asked much more than that in compensation for Buck, ESPN likely would have walked away. He also notes that if it had gone that way, ESPN would have pivoted and (likely) offered his Monday Night Football play-by-play spot to Al Michaels. Michaels, if you don’t follow the ins and outs of the broadcast — is a free agent who will likely sign with Amazon for Thursday Night Football.

All in all, a solid situation for all parties involved. Buck keeps his security blanket with Aikman and Fox gets a kickoff match that should be entertaining, at worst.


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