Joe Buck granted permission to negotiate with ESPN after long run with Fox Sports
Joe Buck’s long run at Fox Sports is nearing an end.
The network’s lead baseball and football play-by-play man for a generation of fans has been given permission to negotiate with ESPN, which would partner him with his longtime Fox analyst, Troy Aikman, in a new "Monday Night Football" booth.
Buck, 52, had one year left on his Fox contract. Two industry sources familiar with Buck’s situation confirmed the news, which first was reported by the New York Post.
Buck joined Fox in 1994, first called a World Series there in 1996 and first called a Super Bowl at the end of the 2004 season. Buck’s wife, Michelle, is a reporter at ESPN.
It is unclear who will replace him in those roles, but Kevin Burkhardt figures to be a strong candidate to move up on the NFL depth chart.
Burkhardt, a former SNY Mets reporter, has been Fox’s No. 2 play-by-play man for NFL games. Fox has two of the next three Super Bowls.
Al Michaels remains a play-by-play free agent after his NBC contract expired. He could land with Amazon for its new "Thursday Night Football" package.
Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese formed ESPN’s "Monday Night Football" team the past two seasons. A Buck-Aikman booth combined with the Manning brothers’ 10 simulcasts gives the Monday night franchise renewed star power.