By Joe Reedy
AP Sports Editor
LOS ANGELES (AP) — At least as far as its top ad teams go, NFL free agency is over for this year.
Fox Sports rounded out its lineup for the 2022 season on Tuesday by announcing Greg Olsen as the NFL’s senior analyst. During its initial pitch to announcers two weeks ago, Fox announced that Kevin Burkhardt would be the top play-by-play announcer.
The move was expected for a few months after Joe Buck and Troy Aikman moved on to ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”
It remains to be seen how long Olsen will remain in first place. Tom Brady has signed with Fox and will move into the booth after his final retirement.
Fox has two of the next three Super Bowls, including the game in Phoenix at the end of the 2022 season.
Fox Sports President of Production/Operations and Executive Producer Brad Zager said the past two months have been stressful but rewarding.
“There were a lot of dominoes there. You just tried to focus on the people and make sure everyone was happy at the end of all these moving pieces,” Zager said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
“I don’t want to speak for anyone else. But you know, we’re excited for the future after all of this and knowing that we’ve been settled for a long time. But it’s a lot of different emotions when you go through something like that.
Olsen has worked for Fox since 2017 and worked on games and studio analysts while playing. Olsen and Burkhardt were the network’s No. 2 crew last season when Olsen retired after a 14-year career in the NFL.
Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi will return as supporting reporters.
The team makes its regular season debut on September 11, when the Minnesota Vikings host the Green Bay Packers.
Olsen’s promotion caps off an unprecedented offseason of advertiser deals. In March, Buck and Aikman made the biggest transfer to ESPN after being Fox’s No. 1 team since 2002.
Buck said two weeks ago on an ESPN conference call that he was as surprised as everyone by the move.
“Someone told me the other day that we as fans need a sports person to tell us where all these sports announcers end up because everyone has changed places,” he said. he declares.
“My dad (Hall of Fame announcer Jack Buck) passed away 20 years ago. I think he’d be amazed if he rose from the grave right now and said, ‘Wow, that’s what going on in this business?’ No one saw this coming.
“It was a little crazy. It’s exciting on this side of the business.
Al Michaels, who had been on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” since 2006, started the movement by signing with Amazon. He will team up with Kirk Herbstreit for the inaugural season of Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football.”
Many thought Michaels and Aikman would work together at Amazon until ESPN got their dream booth with Buck and Aikman.
With Michaels going to Prime, Mike Tirico will call “Sunday Night Football” with Cris Collinsworth.
In a phone interview with The Associated Press last month, Tirico said he was initially stunned by the attention given to the announcer’s movements. However, with the longevity of most booths and networks spending an average of $10.27 billion a year in rights fees when new TV deals begin in 2023, primary voice on NFL packages matters.
“That’s the power of the NFL. With Sunday afternoons, Sunday evenings, Monday evenings and now Thursdays, people have this in their routine. And by extension, we as advertisers are part of that routine,” he said. “So I think that’s a natural reason why this is becoming such big news and why certain changes and upheavals are history.
“Obviously Joe and Troy will always work together is going to be natural, but hearing them on Monday nights instead of Sunday afternoons will be a little bit different. I just think changing our habits a bit is multiplied by the power and NFL visibility, which is unlike any other entertainment entity right now.
The only stand that hasn’t changed is CBS. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will be in their seventh year together when the season kicks off in September.
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