After nearly three decades with Fox, Joe Buck is set to be the voice of Monday Night Football on ESPN, in a move that represents a massive sports broadcasting shift.
Buck spoke about the decision in detail this week on his podcast Daddy Issues, co-hosted by Oliver Hudson. During the latest episode, Buck revealed that his contract with ESPN begins May 1, joking that he’s technically unemployed for the next seven weeks, while also confirming his tenure with Fox is over.
“After 27 years at Fox, my goodbye on-air, on the network, is me singing dressed as a ram,” Buck said about his Masked Singer performance that aired this week.
“It only proves how fast the deal with ESPN happened,” Buck continued, adding that his appearance on the Masked Singer was taped the week after the NFC championship game. “I had no idea that was going to be my last moments at Fox. But those are my last moments at Fox.”
“They didn’t want me to go,” Buck said of the network where he spent nearly three decades of his career. “They have a Super Bowl this year, they have a Super Bowl in two more years, so they have two of the next three Super Bowls. I’ve done it, so they have experience with me and I was signed through this year knowing that the Super Bowl was there.”
According to Buck, the plan going into the offseason was for Troy Aikman to split next season at Fox and with Thursday Night Football on Amazon, but after those negotiations broke down, ESPN made the former Cowboys quarterback a massive offer. Once they reached an agreement with Aikman, ESPN asked the analyst if he thought Buck might be interested in joining, which prompted conversations to jumpstart the shocking move.
While Buck is receiving a large pay increase in his new deal, the play-by-play voice says the lifestyle change that joining ESPN represents should not be understated, considering his wife works for the network on Monday Night Countdown.
“Having that kind of one centralized night to work in the Buck house and then come back and be with [their twin sons] was such a quality of life move for me that I couldn’t not really take it,” the 52-year-old broadcaster said of joining ESPN.
Buck expressed gratitude for Fox letting him out of his contract one-year early, claiming “we all ended in a really good place.” While Buck might believe he still has a cordial relationship with Fox, his former employer now has a massive void to fill, needing to select a play-by-play voice for this year’s World Series and next season’s Super Bowl.