Here’s What Fox Received From ESPN in Joe Buck’s ‘Monday Night Football’ Deal

by Thad Mitchell
(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for The Hawn Foundation)

Joe Buck, one of the biggest names in the sports broadcasting industry, is on the move from Fox to ESPN to take on “Monday Night Football” responsibilities. We have all heard of professional athletes being traded from one team to another team, usually for other players or draft picks. What you may not know is sports broadcasters and play-by-play announcers are also subject to trades from time to time. This is the case for Joe Buck’s move to ESPN as Fox wasn’t going to be left empty-handed with their top broadcaster jumping ship. But this wasn’t a broadcaster for broadcaster trade — it was a broadcaster for college football game trade.

What to Know

  • Sports Broadcaster Joe Buck is leaving Fox for ESPN to head up “Monday Night Football.”
  • In return, ESPN is giving Fox a primetime college football game between Big 10 rivals.
  • NFL Hall of Famer Troy Aikman will join Buck on the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast.

That’s right — in exchange for Joe Buck, ESPN gave Fox the rights to a primetime Big 10 matchup. Initially slated to appear on ESPN on September 1, the highly anticipated matchup between Penn State and Purdue will air on Fox. Joe Buck was under contract with Fox for one more year, but with the trade, the network is releasing him early. NFL Hall of Fame quarterback and Buck’s longtime sidekick, Troy Aikman, will join him at ESPN.

Fox reportedly stands to make millions in extra ad sales from having this game, according to Sports Business Journal. ESPN, meanwhile, has a West Virginia-Pittsburgh matchup they can use in that Thursday evening slot. While broadcaster trades such as this one are rare, they aren’t unprecedented. In 2006, ESPN let broadcaster Al Michaels out of his contract so that he could join John Madden at NBC. In return, Disney, ESPN’s parent company, got the intellectual property rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald is a cartoon character by Walt Disney in 1927.

Buck will be joining his wife, Michelle Beisner-Buck, who is already on ESPN’s NFL coverage.

Joe Buck Leaves Fox for ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ Broadcast

Joe Buck is undeniably one of the biggest names in sports broadcasting and his Fox departure will cause a ripple effect. Fox is also losing former Dallas Cowboys great Troy Aikman to ESPN. He will join his longtime partner on the “Monday Night Football” broadcast. It’s been something of a “musical chairs” offseason for football broadcasters.

Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Joe Buck discusses his Fox departure and ESPN arrival.

“They (FOX) have their reasons and they have their business that they’re running,” he says. “Troy had an out and he had a chance to go out on the market and see what he could get. But I think all along, his number one choice was to go back to Fox, and that’s what I was hoping for and that didn’t materialize.”

After departing Fox, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who have been together for more than two decades, will take over Monday Night Football beginning with the 2022 season.