Quarterback Tom Brady has been confirmed as Fox’s lead NFL analyst, with the job waiting for him whenever his playing career finally concludes.
Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch broke the news during the company’s fiscal third-quarter earnings call. Asked when the deal would begin, given that Brady made news by un-retiring a few weeks ago, Murdoch said, “It is entirely up to him for when he chooses to retire and move into what will be an exciting and stellar television career. That is up to him to make that choice when he sees fit.”
Over the course of an agreement Murdoch called “long-term,” he said Brady will “not only call our biggest NFL games” with lead play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt, but “he will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives. We are delighted that Tom is committed to joining the Fox team and we wish him the best in this upcoming season.”
Brady has appeared in 10 Super Bowls, winning seven, all but one for the New England Patriots. After 20 seasons in New England, he moved to Tampa Bay, winning one more title with the Buccaneers.
Brady, who will turn 45 in August, has had longevity unlike virtually any other professional athlete, playing a hazardous sport well past the age where most players leave the field. Last February, he said he would finally hang up his helmet, citing his desire to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests. A few weeks later, he opted to come back as the Buccaneers starting quarterback.
Fox’s NFL booth has been in major flux, so the arrival of Brady, whenever that kicks in, will offer a resounding rebuttal to anyone wondering about the company’s outlook on sports. The 20-year duo of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman both reached the end of their partnership at Fox last season. Buck will take over play-by-play duties this season at ESPN’s Monday Night Football, while Aikman is heading to Amazon’s Thursday Night Football.
Despite little to no data suggesting the on-air personalities influence ratings, broadcast networks and their upstart streaming rivals have been bidding up the price of sports talent, particularly the NFL. A contract given to lead CBS NFL analyst Tony Romo in 2020, which is worth up to $17.5 million a year over 10 years, set off a round of pricey contracts. The check-writers have justified it by pointing to the NFL’s massive and enduring popularity in a fragmenting, time-shifted media landscape. No financials were discussed on the Fox earnings call, but it’s likely Brady’s deal will come in at the top of the market.