ESPN will officially announce the hiring of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck from rival Fox Sports as early as Tuesday afternoon, sources tell Front Office Sports.
The duo, who have called six Super Bowls together, will instantly become the most high-profile “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth since the days of the late Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, and Don Meredith on ABC Sports.
Aikman will leap past Tony Romo of CBS Sports as the highest-paid sports broadcaster in history. Aikman will make just short of $95 million over five years. Buck is poised to make about $65 million over five years, said sources.
The talent raid is shaping up to be Jimmy Pitaro’s biggest moment as ESPN’s chairman.
Aikman and Buck have reigned as Fox’s No. 1 broadcast team for 20 years. They rank behind only the late John Madden and Pat Summerall in longevity. Now Aikman and Buck are poised to call ESPN’s first Super Bowl in 2027.
Pitaro previously lured Peyton Manning and Eli Manning with the chance to do their own alternate ManningCast of Monday Night Football. And he’s not done. Word is that Pitaro, a New York Yankees fan, wants to hire Derek Jeter.
Then there’s the revenge factor for the Walt Disney Co. against rival Fox. For the last decade, Pitaro and predecessor John Skipper had to sit and watch while Fox recruited ESPN talents like Tom Rinaldi, Emmanuel Acho, Erin Andrews, Jason Whitlock, Skip Bayless, and Colin Cowherd. Now, with one stunning counterattack, ESPN will wipe the slate clean.
Fox is considering Greg Olsen, Sean Payton, Michael Strahan, and Kevin Burkhardt as possible replacements for Aikman and Buck. Jay Cutler, who Fox hired as its No. 2 analyst in 2017, has also thrown his hat in the ring.
ESPN could not be reached for comment. Fox declined to comment.