ESPN’s Chris Fowler ‘could move to Fox’ when his contract expires in early 2023 after 35 years with the network, which has handed out lucrative deals to Troy Aikman ($18m annually), Joe Buck ($15m) and Stephen A. Smith ($12 one million)
- Chris Fowler could leave ESPN after 35 years when his deal expires in 2023
- The 60-year-old Fowler is best known for covering college football and tennis
- One potential landing spot is Fox, which previously lured ESPN’s Tim Rinaldi
- ESPN recently gave big deals to Troy Aikman, Joe Buck, and Stephen A. Smith
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Chris Fowler, one of the longest-tenured hosts in the history of ESPN, could be on the verge of leaving the ‘Worldwide Leader’ when his contract with Disney expires in early 2023.
Front Office Sports reports that the 60-year-old is in the final months of the nine-year extension he signed with Disney-owned ESPN in early 2014. Fowler is best known for covering college football and tennis, both on a play-by-play basis commentator and studio host.
He and on-air partner Kirk Herbstreit have called eight College Football Playoff championships, and he has also partnered with tennis legends such as Chris Evert and John McEnroe for coverage of the US and Australian Opens, as well as Wimbledon.
Fowler’s contract expires at a precarious time for ESPN, which has reportedly handed out lucrative deals to several of the network’s top talents: Monday Night Football’s Troy Aikman ($18 million per year) and Joe Buck ($ 15 million), like Stephen A of First Take. Smith ($12 million).
Chris Fowler, one of the longest-tenured hosts in ESPN history, could be on the verge of leaving the ‘Worldwide Leader’ when his contract with Disney expires in early 2023
He and on-air partner Kirk Herbstreit have called eight College Football Playoff championships, and he has also partnered with tennis legends such as Chris Evert and John McEnroe (left) for coverage of the US and Australian Opens, as well as Wimbledon
ESPN lured Fox’s Troy Aikman (left) and Joe Buck (right) to cover Monday Night Football
ESPN has been tougher in negotiations with other hosts, FOS reports, so it’s unclear whether they will stand by Fowler, a 35-year network employee, or let him walk. Recently, in 2021, another ESPN college football host, Tom Rinaldi, signed with Fox Sports.
Author and ESPN profiler James Andrew Miller discussed the situation with Richard Deitsch on a recent podcast.
“I think Fowler will be a really interesting case study to follow,” said Miller, who wrote about the network in his 2011 book, “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN.”
‘Because he is not with the crazy 15-plus [million] that Aikman and Buck are,’ Miller continued. ‘He’s not in Stephen A. territory. But he’s a guy who makes a really, really good living and deserves to make a good living. And let’s see what ESPN’s appetite is to keep Fowler.
“There’s not going to be anybody at ESPN that’s going to say, ‘We don’t want to keep Chris Fowler.’ But will there be people who, dare I say it, will be brave enough to say, ‘We only want to keep Chris Fowler for a certain price’? To me that sounds crazy. But let us see how far this discipline extends from them. … They could cross their hands and say, ‘Where else are you going to get tennis? We are basically our own tennis.’
Stephen A. Smith earns $12 million annually for his various roles at ESPN