The sports media world has a chance to look very different in the coming years — at least, if Joe Buck gets his way.
Things have already changed mightily in the past decade. Sports leagues have embraced streaming and esports, ESPN has gone through numerous Monday Night Football lineups, and Buck — the do-it-all announcer for Fox — called everything from Thursday Night Football to golf.
Next up for Buck? Well, it won’t happen tomorrow, but the veteran play-by-play voice could take a lighter workload over the next few years.
Joe Buck hopes to have a far lighter workload by 2030
We’re only in 2021, but Joe Buck is already thinking about what will come in the next decade.
The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch recently interviewed several prominent figures in sports media and asked them where they hope to be in 2030. Buck, who turns 52 in April, admitted he believes he’ll be working less than he is now when that time comes.
“I do believe with nearly three-year-old twins that when they are 12, I will not be doing nearly the schedule I am doing now — and maybe by a lot. I saw my dad ([ack Buck] get invigorated, even when his health was poor, by just going to do a game. So I see the powerful force that exists and keeps people working well into their later years. But I just don’t think that’s for me. We shall see. I just hope I am around and healthy. Then I know I’ll be happy watching my kids and grandkids grow between rounds of golf from the up tees.”
Buck will turn 61 in April 2030. His father, Jack Buck, called NFL and MLB games through his 70s.
The elder Buck took a lighter workload in the late 1990s before he died from a mixture of various illnesses, including lung cancer, in June 2002 at age 77.
Buck has already changed his schedule in recent years
Sports fans, especially those who enjoy baseball and football, are used to hearing Joe Buck on their TV every fall.
Although the idea of less Joe Buck sounds crazy, he’s already taken a lighter workload before. Those of a certain age will remember when Fox had a national baseball game on most Saturdays during the regular season, and Buck was the play-by-play voice.
Fox still airs baseball games on Saturday, but Buck has worked fewer of those games in recent years. Instead of Buck doing a June game between the Braves and the Mets, Fox has instead used announcers like Kenny Albert and Kevin Burkhardt.
Buck also added Thursday Night Football to his schedule in 2018. Buck and Troy Aikman, along with sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink, work two games per week — one on Thursday and one on Sunday — for most of the season.
Who would replace Joe Buck when the time comes?
As crazy as this sounds, 2030 will be here before we know it — and if Buck is working less by then, he’d likely gradually call fewer games starting at some point soon.
Kevin Burkhardt, who works on Fox’s No. 2 broadcast team for football, makes sense as the top candidate to replace Buck. Burkhardt, 47, is five years younger than Buck and has been with the network since 2013.
Although Burkhardt does some broadcast work for the Tampa Bay Rays, his primary job is with Fox and Fox Sports 1. That gives him an edge over Joe Davis, another baseball and football commentator for Fox.
Davis is also the Los Angeles Dodgers’ primary television voice. However, the 33-year-old Davis could eventually devote his full attention to Fox if the opportunity presented itself.
This all sounds like a long way off, but time flies in the sports world. Before you know it, Buck will be calling his final game for Fox to a much-divided Twitter audience.