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NBC’s Al Michaels has emerged as Amazon Prime’s best choice for its forthcoming unique Thursday Night NFL bundle, The Post has discovered.
The courting has already begun with NBC an energetic a part of the discussions that might embrace its high manufacturing individuals being a part of a possible deal as effectively, in accordance to sources, when Amazon begins its exclusive broadcast in the 2022-23 season.
While Michaels is on the high of Amazon’s checklist, he’s not alone because the platform has curiosity in Fox’s Joe Buck and CBS’ Ian Eagle. Right now, although, Amazon is concentrated on Michaels.
Ultimately, this might lead to a unprecedented contract for Michaels. Tony Romo set the market when CBS gave him a 10-year, $180 million contract, the biggest in sportscasting historical past.
Michaels, 76, is not going to obtain that size, after all, however he might ask to surpass Romo’s close to $1 million per sport.
For NBC this yr, Michaels is slated to name the Super Bowl in his hometown of Los Angeles within the remaining season of his present deal. Michaels has proven no inclination but towards retiring after he does one other Super Bowl. Even if the Amazon deal went by way of, Michaels would stay the No. 1 play-by-player for NBC for this season.
In the wings at NBC is Mike Tirico, who’s slated to take over the Sunday Night sales space full-time from Michaels in 2022-23. Tirico left ESPN’s MNF sales space in 2016, considering he would do extra NFL, however has had to wait as Michaels has continued his legendary run. Tirico is keen to have the lead position.
Tirico has hosted the SNF pregame present and has served as Michaels’ understudy, calling occasional NFL video games.
Michaels might be part of Amazon in ‘22 and stay at NBC in a lesser position than the lead voice on SNF, the perennial highest-rated present in community primetime TV.
In this state of affairs, Michaels would name Amazon Prime’s 15 regular-season video games, whereas additionally broadcasting certainly one of NBC’s wild-card playoff matchups. NBC might make Michaels a part of its Olympics or golf protection, if he needed.
The negotiations, at this level, are Michaels and NBC with Amazon, in accordance to sources. If Michaels goes, he may very well be joined by different members of NBC’s Sunday Night crew.
While analyst Cris Collinsworth has two years left on his SNF deal, NBC just lately brought in Drew Brees as a potential replacement.
NBC will consider what they’ve in Brees, a TV rookie, this yr as he does Notre Dame video games and the “Football Night in America” pregame present. Collinsworth is perceived to be an extended shot to find yourself doing Amazon video games than Michaels.
Nate Burleson, who’s approaching potential free company and is a rising star at CBS and NFL Network, is somebody Amazon is excessive on, in accordance to sources.
NBC might additionally share with Amazon components or all of its manufacturing crew, led by govt producer Fred Gaudelli and director Drew Esocoff. This might show useful to each NBC and Amazon, as NBC simply misplaced the NHL and has an extra of folks that it will like to hold totally employed. For Amazon, it will forestall it from having to rent an entire crew of parents for its manufacturing.
“We have a great relationship with Al and we look forward to it continuing for years to come,” NBC Sr. VP Greg Hughes mentioned.
Amazon declined remark.
When Amazon takes over Thursday evening from Fox after this season, its broadcast is predicted to characteristic a lead conventional network-level providing — which is why its centered on the likes of Michaels, Buck and Eagle — after which various streams that might characteristic features like betting or house team-focused displays.
The remaining chapter of Michaels’ profession has been a narrative for some time now. Last yr, The Post reported that ESPN — realizing the rising rigidity over Tirico’s on-deck circle standing — asked NBC about trading for Michaels, however was rapidly rebuffed.
ESPN is coming into its second yr with Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese as its high crew. With Disney watching carefully how ESPN spends, it’s unclear if it will make one other run at Michaels. It already has landed Super Bowls for ABC/ESPN.
As for Buck and Eagle, each are 52 and below contract with their networks. Buck’s deal is up in 2023, whereas Eagle works for CBS, TNT and YES. He simply signed a brand new cope with CBS and is a high candidate to replace Marv Albert as Turner’s lead NBA play-by-player.
With Buck or Eagle, Amazon might probably have a longer-term relationship than with Michaels. Amazon has a 12-year settlement with the NFL starting subsequent season.
Michaels has lengthy been part of intrigue when packages change palms. In 2005, when NBC purchased “Sunday Night Football,” Michaels initially agreed to stick with “Monday Night Football” when it switched from ABC to ESPN, however then had second ideas and ended up being dealt in a commerce that included “Oswald The Lucky Rabbit” going again to Disney. Michaels was on the air in 2006 when it began “Sunday Night Football.”
Now, Michaels is in the course of NFL TV free company once more. He is arguably the best TV NFL play-by-player of all-time and, whereas he might determine for a storybook ending with NBC’s Super Bowl in his hometown of LA in February of ‘22, he and NBC have already began talks with Amazon in regards to the future.