Are Tony Romo, Troy Aikman or any other NFL broadcaster worth tens of millions per season?
Aside from the fact that both of these guys are former Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks, they have something else in common: They are the poster boys for high paid NFL game analysts. It's a trend that is quickly getting out of hand.
The obvious question, at least to me, is pretty simple: Does anyone tune in to an NFL game because of the announce team? Seriously, I want to know.
Why do I want to know? Because the business is becoming more lucrative by the day. Tony Romo is the trend setter, Mr. Romo gets a cool $18 million or so per season, more than what 90% of the guys playing the game get paid.
Within the past couple of weeks, ESPN dished out $90 million for 5-years of Troy Aikman becoming their Monday Night Football guy.
And hey, listen, I'm not hating on either of these guys, if some crazy network executive is willing to throw that kind of money around, why wouldn't they take it. What is the saying? "Don't hate the player, hate the game?"
My issue is a bit bigger picture here, primary being--"Where the hell does this money come from?" ESPN always whines about losing money and laying people off, yet they're willing to dish out around $17 million a year for Aikman to work essentially one night a week? WTF?
I say this for a reason. That reason is, within the bigger picture, the upfront cost the networks are doling out to these guys will be made back. It will be made back on the shoulders of one group in particular.
The TV viewer.
It means ESPN all charge programming providers (be it streaming or cable) even more money for their programming. CBS does the same thing. And hey, listen, I get it, the two are flush with cash after launching streaming networks, but still. If you keep adding to the price, you price people out. Fast.
It means the cost of programming just keeps increasing. And increasing. And increasing.
Who pays for it? We do.
Whether you realize it or not, ESPN charges arguably the highest re-transmission fee in the business for a simple reason. They have the most live programming. And at the end of the day, that's what people still watch network TV for.
CBS programming is not cheap either. Nor is there streaming app.
I kind of got away from my original question, so I'll re-ask it: Do any of you actually watch the game because Tony Romo or Troy Aikman or Cris Collinsworth or anyone else is on it? Seriously?
My guess is you watch the game because of the game and just kind of half-pay-attention to what the play-by-play announcer or analyst says. At the end of the day, most fans only care how their team is doing, win-or-lose.
Again, I'm not knocking the work of the announce teams, I can tell you from first hand experience it's a lot harder of a job than you think it is. A LOT harder for a multitude of reasons starting with it being "Live" so if you goof up, you don't get a "retake". I guarantee every single non-broadcaster who bitches about the announce team is not capable of doing the job any better. It takes years to perfect the craft.
But is that craft worth close to $20 million a year? Um, no. There are few jobs in life worth that kind of money. Very few. Are there athletes that make that kind of money? Yup, sure there are. Do those athletes deserve that kind of money? Debatable. If you are in the $20 million plus club, chances are you are a star and draw a ton of fans and marketing dollars for the team, so yeah, you could make the argument.
Hey, maybe I'm just tilting at windows here or being the bitter, cynical, angry old man--but I don't get the rush to pay these guys. Like I said, I don't hate the guys receiving the money, but I worry that the bigger the escalation in this kind of bidding war, the more it impacts us every-day folks in the wallet.
And really that's where the problem lies....