Gus Johnson, not Ian Eagle, should succeed Jim Nantz for March Madness

Gus Johnson

Not having Gus Johnson be the voice of March Insanity is Heartbreak Metropolis
Picture: Getty Photos

Ian Eagle is actually good at his job. Gus Johnson’s simply higher.

Earlier this week it was reported that the 2023 NCAA Match would be the ultimate March Insanity that Jim Nantz will name after over three many years on the job. With subsequent 12 months’s Closing 4 in Houston, it’s the proper place to finish his run as he’s a College of Houston alum. And whereas Nantz will nonetheless be the voice of soccer on Sundays for CBS and the Masters in Augusta, his days of calling faculty basketball’s crown jewel are coming to an finish.

Too unhealthy the community fumbled his substitute.

That is no diss or shot at Ian Eagle who will take over for Nantz. Eagle can do all of it, as he at the moment calls NBA, NFL, and faculty basketball video games. He’s nice. It’s simply that he’s not Johnson. And whereas Johnson hasn’t referred to as a match sport since he left CBS for Fox again in 2011, Fox’s high faculty soccer call-man will get to do a couple of faculty basketball video games every season.

Networks don’t often mess around in terms of letting their expertise dabble on rival airwaves, however CBS and Fox set a precedent earlier this 12 months once they labored out a deal as a part of the Massive Ten’s new seven-year $7 billion media rights deal that additionally consists of NBC.

Test this out per ESPN — who misplaced out on the deal:

“The Massive Ten designed the settlement to pair main networks with particular home windows on faculty soccer Saturdays. Fox will air video games starting at midday ET. CBS, which has a cope with the SEC that expires after the 2023 soccer season, in 2024 will start airing Massive Ten video games in the identical midafternoon window. NBC will carry Massive Ten video games in primetime, which can be branded ‘Massive Ten Saturday Night time.’ Massive Ten video games additionally will seem on Peacock, NBC’s direct-to-consumer streaming platform.

“The Massive Ten Community will proceed to air soccer video games — as much as 50 per 12 months from 2024 by means of 2029 — in addition to many of the league’s males’s and girls’s basketball video games and Olympic sports activities. The Massive Ten will add a second Black Friday soccer sport on CBS (Iowa and Nebraska have historically performed a Black Friday sport on Fox).

“Fox will carry 24-32 soccer video games per season throughout the settlement, whereas NBC will carry 14-16 video games on its linear community and eight video games per 12 months on Peacock. Starting in 2024, CBS will carry 14-15 Massive Ten video games per season.”

If rival networks can work collectively for the sake of cash, then they’ll work out a approach to take advantage of excitable voice in sports activities — who’s a March Insanity legend — the brand new play-by-play man for the NCAA Match. In case you didn’t know, the match makes over 80 percent of the NCAA’s annual revenue — which suggests they need to need the thrill that Johnson brings to video games, too.

Earlier this 12 months, FOX selected Kevin Burkhardt to interchange Joe Buck because the community’s high play-by-play man for the NFL as a substitute of Johnson. It was one other instance of how whitewashed broadcast cubicles have grow to be. This 12 months’s NFL lead broadcasting cubicles characteristic Buck and Troy Aikman, Burkhardt and Greg Olsen, Nantz and Tony Romo, Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit, and Cris Collinsworth and Mike Tirico — which equates to 8 white guys, Romo and an “Italian” since that’s what Tirico identifies as.

The 2022 March Madness broadcast play-by-play callers have been just about the identical as they included Nantz, Eagle, Brian Anderson, Kevin Harlan, Lisa Byington, Andrew Catalon, Spero Dedes, and Brad Nessler — which provides as much as one lady and no Black individuals.

When Jim Nantz began calling the NCAA Match in 1991 there wasn’t a lot, or any, variety within the broadcast sales space. All these years later, and a white man is changing a white man. Doesn’t appear to be progress to me. 

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