The 7 Highest-Paid Broadcasters in Sports
When you flip on a professional sporting event, the players and coaches aren't always the only people making millions of dollars.
Along with the Super Bowl—which rotates across a few networks—the World Series, major golf tournaments and both college football and basketball games have all featured these well-paid voices, such as Jim Nantz, Joe Buck and Al Michaels.
The list does not include Jim Rome, Pat McAfee, Michael Strahan or Stephen A. Smith, who host daily shows.
Rather, the focus is on play-by-play and color commentators.
7. Mike Tirico
Mike Tirico has enjoyed a wide variety of experiences.
During a 25-year run at ESPN, Tirico held a handful of jobs. Most visibly, though, he was the play-by-play announcer on Monday Night Football from 2006 to 2015 before joining NBC.
Since his arrival, Tirico has contributed to everything from the NFL and NHL to the Olympics, golf and horse racing. Beginning in the 2022 NFL season, he'll officially replace Al Michaels as the play-by-play man for Sunday Night Football.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported Tirico's salary is around the $10.5 million range.
6. Jim Nantz
In early April, Jim Nantz becomes the preeminent voice on the sports calendar.
He heads the coverage for The Masters, the first major golf tournament annually, before handling the weekend rounds of many PGA Tour events throughout the year. He's also a play-by-play voice for the men's NCAA tournament, calling every portion of March Madness from the first round through the Final Four.
During the fall, he pairs with Tony Romo on the No. 1 team for NFL games on CBS. As the rotation dictates, Nantz calls the Super Bowl.
Marchand noted CBS had gone as high as $10.5 million in Nantz's latest contract negotiation.
T-4. Al Michaels
For more than five decades, Al Michaels has been synonymous with prime-time coverage.
He called the "Miracle on Ice" in the 1980 Winter Olympics and several World Series. In 1986, he embarked on a 20-year stint heading Monday Night Football for ABC until he left in 2006.
As part of a memorable trade—one that returned "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" to Disney—Michaels went to NBC. He provided the play-by-play on Sunday Night Football through the 2021 season.
According to Marchand, Michaels "will be paid near the Joe Buck neighborhood" of $15 million annually to lead Amazon's broadcast of Thursday Night Football.
T-4. Joe Buck
In an offseason filled with NFL broadcast movement, Joe Buck made a big-money jump to the four-letter network.
Buck agreed to a five-year, $75 million deal with ESPN, per Marchand, to call Monday Night Football.
While not necessarily a surprise, it was a considerable change for Buck. He joined Fox Sports at its launch in 1994 and primarily worked as the No. 1 team's play-by-play voice for the NFL on Fox, along with the World Series. He also contributed to major golf tournaments on occasion.
Buck's new role remains alongside Troy Aikman, his broadcast partner at Fox for two decades.
3. Kirk Herbstreit
Diversify, diversify, diversify.
Kirk Herbstreit has apparently taken the advice to heart, and it's landed him a pair of lucrative contracts.
The former Ohio State quarterback joined ESPN in 1996 and has since become one of the most recognizable figures for the network's college football coverage. He's a top analyst on College GameDay and the color commentator for ABC's prime-time games, earning about $6 million per year, per Marchand.
Long suspected to be eyeing an NFL gig, Herbstreit found that opportunity on Thursday Night Football with Amazon for 2022 and beyond. Marchand reported he'll have an eight-figure salary.
Between the contracts, then, Herbstreit is set to receive $16-plus million per year.
T-1. Troy Aikman
Shortly before Buck hopped to ESPN, Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman did the same.
Aikman left Fox, where he'd worked since 2001, to provide color commentary for Monday Night Football. Marchand noted Aikman inked a five-year pact in the $90 million range.
Through the 2021 season, Aikman has been a part of six Super Bowl telecasts. The next one he's expected to work is 2026—which, for now, is the final year of his contract—when ABC broadcasts the game.
T-1. Tony Romo
CBS wasted no time putting former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo next to Nantz following his retirement as a player.
For the 2017 season, Romo replaced Phil Simms on the network's top pairing and quickly drew praise. Romo dazzled viewers by predicting plays—though he's not done that as often lately—while bringing a fresh energy to the CBS booth.
As a result, per Marchand, Romo commanded a 10-year, $180 million offer from CBS in 2020 as ESPN tried to lure him away.