CBS' loss is FOX and the Pac-12's gain: Gus Johnson is joining the network to be its lead college football announcer. The timing couldn't have been better for the Pac-12: The conference just signed a record media rights deal split between FOX and ESPN. It all means Gus Johnson will play a prominent role in Pac-12 football and basketball broadcasts, from regular season games to the Pac-12 tournament.
Johnson's agreement is broad and he'll be working both as a college football and NFL announcer. In a press release on Tuesday, FOX outlined its plans for Johnson, which appear to include a heavy load of Pac-12 games.
In 2012, they'll call FOX's regular-season over-the-air broadcast schedule, culled primarily from the network's recently completed rights agreement with the Pac-12, as well as the aforementioned postseason assignments. In addition, Johnson also continues as the lead play-by-play voice for college basketball on Big Ten Network, will call FOX's Pac-12 men's basketball tournament games come 2013 and select NFL on FOX broadcasts following the college football season this year.
I think we all remember Johnson's work during the Pac-12 Tournament this past season. Calling the tournament championship game, Johnson unleashed a flurry of emotion following Isaiah Thomas' step-back game-winning jumper to beat the Arizona Wildcats. And now, with Johnson officially a member of the FOX broadcast crew, we'll be seeing that even more, both in the football booth and court-side at basketball games.
As if the Pac-12 media deal couldn't get any better, the conference now has one of the finest announcers in the land on-board, at least in some capacity. FOX is investing heavily in live sports, to the benefit of the Pac-12. Once woefully underpaid and underexposed, the Pac-12 should see serious nationally recognition, and having Johnson calling games is sure to attract eyeballs.
We, for one, welcome our new Gus Johnson overlords and couldn't be more excited about Tuesday's news.