Richard Deitsch of SI is reporting that Fox is heavily pursuing Erin Andrews to be a major part of their college football coverage, which has been expanded over the past two years. Andrews' ESPN contract expires at the end of this month, and rumors on a possible landing spot have been quiet in recent months. Fox will be airing eight games on its broadcast channel this year, including four in primetime. The network has agreed to long-term deals with both the Pac-12 and Big 12 to air games, and is looking for more faces for their college football coverage after hiring Gus Johnson to be the lead broadcaster last year.
Fox's college coverage really didn't catch on last year, even with the presence of Johnson. Most of their games were shuffled off to FX, which was never really thought of as a destination sports network. However, Fox agreed to a deal with the UFC to air events on FX and Fuel, as well as Fox itself, and FX is more of a landing spot for sports than it was a year ago. Adding Andrews would be a coup for the network.
But at the same token, where else would Andrews fit in on Fox? Fox has no national basketball rights, and Andrews' experience with the NFL is limited. Fox could provide the same MLB coverage that ESPN offered with their Saturday national games and the MLB playoffs, but would the playoffs even be a good fit with them going on in the fall along with football season? There's also the lure of a more mainstream media role, but Fox doesn't have a national morning show like the other networks, which would seem to be something Andrews is looking at in a new employer.
It will be interesting to see what direction Andrews goes in her contract negotiations, and whatever network she ends up with will say a lot about her future motivations. A move to Fox would seem to indicate that she's in for the long-haul in the sports game, while the other networks involved in the race for her services have more non-sports ventures for Andrews to pursue.
[h/t: Sports Illustrated]