For weeks the fate of ESPN's high-profile free agents, namely Scott Van Pelt, has been up in the air. Many have felt SVP's ultimate destination would be NBC Sports Network to give the revamped Versus a marquee personality to build up the network. Of course, Van Pelt could also remain at ESPN where he has steadily climbed the ladder at the WWL to become a signature voice on SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, and The Masters. However, it seemed as if these were the only two options for Van Pelt with no other networks explicitly expressing interest... until this weekend.
In USA Today, a tidbit in Michael McCarthy's article suggested FOX may be interested in the free agent Van Pelt. Here's the quote from FOX on the free agent Van Pelt
"We think Scott is a very talented broadcaster who would be a great asset to any broadcast or cable sports network," Fox spokesman Dan Bell said Sunday.""
McCarthy uses the quote to suggest FOX could be a serious player in the SVP Sweepstakes. However, the quote above seems more like common courtesy than anything else. What other position is FOX supposed to take publicly? Sorry, no vacancies? Who cares, Van Pelt is overrated? Van Pelt and FOX just aren't a fit with each other, no matter which way you slice it. From the outside, it looks like FOX was only trying to say something nice about SVP, not trying to state their interest.
Ask yourself, where exactly would Van Pelt fit on FOX with their current portfolio of live sports? The one area where FOX has been thin is at play-by-play, not in the studio, which is SVP's strength. Is he going to supplant Curt Menefee on FOX NFL Sunday? Can you imagine Van Pelt anchoring NASCAR or international soccer coverage? Would he go in to a pregame show for MLB, which FOX has devoted few resources to over the years. Is there room for him on FOX's college football coverage, which has already been claimed by Gus Johnson? At best, SVP may be a replacement for Chris Rose on FOX Sports, which is probably a downward move from where he is now.
So, it really does seem as if the two likely destinations for SVP are ESPN and NBCSN. The other possible destination for SVP would be CBS, but there he would be blocked by heavyweights like Jim Nantz (golf), Greg Gumbel (NCAA), and James Brown (NFL Today). The more interesting development in the SVP Sweepstakes actually occured over a week ago, when Jim Miller noted that Van Pelt was currently working without a contract at ESPN: