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Sports Media: ESPN locks in ‘MNF’ director as booth makes big changes

The $165 million deals Joe Buck and Troy Aikman signed to call “Monday Night Football” garnered all the headlines this month, but ESPN much more quietly solidified the top slots in its “MNF” production truck, too.

The network has agreed to terms that will keep Jimmy Platt in the “MNF” director’s chair for at least three more years. A contract has yet to be signed, but sources describe that step as a formality.

Platt took over as “MNF” director in 2019, the season after the infamous “Booger Mobile” roamed the sidelines during ESPN’s NFL telecasts. That was when ESPN would have game analyst Booger McFarland call each game from a much-panned mobile contraption that would follow the plays up-and-down the sidelines.

Jimmy Platt took over as “Monday Night Football” director in 2019.espn images

Platt replaced Chip Dean, who had worked on ESPN’s NFL games for the previous 18 seasons, dating to 2001.

The following year, ESPN named longtime production executive Phil Dean as “MNF” producer. Phil Dean replaced Jay Rothman who, like Chip Dean, had worked on ESPN’s NFL games since 2001.

Phil Dean will remain as producer, which will give the production truck consistency at a time when the broadcast booth goes through a complete overhaul.

Buck and Aikman will replace Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, who have called games for the past two seasons. Aikman signed a five-year deal that pays $18 million per year; Buck signed a five-year deal worth $15 million per year.

Platt did not have any NFL experience when he joined the “MNF” crew in 2019. He became known for directing college football and MLB games.

In an interview back in 2019, Platt described his strategy as keeping the productions simple. “Sometimes you feel like you’re getting hit over the head, and there’s too much stuff going on — too many camera cuts and too much movement. My approach has always been the same: Don’t overdo it.”

 

John Ourand can be reached at jourand@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ourand_SBJ and read his weekly newsletter.

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