The $8 Million Question: How Much Is Tony Romo Worth as a Broadcaster?

The $8 Million Question: How Much Is Tony Romo Worth as a Broadcaster? article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tony Romo

  • Tony Romo currently makes $4 million per year as a game analyst for CBS, but he's gotten more attention recently as a potential coaching candidate.
  • Darren Rovell examines how much is too much for CBS to pay its top color commentator.

Tony Romo makes $4 million a year for CBS. But after correctly predicting so many plays in last week’s AFC Championship Game, fans and insiders have said maybe Romo would be better off as a coach.

Well, if it’s a head coaching position, Romo could potentially make double what CBS pays him per year.

So the question becomes: How valuable is what Romo does for CBS? Do people watch more because he’s calling a game? It’s the NFL, after all. If he’s the best broadcaster, what’s he worth?

For the answer, we turn to sports media consultant Ed Desser of Desser Sports Media.

“It is the NFL, but there are some exceptions, like what happened when John Madden was broadcasting,” Desser said. “There was a casual fan who tuned in because it was Madden. Is Tony Romo worth what Madden was worth?

“Well, not now, but maybe in the future.”

John Madden made $8 million per year roughly 25 years ago (which inflation adjusts to $14 million). But Madden was being wooed by Fox, which was just beginning its Fox Sports franchise, thus making his free agency more valuable than Romo’s, which will come next offseason.

One wrinkle from Romo is that the head coaching job scenario is more than a rumor.

An informed source told The Action Network that at least one NFL team has seriously inquired over the last month about Romo’s availability and interest in taking a head-coaching position.

While some might say that Romo is more valuable as a game broadcaster because he might encourage a fan to stay with a full game being broadcast by CBS over, say, RedZone, Desser says he thinks Romo is less valuable when considering the amount of total entertainment options that CBS is competing with on a football Sunday.

“Not only are there are dozens of live sporting events going on all trying to compete for that casual viewer — obviously the fan and the football bettor is already watching — but they’re also competing with a virtually unlimited stack of commercial-free media on YouTube and NetfFlix that can be watched on demand.”

For that reason, Romo’s chance to be a dynamic enough announcer to command that casual viewer, Desser reasons, is limited. And that means, that if some team offers $8 million for Romo to be the head coach, it doesn’t really make economic sense for CBS to beat it as he heads into the final year of a three-year deal.

There’s also another angle for Romo, which is that being a broadcaster is significantly easier for him than being a head coach, and it’s well known that he still wants to try his hand at the PGA Tour.

While we’re on the topic of Romo, we need to address an elephant in the room: his Super Bowl prop. You know, the one that puts the over/under of total number of plays he correctly predicts at 7.5.

I’d like to make my opinion on this clear: There’s no way this is going to happen. First of all, it’s hard to grade that many, but second of all, he doesn’t get that many right in a game.

It’s just that when he does — like the Gronkowski call against the Chiefs — it gets so much coverage that it’s overinflated this line.

So if you want to take that bet, take the under.