Stephen A. Smith wants to be ESPN’s biggest earner

Must read

Stephen A. Smith’s future at ESPN could be up in 18 months if the money isn’t right.

Why did Jemele Hill leave ESPN?

The First Take host joined OutKick’s resident sh*tbag Clay Travis for an interview, where Smith mentioned that the “superior ratings and revenue” he brings in, among other things, should make him ESPN’s highest-paid personality. If he doesn’t, he could leave ESPN.

“I look at whether it’s Pat McAfee, it’s Mike Greenberg, it’s Scott Van Pelt, it’s Troy Aikman, it’s Joe Buck, it’s Kirk Herbstreit. The list goes on and on. I’m so honored to have the colleagues that I have that I work with at ESPN every day. And at the end of the day, it would be nice for one day for this man to stand before everyone and be like, ‘This is not I’m No. 1,’ and ‘This says I’m No. 1.’”

Also thrown into the mix: CBS analyst Tony Romo. Romo signed a 10-year deal with CBS worth an average of $17 million per year, the largest sports analyst contract in TV history at the time.

Smith went on to borrow a line from Jay-Z, calling himself a “business.”

“I’m not just a talent. I’m a business,” said Smith. “I’ve got my own production company. I’ve got my own YouTube channel. I’ve got my own show. It’s not even just a podcast. It’s a show with a fully loaded television studio. That’s what I built for myself, that could go linear or digital. The list goes on and on.

“I’m doing all of these things. I’m not doing all of that to be in second place. I’m not doing all of that to look up at somebody else to see that they’re making more than me when I’m producing superior ratings and revenue. No, I’m not doing that. And I’m not apologizing for anybody for it.”

Smith ended the conversation on an understanding, if ominous note. Smith mentioned his great relationship with ESPN, but mentioned that Disney can run its business how it sees fit.

“I hope that we’re able to work this out,” he said. “I’m confident that we will, because I’m incredibly happy there. But we’ll see.”

Smith currently makes $12 million per year, $8 million in personal salary and a $4 million-per-year production contract. The deal set the market among ESPN personalities when it was signed in 2019 but was recently surpassed by the five-year, $85 million contract Pat McAfee signed with a five-year $85 million contract in May.

More articles

Latest article