ESPN offers Stephen A Smith whopping $90M deal over 5 years to remain with network: report

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ESPN is trying hard not to let Stephen A. Smith leave the network. 

The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” has reportedly offered a whopping $90 million over five years to keep Smith, a veteran on the hit morning show “First Take,” to stay on board, per Puck News

Smith’s contract with ESPN is set to expire in 2025. 


Stephen A. Smith at Disney upfronts

Stephen A. Smith at the Disney 2024 upfront presentation held at North Javits Center on May 14, 2024 in New York City. (Kristina Bumphrey/Variety via Getty Images)

ESPN also reportedly pitched to Smith’s agency, WME, that he could become the highest-paid talent on their team. 

The deal that ESPN reportedly offered Smith would work out to $18 million per year, but Puck News is saying that Smith is looking for $7 million more than that for his next deal. 

Journalist James Andrew Miller made an appearance recently on the “SI Media with Jimmy Traina” podcast, where he noted Smith wanting a “big, big number” when it was time to put ink on a new deal.

“I think there have been preliminary talks already that have started,” Miller said of Smith and ESPN. “He’s looking for a big, big number. And I also feel, given the content world, he doesn’t even have to have another offer from one entity for that big number.


“I think what ESPN is up against is the possibility that WME could go out and create an architecture where Stephen A. has a podcast, a this, a deal with this, a deal with that, whatever, and at the end of the day, it’s $20 million a year.”

ESPN has been dishing out deals in recent years to top talent, including Pat McAfee, who reportedly got a five-year, $85 million deal to move his wildly-popular “The Pat McAfee Show” to the network, while also being a featured panelist on “College Gameday” among other gigs. 

Stephen A Smith at IST

While ESPN has made attempts to stay away from politics, the network allows Stephen A. Smith to discuss anything he wants on his personal podcast.  (Mike Kirschbaum/NBAE via Getty Images)

There was also the beginning of the 2022 NFL season, when ESPN lured Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to their “Monday Night Football” broadcast, where Aikman reportedly received a similar deal to what was just offered to Smith, according to the New York Post.

Smith has been a long-time talent at ESPN, joining the network in 2003 while serving as the Philadelphia Inquirer general sports columnist, a title he held from 1994-2010. Smith’s hot takes were perfect to go against Skip Bayless, as “First Take” took off. 

Stephen A. Smith at Crypto Arena

Stephen A. Smith attends a playoff basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Arena on May 8, 2023 in Los Angeles. (Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)


Smith has since been the primary talking head for the show, and he also has his “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” where he discusses more than just sports during the podcast. 

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