ESPN Offers Stephen A. Smith Crazy New Contract, But He 'Wants McAfee Bucks': Report


ESPN host Stephen A. Smith could be on the verge of a wild payday.

A stunning report from Puck News has revealed that “The Worldwide Leader in Sports” is ponying up quite a lucrative contract offer to Smith — and it still might not be enough for Smith.

The outlet notes that the brash and outspoken Smith is being offered $18 million a year over five years, a deal that would total an eye-popping $90 million.

Puck News reporter John Ourand notes, however, “I’m told Stephen A. wants McAfee bucks.”

Pat McAfee, ESPN’s other golden goose, makes nearly $30 million per year between the broadcast deal for his frat-boyish “Pat McAfee Show” and McAfee’s role on “ESPN College Gameday.”

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(As Puck News notes, however, ESPN would balk at that comparison, given that McAfee’s figure includes production costs.)

Smith’s idea of “McAfee bucks” is in the neighborhood of $25 million per year, per Ourand.

The reported $18 million per year figure, while eye-watering to most working Americans, falls well short of what Smith reportedly wants.

As to whether or not Smith eventually gets that sought-after figure, it’s hard to tell.

Do you think Stephen A. Smith is overpaid?

On the one hand, love him or hate him (and Smith gets his fair share of both), Smith seems to evoke some sort of powerful emotion from everyday watchers. That draws in viewers.

And, again, regardless of one’s personal feelings towards Smith, it’s also hard to deny that the man has a knack for going viral — something very important in today’s social media-driven world.

Given ESPN’s continuing decline in cultural heft outside of Smith and McAfee, one might assume that “The Worldwide Leader” bites the pricey bullet and brings Smith back at his exorbitant demands.

But that would be quite the expensive investment — especially after the investment in McAfee — for an ESPN whose parent company, Disney, is not exactly going through the best of times at the moment.

After a disastrous 2023 at the box office, 2024 has seen the House of Mouse enjoy a tad more success at theaters, but that’s easily been offset by other issues — like revolting fans and layoffs.

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Even the most extreme of Disney optimists would have to admit that the company isn’t operating from a position of power, nor is it flush with cash.

Divvying up that $90 million earmarked for Smith for other shows or talents certainly seems like a more prudent investment.

Regardless, both Smith and ESPN have quite the game of cat-and-mouse ahead of them.

Smith wants to be paid like a franchise player.

ESPN may not be able to afford it.

A Note from Our Deputy Managing Editor:


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Josh Manning

Deputy Managing Editor

The Western Journal

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech