It’s not often that a media type makes more than the athletes they interview. There are players who earn more money in a single game than most journalists make in a year. Analysts are typically (by far) the poorest person in any given locker room.
Well, Stephen A. Smith isn’t most analysts.
Per the Post’s report, Stephen A. would make the same amount as Lou Williams ($8,000,000) and he’ll earn more than Luka Doncic ($7,683,360), Derrick Rose ($7,317,074) and Jayson Tatum ($7,830,000) this year.
The report indicates that Smith received some money upfront, meaning it’s possible that he’ll take home even more than $8 million this year too. And with a five-year deal, he has a longer contract than Lou Will, who is only signed through the 2020-21 season.
This makes Smith one of the highest-paid ESPN personalities ever. Smith reportedly surpasses Get Up! host Mike Greenberg, who was earning $6.5 million, as ESPN’s current top earner.
Three years ago, Smith left his agent and hired CAA to represent him in future negotiations. CAA also represents Greenberg, Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock among others. At the time of the switch, a source close to Smith told Sporting News, “He wants Skip Bayless money.”
For the record, “Skip Bayless money” is reportedly $25 million over four years at FS1. That’s $6,250,000 annually.
That means Bayless is making nearly the same amount as Trae Young ($6,273,000) and more than players like Montrezl Harrell ($6,000,000), Rodney Hood ($5,718,000), Dwight Howard ($5,603,850) and Lauri Markkanen ($5,300,400). Bayless would be the 185th-highest-paid player in the NBA this season, one spot after Young.
Going forward, analysts will seek out “Stephen A. money.” ESPN plans to continue using Smith on “First Take,” “SportsCenter” and as part of their NBA coverage. According to the Post, they’ll eventually involve him in their streaming service, ESPN+, and utilize him on their social-media platforms.
NFL broadcaster Tony Romo is the next big TV analyst to hit free agency and he’s said to be seeking a record-breaking deal that could even surpass Smith’s salary. Practice your TV voice and hot takes, kids!