REPORT: ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Will Be Seeking Jaw-Dropping, 8-Figure Salary In Free Agency

Stephen A. Smith is already one of the highest-paid on-screen personalities at ESPN, but the outspoken sports analyst will be seeking a significant raise in pay when he hits free agency.

Smith’s contract is understood to be nearing its expiry, which would open up one of the most interesting free agency periods in sports broadcasting history. We’re just going to have to wait and see what happens, but he’s going to have plenty of options.

He could end up at another network or branch out on his own, having already started his ‘Stephen A. Smith Show’ on which he discusses several other topics outside of sports.


But there is every chance he will stick with ESPN.

According to a report from Front Office Sports, Smith could command up to $20 million a year when his deal ends.

“But Smith has also talked openly about eventually leaving ESPN for late-night TV, entertainment, or politics. With his own production company and YouTube show, he has the platform. Smith’s eponymous podcast on YouTube—in which he delves into plenty of non-sports topics, including politics, social issues and even his personal life—now boasts 524,000 subscribers.

“Put it all together and Smith’s negotiation with ESPN will be the most closely followed talent deal of the year. If the four letters don’t make an offer of at least $20 million annually, they could risk losing the face and voice of the network.”


Stephen A. Smith in purple suit

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 23: Stephen A. Smith visits SiriusXM’s ‘The Howard Stern Show’ at SiriusXM Studio on January 23, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Smith has made no secret of his desire to become the highest-paid employee at The Worldwide Leader in Sports.

“Hell, yes, that’s absolutely true,” he told Outkick’s Clay Travis last year. “I’ve mastered my own business in the world of sports television, Clay Travis, I’ve been No. 1 for 12 years. April 1 will mark 12 consecutive years I’ve been No. 1.

“Not only have I been No. 1 every year, I’ve been No. 1 every week in every month of every year for the last 12 years. You don’t get to say that about too many people.”


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