Stephen A. Smith has branded himself as one of the most recognizable personalities on ESPN, if not all of the sports media world.
Now, he’s going to be paid like it.
Smith and ESPN have reached an agreement after months of negotiations on a five-year deal worth nearly $8 million per year to keep him at the network, according to the New York Post. He is now set to be ESPN’s highest-paid on-air personality.
The 51-year-old has been with the network since 2005, making waves with his involvement on “First Take,” “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” ESPN’s NBA coverage and more. According to the Post, Smith will remain on “First Take” each morning and expand his role on “SportsCenter” — including hosting a special Wednesday night edition ahead of their NBA slate that night throughout the season. His radio show, however, is reportedly set to end next year.
ESPN, per the report, is also exploring ways to involve Smith with its subscription service “ESPN+.”
Smith’s new deal surpasses that of Mike Greenberg’s, who was the previous highest-paid ESPN sportscaster. The “Get Up!” host reportedly earns $6.5 million per year. “PTI” hosts Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are “believed to be in Greenberg’s neighborhood,” too.
SOURCE: Yahoo! Sports – Ryan Young