Paul Finebaum’s contract with ESPN is up at the end of July, and according to Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News reports that not only is there no new deal in place. There have also been no meaningful talks about bringing Finebaum back to the World Wide Leader.
There is no indication about what plans either side may have. Given Finebaum’s degree from the University of Tennessee, his professional roots in Birmingham, AL, and his connections across the SEC, CBS’s SEC contract makes it the only other logical TV destination for Finebaum, but his time at ESPS has raised Finebaum’s profile across the country. That means FS1 and Fox Sports wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.
McCarthy seems to think that money will be the motivating factor.
You could argue that it would be foolish for Finebaum to leave ESPN. When it comes to college football, the network is clearly No. 1, as James Andrew Miller and Richard Sandomir wrote in The New York Times.
When it comes to TV talent, though, you never know.
The 62-year-old talker could be looking for a megadeal similar to the $6 million-a-year pact Fox Sports gave Skip Bayless to leave ESPN. Maybe he’s looking to branch out into a solo venture, with his own TV/radio deals, to maximize his earnings.
It is hard to imagine Finebaum leaving all of the platforms that ESPN gives him behind, but perhaps he recognizes an opportunity to do something on his own or maybe build out his own satellite radio channel. The two sides have until July 31st to get a deal done, so anything can still happen and nothing is set in stone yet.