A familiar face on ESPN is said to be headed toward a new contract that will make him the highest-paid talent in the history of the network, according to The New York Post. The report cites people with knowledge of upcoming negotiations saying Stephen A. Smith is expected to boost his salary to as much as $10 million a year.
“The Post spoke with multiple executives and agents to figure out the number that Smith could garner, and the consensus was in the $8 million-to-$10 million range,” the paper reports. “By comparison, Mike Greenberg is paid $6.5 million to host ‘Get Up!,’ which is the network’s highest publicly known salary. ‘PTI’s’ Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are believed to be in Greenberg’s neighborhood.”
Smith reportedly makes about $5 million a year with his current contract, which has two years left. The report notes that the two sides have yet to begin serious talks.
“ESPN considers Smith among its most valuable on-air performers, and many think he is on top of the mountain,” The Post reports. “Even as ESPN tightens its budget for some of its personnel, Smith is expected to receive a record payday.”
The report adds: “Smith, 51, is a polarizing figure, as those in the opinion business tend to be. He is on ‘First Take,’ hosts his own national radio show and appears on countless programs.”
Here’s a recent commentary by Smith on “First Take” …