Pat McAfee is expected to sign a major deal with ESPN.
ESPN is now the leading candidate to be the home of McAfee’s daily show, The Pat McAfee Show, as he contemplates walking way from his $120 million deal with FanDuel, according to The New York Post.
McAfee has become a multi-platform sensation with his work with WWE, his daily YouTube show, and his work on ESPN’s College GameDay, but now he’s working towards a larger relationship with ESPN.
While no deal has been finalized, sources with knowledge of the situation have told The Post that ESPN is in the lead to bring McAfee on, which comes after McAfee recently tweeted out a picture of a meeting he had with Disney CEO Bob Iger, which you can see below.
On Monday’s show, McAfee said he was up to something, which he said would be announced in the next ten days. That timeframe is in line with the Disney Upfronts, which are scheduled for Tuesday, May 16. The Post noted that if the deal goes through, it would not be surprising at all to see ESPN officially introduce McAfe next Tuesday at the Upfronts.
The exact amount of money McAfee would earn in a new deal is not yet known, though it is expected to be in the eight-figures-per-year range. It may be less than the $30 million-plus a year FanDuel deal he is potentially walking away from.
ESPN executives have said that in recent meetings that they would only do a McAfee deal if it pencils out and it can make money. There’s no word yet on exact details of how McAfee would be used by the company, past his daily show and GameDay. McAfee and his crew will most likely continue the three-hour daily show, which is expected to be kept on YouTube, but a component, maybe an hour-long format, could be produced to air on ESPN as placing it on linear TV would make it more feasible for the numbers to add up.
The Post added that the role of McAfee’s longtime friends, who contribute a lot to the show, will likely grow under the ESPN umbrella. ESPN’s Audio division, with podcasts, could be a platform where they try to expand “The Brand,” which is a slogan McAfee has used during his post-NFL career. These type of deals also typically include ESPN+. McAfee and his partners have made it a point to be genuine.
“Can people please have faith that I am too dumb to change,” McAfee said on his program earlier today after The Post’s story went online. “You know what I mean? I understand that. It’s part of the conversation now. ‘Hey, this isn’t going to work.’ I’ll be excited to see how people react to the actual news.”
It was first reported in March that McAfee could walk away from his $120 million FanDuel deal. He is in the midst of the second of four years on the contract. McAfee had removed the FanDuel seal from the right corner of his show, and was noticeably absent from the gambling platform’s Super Bowl ads, but McAfee, in a correspondence with The Post for that previous story, denied that was at the crux of his unhappiness.
McAfee has talked about reducing the behind-the-scenes work that running your own company and show entails. He has held talks with all the major players in the market, including Amazon, and he is known to be a bit unpredictable.
McAfee, who recently became a father, has been on hiatus from his full-time WWE SmackDown commentary role since being hired for College GameDay last September, but he’s made surprise appearances at the 2023 Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 39, where he defeated The Miz in an impromptu match on Night 1. McAfee addressed his WWE future back in March, as noted here.
A weatherman and a truck driver’s kid chatted about life today.#UpToSomethingSZN pic.twitter.com/NPUCkln5N7
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 20, 2023