Stephen A. Smith reportedly expected to make $10 million per year at ESPN

Alex Reimer
April 03, 2019 - 2:05 pm

Stephen A. Smith is expected to become the highest-paid talent in ESPN history, the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports. Being wrong and loud has never been so lucrative. 

Though Smith still has two years remaining on his contract, which Marchand says pays him around $5 million annually, negotiations on his next deal are upcoming. According to Marchand’s sources, Smith could get paid $10 million per year. 

The potential record-setting total reflects on Smith’s value to the WorldWide Leader. Despite his string of recent gaffes –– Hunter Henry, Dwayne Haskins is a runner, Mike Scioscia manages the Angels –– his voice generates more traction than any other personality at the network. In addition to Smith’s “First Take” duties, he hosts a daily radio show and is a ubiquitous presence on “SportsCenter” and other studio shows. ESPN management reportedly values his willingness to work, opposed to other high-profile personalities who complain about being stretched too thin.

Like many of his talking head brethren, Smith appears to have aspirations outside of sports TV. Marchand says he’s interested in hosting a syndicated general talk show or even veering into politics. Smith is a semi-regular cable news contributor, though he’s cut back on appearances in recent years –– perhaps due to his expanding role at ESPN.

Digital subscription platforms, such as Amazon and John Skipper’s DAZN, could try to land Smith as well. They could probably offer Smith more money than ESPN, but the exposure would be minuscule by comparison.

It’s unlikely someone who appears on TV and radio all day and night would willingly veer off into high-priced irrelevancy.