Pat McAfee Show Moves to ESPN: Former Colt Signs Groundbreaking $85M Deal

Pat McAfee show moves to ESPN
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Colts punter Pat McAfee has secured a five-year deal with ESPN worth around $85 million, marking a significant leap in his broadcasting career.

Beginning this fall, “The Pat McAfee Show” is slated to air on multiple platforms, including ESPN’s cable channel, its free YouTube channel, and the direct-to-consumer streaming service, ESPN+. McAfee, 36, walked away from his FanDuel sponsorship deal valued at a reported $120 million for four years, in favor of aligning with ESPN executives, a decision that was partially driven by the desire to reduce the administrative load of running his business, especially after welcoming a newborn baby girl into his family.

ESPN has committed to paying McAfee roughly $17 million per year, a sum that includes his weekly spot as an analyst on the iconic “College Football GameDay” and full control over all aspects of his show. Under the agreement, McAfee will produce 230 shows annually, which ESPN can sell advertising against, potentially achieving higher ratings than the current offerings in the 2-3 p.m. slot, including SportsCenter and Max Kellerman’s “This Just In.”

The nature of this agreement echoes that of Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, hinting at a trend where sports personalities maintain creative control over their content. Omaha Productions, which produces a variety of content including the “Peyton’s Places” series, was recently valued at $400 million during fundraising.

“The Pat McAfee Show,” which features McAfee, A.J. Hawk, and friends, will continue to be a McAfee production, an arrangement that ESPN is eager to maintain. The network has no plans to change the show that McAfee has successfully produced on YouTube.

McAfee’s decision to join ESPN was influenced by his strong relationship with network president Jimmy Pitaro and a persuasive meeting with Disney CEO Bob Iger. He expressed enthusiasm about the unparalleled platform and resources that ESPN can provide, including a deep network of talent, production assets, league rights capabilities, and access to all aspects of the sports world.

As McAfee prepares to launch the next chapter of his show on ESPN, the world of sports broadcasting watches with bated breath. The magnitude and structure of this deal could potentially redefine the relationship between sports networks and individual content creators.

Congrats, Pat!

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