Dan Le Batard has become one of ESPN’s biggest, most-important talents. The Miami native hosts an extremely popular radio show and has a TV show, Highly Questionable, that features his more-popular father, Papi.
ESPN cannot afford to lose him. It doesn’t look like they’re going to, either.
Le Batard is set to become a sports media free agent, as his contract with ESPN is up this summer, but the Worldwide Leader is reportedly finalizing a new deal with the top talent.
Sporting News’ Michael McCarthy reported the details:
The outspoken TV/radio host of ESPN’s “Highly Questionable” and ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” is finalizing a long-term contract extension, according to Sporting News sources. The 49-year-old Le Batard’s current deal is slated to expire early this summer. However, the sources said the new deal is not signed yet.
Keeping Le Batard would be a feather in the cap for the new ESPN management team of president Jimmy Pitaro, Oscar-winning content czar Connor Schell and executive vice president of studio production Norby Williamson. Le Batard has discussed moving his ESPN radio show to Sirius XM Radio, according to Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead. The lure? Le Batard would be able to build out his own station at Sirius XM.
In recent years, ESPN has lost stars such as Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless and Erin Andrews to Fox. Despite three rounds of layoffs, ESPN has fought back in the talent wars, luring Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo and Katie Nolan from Fox, while hiring back Rachel Nichols from CNN and Michelle Beadle from NBC. ESPN declined to comment; Le Batard’s agent, Trace Armstrong, did not return calls.
Keeping Le Batard (and Stugotz and Mike Ryan and Co.) is huge for ESPN. Few shows have a more-popular following.
You can view the full report here.