Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Stephen A. Smith Set to Make History at ESPN as Highest Paid Talent

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TV sports personality Stephen A. Smith speaks with youth from the Hidden Genius Project prior to Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 30, 2016 in Oakland, California. 
(Source: Robert Reiners/Getty Images North America)

*Stephen A. Smith is on his way to becoming the highest-paid on-air person at ESPN should he score a salary increase of up to $10 million per year, insiders tell The New York Post.

Via The Post:

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. By comparison, Mike Greenberg is paid $6.5 million to host “Get Up!,” which is the network’s highest publicly known salary.

Since Smith still has two years remaining on his current contract — which is paying him, according to sources, in the $5 million per range — the two sides have not yet begun serious talks. But ESPN considers Smith among its most valuable on-air performers, and many think he is on top of the mountain.

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As noted by The Bleacher Report, much of Smith’s continued rise can be attributed to social media. The New York City native boasts 3.98 million twitter followers and is a frequent analyst on the network’s NBA coverage. Smith also contributes to ESPN’s coverage of boxing, UFC and various other sports.

He has been a mainstay on “First Take” for seven years and hosts his own national radio show in addition to appearing on countless programs.

“One of the keys to success in our business is being personable,” Smith said to the audience at the Al Jaffe Speaker Series on March 27, where he shared details about his illustrious career in sports television. “Personable enough to know that whether it’s your attributes, your flaws, you’re relatable to the common man and woman out there. No one is flawless. No one is perfect. Don’t act like you are, admit when you’re not.”

With Smith’s current contract up in June 2021, he is well-positioned for a record raise, the report states.

 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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