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Stephen A. Smith is eyeing the top spot in ESPN salary discussions
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Stephen A. Smith is eyeing the top spot in ESPN salary discussions

As Stephen A. Smith prepares for contract negotiations with ESPN, his potential deal is already a hot topic in the sports media landscape. Recently, Smith spoke on Bloomberg’s The Deal podcast and shared his perspective on no longer being ESPN’s highest-paid talent and why he thinks he’s ready to reclaim that title in his next contract.

In light of personalities like Pat McAfee, Kirk Herbstreit and the Monday Night Football duo of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman who have surpassed him in recent years, Smith sees his dominant ratings on First Take and consistent presence on ESPN’s NBA programming as key factors that position him to once again secure the highest salary at the network.

While he recognizes the success of his peers, Smith emphasizes that his focus is not on competing with them, but rather on emphasizing his value to ESPN and Disney. He is clear about what he brings to the table and is willing to negotiate accordingly.

Smith’s influence extends beyond traditional television, as he has taken on roles as executive producer of First Take and ventured into self-financed projects such as The Stephen A. Smith Show. With his contract set to expire this year, Smith is aware of the demand for his talents and is ready to leverage his position in the industry.