If you asked me to place a bet today, I would put my money that Paul Finebaum remains with ESPN. ESPN is, after all, owner of the SEC Network, and Finebaum once wrote a book titled “My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why The SEC Still Rules.”
But the fact that it’s even a question is noteworthy in itself.
Finebaum’s original 5-year deal that brought him from his local fiefdom at WJOX in Birmingham to national stardom at ESPN is set to expire this month and has yet to be renewed. ESPN has undergone a change in leadership with this year with Jimmy Pitaro replacing John Skipper as the network’s president, so it’s possible that waiting until the 11th hour to renew talent contracts is simply the way ESPN does business these days.
But it’s also possible that Finebaum really will leave ESPN.
And if he does, Fox and Big Ten Network are reportedly prepared to swoop in and nab Finebaum. According to The Sporting News, Fox and BTN (Fox owns 51 percent of BTN) are among the suitors hoping to hire Finebaum. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Cumulus Media and Sirius XM are also Finebaum’s other suitors, according to the report.
It is not known what role Finebaum would play at Fox/BTN, but the guess here is it’d be similar to what he does now at ESPN: eat weekday programming hours through his simulcast radio show while appearing on a variety of studio shows throughout the week.