top of page

The End of the Pat McAfee Show?

On September 4, 2018, Pat McAfee launched his podcast, The Pat McAfee Show 2.0, this time free of the control of Barstool. The company started practicing shady dealings towards McAfee, especially financially, so he decided to branch out on his own.

Since its inception in 2018, the show has achieved astronomical success and was a constant presence in the top ten sports podcasts in the nation. Being on his own allowed McAfee the creative freedom to say what he wanted and bring whatever guests he pleased onto the show.

He was given a four-year $120 million contract from FanDuel, and he sold his show to SiriusXM. This allowed him to get his show out to the masses on the radio while doing sponsored segments from FanDuel like betting on sports games. While he signed a contract and sold his show, he maintained creative control of the show.

Moving on From FanDuel

On May 16 of this year, McAfee decided to break off his contract with FanDuel and sign a five-year $85 million contract with ESPN.

There were some rumors that he could walk away from his deal a few months earlier, but nobody expected him to leave the remaining $60 million of his deal on the table. However, he shocked everyone when he accepted less money at ESPN.

Of course, there are some pros to the move, like the fact that McAfee will have increased exposure on the network. His show will be live on television, streaming on the network’s app ESPN+, and be live streamed on YouTube simultaneously every day of the week.

Since the company is the biggest sports media empire in the nation, McAfee is bound to increase the exposure of his already massive show. He will have marketing and promotion for his show that he never could have dreamed of. However, everything that glitters is not gold.

The Death of the Pat McAfee Show

ESPN has created many names in sports media like Stuart Scott, Malika Andrews, Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, and even Adrian Wojnarowski.

They are known for jumpstarting careers, and giving big personalities the platform they need to thrive. However, the company has backstabbed many employees and has ruined a handful of shows.

While he may not be liked by many sports fans, Skip Bayless is one of the biggest journalists in the world and has a knack for creating magic on air. The only two sports shows he has ever been on – First Take and Undisputed – at their peaks achieved unfathomable popularity and ratings. He has single-handedly jumpstarted the careers of two of the most recognizable faces in sports media, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe.

With all the success he has amassed on television, Bayless was still forced to leave his show First Take back in 2016. He wasn’t forced by the network or by Smith, but he felt like he would be wasting his career with a network that wouldn’t allow him to grow.

During the opening monologue of the first episode of Undisputed, Bayless expressed his desire to leave ESPN due to creative restrictions and more linguistic freedom. While he did not explicitly say it, he referred to the company like they were helicopter parents.

Once ESPN has you under contract for a show, they get the final say on guests, type of language you can use, topics of the show, and much more. With these kinds of restrictions, it’s hard for anyone to believe they have their own show. While making money hand over fist off your show, the network dictates everything pertaining to the show, eventually ruining it and creating financial and employment chaos.

McAfee’s show became so popular due to the raunchiness and uniqueness of it all. Before ESPN, he could curse as much as he wanted, bring on whatever guests he wanted, and choose his own topics.

While he claims not much about the show will change, he will have to cut out most of his cursing. Also, he will not have full creative control of the show, meaning the network is bound to water it down like they have done with most of their previous shows.

People fell in love with The Pat McAfee Show 2.0 because it was a breath of fresh air. It mixed standard sports talk radio with comedy, professional insight, gambling, and just catered to the interests of the average sports fan. ESPN will suck all the life, energy, and creativity out of the show.

Ultimately, the show will lose its authenticity due to ESPN’s strict demands and requirements, making people miss the simplicity and spark the show once had. He had a good five-year run, but this could be the beginning of the end for The Pat McAfee Show.

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page