We are still a couple of months away from the drama of SEC football. And, that would include whether the Gators under new boss, Dan Mullen, can get their act together in 2018.
But this week there is word that one of the premier “talking heads” of SEC Football, and there are many, is having trouble getting his deal renewed with ESPN/SEC Network. And, there is definitely some fascinating drama around Paul Finebaum’s status.
Some quick background, Finebaum is former long time newspaper writer and columnist covering Alabama, Auburn and the SEC in that state. He hosted a successful state wide afternoon radio show for years in Alabama. And, as the popularity of SEC Football rocketed with both Bama and Auburn enjoying fantastic success in the 2000’s, Finebaum made the evolving transition to television.
So, when the SEC Network debuted three years ago, Finebaum was a natural to anchor the weekday lineup of “TV talk” and his television/radio simulcast is tremendously popular.
And that brings us to the current negotiations between Finebaum, his agent and ESPN.
First, in about two weeks hundreds of SEC media will gather in the new home of SEC Media Days (four of them) in it’s new home, Atlanta.
Coaches, players, former players, and prominent media from all 14 schools are there revving up everyone for September and the SEC.
And for the SEC Network this is known as, “offseason gold.”
And, don’t think for a second that Paul Finebaum and his representation aren’t looking to capitalize on that deadline in his contract talks.
That’s when, the first “warning shot” from Finebaum’s camp was leaked to fellow SEC national radio host and “talking TV head,” Clay Travis and he wrote about it last week:
— Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) June 28, 2018
Now, there’s no doubt that Finebaum was/is exerting leverage on ESPN with that leaked threat.
Well, then things went five levels higher on the absurdity of the negotiations, when again, Finebaum and his agent, let it be known that he might be interested in ……. jumping to the Big Ten Network?!?
Yes, that’s the latest in the “rumor mill”from Sporting News earlier this week:
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) July 4, 2018
First, we at F.F.I. would love to know if Finebaum can name the 14 Big Ten Stadiums that the schools play in, much less, if he has even been in half of them to cover/watch a game.
And, we’d be further impressed, if without looking at anything, including Google on his phone, if Finebaum could name half of the Big Ten’s current football coaches, too.
So, the stratosphere level of silliness that he would seriously consider leaving the fan bases, teams, coaches, legacies, etc. of the SEC just doesn’t make any sense.
It again, wreaks of his trying to leverage ESPN anyway possible to get a better deal.
Now, for example, if Finebaum were to seriously talk to CBS and CBS Sports Network, which has been TV home to the SEC Game of the Week for over 20 years now, that would be logical and make some sense. Finebaum would bring serious credibility and audience to their cable channel, and more with his five day a week show.
And maybe, that is actually happening on a quieter level of discussion. We don’t know.
The best guess is that Finebaum re-ups with ESPN/SEC Network,
But if he doesn’t?
He’s not going to a conference/channel to broadcast, where he doesn’t know a Boilermaker from a salt shaker.
Big Ten Network.
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