With Darren Rovell’s contract up for renewal this summer, there was some thought that ESPN’s sports business reporter could leave for another network. But he has agreed to a new multi-year deal with ESPN, as reported by The Big Lead.
According to TBL’s Kyle Koster, Rovell was in talks with CNBC before deciding to remain with ESPN. Rovell did leave once before for NBC’s business channel, after spending six years at ESPN from 2000 to 2006.
From 2006 to 2012, Rovell appeared on shows throughout the CNBC broadcasting schedule, including Squawk Box. He also write the “Sports Biz” blog for CNBC.com and anchored five sports business documentaries for the network. Those specials covered subjects such as Nike, NASCAR and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Additionally, Rovell briefly had his own show, CNBC SportsBiz: Game On, on NBC Sports Network. He returned to ESPN in 2012.
With ESPN trimming its budget in response to subscriber losses over the past year, laying off more than 300 employees and letting go personalities such as Mike Tirico, Bill Simmons, Keith Olbermann, Colin Cowherd and Skip Bayless, anyone whose contract was up for renewal was not guaranteed to return.
So when Sporting News‘ Michael McCarthy reported in June that Rovell’s agreement (paying him $500,000 a year) was set to expire, that immediately fueled speculation that he could move elsewhere. Would he join the other former ESPN personalities that jumped over to Fox Sports? But with sports business being Rovell’s beat, CNBC was a more natural fit, even if he was something of an odd man out since he didn’t regularly cover Wall Street and financial news.
Koster reports that Rovell’s role isn’t expected to change at ESPN. He’ll report for the television and digital arms of the network, in addition to breaking news and reporting (and causing some friction) on social media. According to McCarthy, he also had a separate agreement with ABC News, which would seem likely to continue now that he’s staying with ESPN.