Earlier this month, rumors started swirling that both Fox and Big Ten Network had their sights set on wresting Paul Finebaum from ESPN once his current contract expired. While that might have made sense on paper, our Joe Lucia noted that it would remove the radio host from the one thing that has become intrinsically intertwined with his reputation: The SEC.
Fox doesn’t have any SEC TV rights, and BTN is a network focusing on a conference that is not the SEC. Fox also doesn’t have any room on its airwaves during the day for a Finebaum radio simulcast (thanks to Colin Cowherd’s impending contract extension with Fox and the decision to expand the Jason Whitlock hosted Speak For Yourself to two hours), unless you want to pretend they care about FS2 (which history has proven they don’t), and Finebaum’s radio show during the day on BTN would make zero sense whatsoever (unless they want to have him focus on the Big Ten, which would defeat the whole purpose of bringing aboard Paul Effin Finebaum).
In the end, it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense for Finebaum to spurn ESPN for a competitor who couldn’t give him the same platform. And, as expected, ESPN has now reached a multiyear contract extension with Finebaum to keep him part of ESPN radio programming and, most importantly, the SEC Network.
Finebaum launched his eponymous show on ESPN Radio in August 2013. When the company launched the SEC Network in 2014, The Paul Finebaum Show was simulcast and he quickly became a fixture on all programming. Finebaum also makes weekly appearances on SEC Nation throughout the fall and is featured across multiple ESPN programs, including Get Up!, First Take, SportsCenter, College Football Live, Finebaum Film Room, and College GameDay.
“I’m thrilled to be a member of the ESPN family and look forward to continuing our show on SEC Network,” Finebaum said in a statement. “I consider myself incredibly blessed to do this every day, and I’d like to thank everyone at ESPN, as well as all of our loyal listeners and viewers, for their support.”
Of course, the only bad thing about Finebaum staying at ESPN and not jumping to BTN is that we won’t get to see him make some semblance of peace with Michigan fans. Though we suppose they still have the option to start The Pete Finebaum Show.
Besides, what would Phyllis from Mulga do with her day without Paul?