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Mina Kimes to Dan Le Batard: ‘Why Do We Have to Be Pitted Against Each Other?’

“In fact, the moment I first started doing your show, you pitted me against Pablo [Torre], I think from the jump.”

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Mina Kimes
Courtesy: Jesse Grant, Getty Images for Gucci

On Thursday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, ESPN NFL analyst Mina Kimes made an appearance on the program to discuss the latest events taking place around the league just past the midway point of the season. While football comprised a large portion of her discussion with the cast of the program, host Dan Le Batard decided to come back from a break putting Kimes’ presence on the show in context with some other guests throughout the history of the show.

“I believe Mina Kimes is the most-popular person in the history of our show who is not Ron Magill or Tim Kurkjian,” Le Batard affirmed. “I believe you are the third-place finisher, but Lucy [Rohden] and JuJu [Gotti], I believe have a comparable Q rating on popularity. Do I have this wrong as I try to pit people against each other?”

Mina Kimes recently inked a contract extension with ESPN that will keep her on the network’s airwaves, and she also signed a deal with Meadowlark Media to make weekly appearances on The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. Prior to signing the deal, Le Batard emphasized that the line to sign Kimes to a deal started behind Meadowlark Media after a report emerged that Bill Simmons wanted her to join The Ringer. In response to Le Batard’s claim that Kimes is the third most-popular person in the history of the show, she averred how despite him being a mentor to many people in the industry, he seems to revel in putting people against one another.

“In fact, the moment I first started doing your show, you pitted me against Pablo [Torre], I think from the jump,” Kimes said. “Now did I embrace that? Absolutely – it was a very winnable rivalry, easily so in fact…. But you’re doing it again. Why do we have to be pitted against each other?”

Le Batard told Kimes that she has a selective memory and reminded her that when she first arrived on the show, she identified producer Billy Gil as the weakest person in the studio and attacked him. While Kimes did not remember taking that course of action, other people on the show knew what Le Batard was discussing. After more discussions about the ostensible popularity contest occurred on the show, Kimes suggested dials to be added on the video feed that would discern overall listener interest that would fluctuate when people discuss varying topics.

“You need that for that show so not just real-time polling, but as we’re talking, I want to know,” Kimes said. “For example, if I bring up a serious topic, does the dial start moving down, but then if I go into some nonsense, does the dial move back up? This is the kind of real-time information we need.”

“I think video should get to work on something right now that allows us to do that on the air graphically,” Le Batard replied.

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OutKick Adding Show with Ricky Cobb of Super 70’s Sports

“Our audience knows and loves the Super 70s Sports feed and it’s high time for America to get to know the genius behind that incredible content.”

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Graphic welcoming Ricky Cobb to OutKick.com
Graphic Courtesy: OutKick.com

OutKick announced today that it has added Ricky Cobb, the man behind @Super70sSports, as the host of a new daily show set to debut later this summer. The show will be an extension of Cobb’s trademark humor and vast expertise in both sports and culture, which he showcases every day on his popular Twitter account, @Super70sSports.

Aside from his own show, Cobb will also be featured on various OutKick programs such as Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich, OutKick The Morning with Charly Arnolt, OutKick The Show with Clay Travis, and Hot Mic with Jonathan Hutton & Chad Withrow. Currently residing in Chicago, Cobb gained recognition for his creation of the popular @Super70sSports in 2013, solidifying himself as a unique and genuine comedic talent in America.

OutKick Senior Vice President and Managing Editor Gary Schreier said in a release, “We’re extremely excited to be working with Ricky. Our audience knows and loves the Super 70s Sports feed and it’s high time for America to get to know the genius behind that incredible content. OutKick just got even smarter, funnier and more entertaining.”

“This show makes the natural connection between the deep passion for sports, culture, and humor I’m known for on X with my two-decade background as a college sociology professor,” Cobb said. “The things I’ve prioritized most in my professional life are entertaining people and sparking critical thought and discussion. To do both on a daily basis is nothing less than a dream come true, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring my voice and perspective to OutKick.”

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Clay Travis: I Hope Stephen A. Smith Gets Paid; ‘Your Boy Will Be a Free Agent Again and I Want to Get Paid’

“Anybody that is in daily media, I want to be paid as much as possible.”

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Photo of Clay Travis

Reports surfaced last week that negotiations between ESPN and representatives for Stephen A. Smith had begun. John Ourand of Puck reported the first offer was for 5 years and $90 million, or $18 million per year. Many in media have weighed in on the report and the numbers, including OutKick’s Clay Travis who has selfish reasons he would like to see Smith get as much money as possible. He says with his deal up in less than two years, this could impact his next contract.

“Stephen A. Smith…offered 5 years, $90 million by ESPN, that’s an average of $18 million per year, ESPN says that would make him the highest paid employee at the network,” Travis said on OutKick The Show with Clay Travis, before he played a clip of him interviewing Smith a few months ago.

“Is it important to you…and I always say I root for everybody in media to make more money on each new contract, just like every starting quarterback in the NFL roots for the guy whose contract is up to make more,” Travis said. “Heck, I hope you get unbelievable numbers…Is it important to you based on the way the first time ended at ESPN that you are the highest paid person on ESPN given the work you’re doing for them? Do you think that should be the case?”

“Yes,” Smith quickly said. “I’m not stuttering. Hell yes. I’ve mastered my own business. In the world of sports television, Clay Travis, I’ve been number one for twelve years…not only have I been number one every year I’ve been number one every week and every month of every year for the last twelve years. You don’t get to say that about too many people…I am so honored to have the colleagues I have…I’m the one that’s been No. 1 and at the end of the day, it would be nice one day for this man to stand before everyone and be like, ‘I’m No. 1 and this says I’m No. 1.”

Travis continued asking, “Will $18 million dollars get it done? I don’t think so. I think Stephen A. wants around $30 million a year, that is my guess. Will he get it? We’ll see.

“People say what do you think about stuff like that? I believe a rising tide lifts all boats. I want Pat McAfee, I want Stephen A., I want Kirk Herbstreit, I want Tony Romo, I want Tom Brady, Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless. Anybody that is in daily media, I want to be paid as much as possible. By the way that includes Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow.

“Everybody out there, I want paid as much money as possible. I’m in favor of talent. I want talent to get rich and I want those dollars to go up as high as possible. Because unlike the WNBA, I believe a rising tide lifts all boats. I ain’t looking around over my shoulder and saying, ‘oh he got that and now I can’t get what I want.’ No, I’m not a zero-sum guy. I want everybody paid as much money as they possibly can be. And if you’re showing up and you’re putting in multiple hours of live radio and live TV…live digital shows, however you are getting your message out there. Joe Rogan. Bill Simmons.

“I want all of you making as much money as you possibly can, because in about a year and a half, two years…your boy will be a free agent again and I want to get paid. I’m in favor of everybody, I’m a capitalist, I want everybody to make as much money as possible.”

Travis said he looks at these situations like quarterbacks in the NFL. When one gets the new highest paying contract for a quarterback, a new bar is set.

“You know how every time somebodies contract comes up a quarterback gets a new deal and becomes the highest paid, and they keep accelerating what the next guy is going to get. That is to me what talent should do in media. I don’t begrudge anybody who makes money. You’re working hard if you’re making the kind of money these guys are making, the kind of money I am making frankly. And I want everybody to keep raising the bar, so I want Stephen A. to raise the bar as high as he can.”

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Dan Le Batard: Stephen A. Smith Can Make $18 Million Per Year on His Own

“He’s going to want power and a bunch of other things because he is the modern-day Howard Cosell whether you like it or not…”

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Stephen A. Smith
Courtesy: David M. Russell, Disney

Stephen A. Smith is reportedly in contract negotiations with ESPN ahead of the expiration of his deal next year, according to John Ourand of Puck. Ourand reported that Smith had been presented with an initial offer of $18 million per year for five years at the network, making him the highest-paid talent at ESPN.

Smith, however, is reportedly looking for $25 million per year, and his agents replied by asking the network to look at the deal Pat McAfee received that pays him nearly $30 million per year with his eponymous program, The Pat McAfee Show, and appearing on College GameDay. Another comparison that Ourand reports was made is the nine-year multiplatform media rights extension between ESPN and Omaha Productions worth $700 million, which includes the continuation of Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli and expanded original content collaboration.

Dan Le Batard discussed the report on Smith and the contract negotiations on Friday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, prefacing his opinion by stating that show contributor JuJu Gotti had informed him that no one wanted to hear how much money those in the media were making. Le Batard finds it interesting though that Smith is reportedly being offered the highest salary in the history of the network for a talent.

“It used to be for Jon Gruden at $6.5 million, but the explosion of everything that’s happened has made everyone realize, ‘Oh, all these talent are super undervalued,’” Le Batard explained, “even though everyone listening to this would say, ‘It’s ridiculous for anybody to be making the kind of money doing this nonsense that people can make.’”

As he continued, Le Batard conveyed that Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer Joe Buck is currently the highest-paid employee at ESPN (although reportedly Troy Aikman is paid more than Buck), but he does not have to do as much as Smith. Aside from reportedly looking for $25 million per year, Le Batard believes there is more than just money involved in the negotiations.

“He’s going to want power and a bunch of other things because he is the modern-day Howard Cosell whether you like it or not, and beyond sports, he’s got conquering ambitions because he is casting a wide net going on FOX, making sure the audience is as large as it can be as he heads into the leverage of negotiations because he can do this for $18 million a year on his own. He doesn’t need ESPN.”

Smith is the executive producer and a featured commentator on ESPN’s First Take, the morning debate show that has garnered 22 consecutive months of year-over-year growth. He also recently completed his second season on NBA Countdown on which he covered several marquee matchups during the year, including the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks. Outside of ESPN though, Smith has built Mr. SAS Productions, through which he recently produced a docuseries on debate-format television and also hosts his own program, The Stephen A. Smith Show, at least three times per week. Smith joined the iHeartPodcast Network this past February within a distribution deal for his independent program after initially working with Audacy’s Cadence13.

“He sets a table for all the rights that [ESPN has] unless it’s the Stanley Cup,” producer Mike Ryan said, “so what I would do if I’m ESPN is I would pay him $10 million for every sport he can actually cover because the daytime programming on [Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final,] a game that they have – their coverage was Mike Greenberg asking Udonis Haslem about what he thought about tonight.”

Ryan emphasized that when the United States hosts the World Cup in 2026, it is more likely that the ESPN show will be discussing quarterback Dak Prescott than the international soccer tournament. As a steadfast Florida Panthers fan with a keen interest in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, he opined that the network needs to follow the model it has in growing other entities. For example, Ryan stated that Smith has shown everyone what he can do with the National Football League and that Pat McAfee has discussed the National Hockey League on his program.

“What has happened with hockey and the ratings with ESPN now engaged has been an explosion of people realizing how wonderful these playoffs actually are because elsewhere on the network, they are better partners to hockey than they are to baseball by a lot,” Le Batard said. “The baseball people are dying at ESPN because they clearly do not care about the sport, but they care about hockey more and believe in the future of hockey more and spend as if they believe in the future of hockey more, but the morning shows aren’t equipped to talk about this well.”

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