ESPN signing Pat McAfee to a huge contract while laying off a bunch of employees has, predictably, not gone over well with the rank and file at the “worldwide leader.”
After The Post’s Andrew Marchand first reported last Tuesday that McAfee, 36, was joining the network on a contract that will pay him more than eight figures per year, some ESPNers were not pleased.
“Too soon was the reaction I got from a few friends. Some that were let go are still working there until June,” a former ESPN employee told Front Office Sports. “You are coming to grips with your departure, and then you see a big money signing. It’s not anti-McAfee… it’s your ex getting engaged a month after the breakup.”
Disney is in the midst of laying off 7,000 employees, with ESPN’s first round of job cuts coming last month.
ESPN still signed NFL analyst Marcus Spears to a four-year contract worth roughly $2 million per year in April and has now brought in McAfee on a big-money deal.
Last year, ESPN gave out five-year deals to Troy Aikman and Joe Buck for its “Monday Night Football” booth, giving Aikman $18 million per year and Buck $15 million per year.
“They’re are some people who are upset. The timing of it is curious. They’re paying Aikman, Buck, Stephen A. Smith, and McAfee. And then you’re going to lay people off? Kind of weird,” sports researcher Howie Schwab, who was laid off in 2013 after 26 years with ESPN, told Front Office Sports. “Nothing against Pat McAfee. Obviously, he brings Aaron Rodgers to the table. He’s already there because he does ‘College GameDay.’ They’re looking to hit another home run. Meanwhile, their singles hitters are going to be fired.”
Mike Soltys, the vice president of communications who was with ESPN since its inception in 1979, was among those laid off last month.
All three hours of “The Pat McAfee Show” will remain on YouTube but the show will also appear on ESPN and ESPN+.
McAfee previously had a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel.