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#pounditSunday, July 14, 2024

Pat McAfee is lying to himself and his audience with move to ESPN

Pat McAfee doing his show

Feb 9, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Pat McAfee on the FanDuel set on radio row at the Super Bowl LVII media center at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pat McAfee made a huge announcement on Tuesday, but the talented broadcaster is lying to himself about it.

McAfee announced that his “The Pat McAfee Show” will be moving to ESPN beginning in the fall. The show will be simulcast on ESPN, ESPN+ and ESPN’s YouTube channel.

McAfee serves as his own agent in negotiations and walked away from a $120 million deal with FanDuel to sign with ESPN. While making the announcement on his show, McAfee tried to reassure his listeners and himself.

“We will still have full creative control of the program,” McAfee stated.

Then he responded to what he knew were questions people would be asking.

“Why would ESPN want to license a show and then change it entirely?” he asked rhetorically.

“Our show is still our show, just with a bit more reach and access due to partnering with the worldwide leader,” he added.

It was pretty clear through his announcement that being on ESPN was a major personal milestone to McAfee, as if it signified his full arrival. But his comments about the show not changing show very clearly that he is both lying to himself and to his audience.

Why would they license the show and change it entirely? They won’t change it entirely, but there will be changes. For instance, McAfee said immediately that the F-word is out the window. That’s a big indication of what is happening.

Now, McAfee and his crew will have to censor themselves. Things they said previously they will think twice about. Will Aaron Rodgers still willingly come on the show to bash the NFL’s Covid policies if the show is being aired on a TV partner for the league? It’s totally different to rip the league on an independent platform than it is to rip them a half hour before Adam Schefter is scheduled to make an appearance on the same channel.

The spirit of the McAfee show is its independent nature. Guests enjoy going on there and letting their hair down. There’s a sense that you’re helping the little guy, or you’re more free to say things on McAfee’s show than you would on ESPN. A good piece of that will be gone.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is one of their best regular guests. Will he still be allowed to appear on the show?

At ESPN, you have to answer to bosses, who answer to Disney, who answer to shareholders and protestors. ESPN and Disney don’t want conflicts or controversies. They are partners with the NFL, NBA, NHL, etc. McAfee can’t be the same person and his show can’t be the same at ESPN as it is when it’s independent. Deep down McAfee knows that but he’s trying to convince himself otherwise. He may think nothing will be changing, but he’ll realize it the moment he’s told to fire someone for a bad reason.

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