The long relationship between Dan Le Batard and ESPN Radio could quickly be approaching an ending.
ESPN has started pushing Le Batard, the beloved Florida-based host, into a lesser role. That included moving his simulcast to the ESPN+ subscription service and making a key personnel change without informing Le Batard.
If ESPN Radio does move on from Le Batard, his reported replacement is not only a rising star at the Worldwide Leader, but a former NFL veteran who made plenty of money along the way.
Dan Le Batard has been a star at ESPN
Although Dan Le Batard had worked at ESPN for years, he became one of the network’s breakout stars in the 2010s.
A longtime columnist and frequent contributor to studio shows, Le Batard received his own show, Highly Questionable, in September 2011.
The duo of Dan and his father, Gonzalo, quickly made the show a hit. In 2013, ESPN named Bomani Jones the full-time co-host, and the show went from possibly on the chopping block to one of the network’s top shows.
ESPN Radio picked up Le Batard’s radio show, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, in 2013. It received a TV simulcast version on ESPNU in 2015 and moved to ESPNNews in 2018.
Le Batard previously rose to prominence at the Miami Herald.
Both sides could soon be approaching a divorce
Things have been boiling to a bitter divorce between Dan Le Batard and ESPN Radio, if not the entire network.
ESPN moved Le Batard’s simulcast show to ESPN+ earlier this year. The network did the same with other radio shows and written content to push the subscription service.
During a recent round of layoffs, ESPN let Chris Cote — Le Batard’s producer and a fan favorite — go. Le Batard did not air his show for several days as a protest and eventually re-hired Cote with his own money.
Cote is the son of Greg Cote, a longtime Miami Herald writer and Le Batard’s former colleague at the paper.
According to Sporting News, Le Batard called it “the greatest disrespect of my professional career that I got no notice, no collaboration.”
In a recent article, Outkick media analyst Bobby Brurack reported he believes Le Batard and ESPN will part ways in the coming future.
According to Outkick, Le Batard and Jon “Stugotz” Weiner, his co-host, each has a year left on their contracts. Burack wrote that a buyout could cost ESPN around $4 million.
Bart Scott could be Dan Le Batard’s possible replacement
If the end is coming for Dan Le Batard at ESPN, the network may already have their sights on his replacement.
Outkick reported that Bart Scott, the former New York Jets linebacker, is “a name to watch as executives are high on him.”
Scott, who earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors with the Ravens in 2006, currently co-hosts Bart and Hahn on ESPN Radio with longtime Knicks reporter Alan Hahn.
Bart and Hahn is New York-focused and airs on ESPN’s New York affiliate.
Scott also frequently appears on ESPN’s Get Up in the mornings. The ex-Jets leader earned over $45 million in the NFL, according to Spotrac.
Outkick named Chris Carlin, who also works for ESPN, as a potential co-host with Scott. Carlin, Scott, and former Sports Illustrated reporter Maggie Gray co-hosted CMB on WFAN in New York from 2018-19.
When CMB debuted, it was designed to replace Mike Francesa’s show after the legendary host’s retirement in December 2017. Francesa famously unretired in April 2018, however, pushing CMB into a lesser time slot.
Gray now co-hosts Moose and Maggie with longtime WFAN employee Marc Malusis. WFAN recently moved that duo to middays (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) after former midday host Joe Benigno retired and Craig Carton, the beloved and eccentric former morning host, finished a prison stint for his role in a ticket scam.
Barring anything unexpected, these potential changes may not begin until 2022 based on the timeline Burack provided.
All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.