One of the most well-known and controversial sports media figures is none other than Skip Bayless. Bayless has made a name for himself by embracing debate and commanding attention due to his often unpopular opinions. Let’s take a closer look at his career as well as his surprisingly high net worth and salary.
The career evolution of Skip Bayless
Bayless began his career in sports media as a writer, contributing to a variety of newspapers including the Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald, Chicago Tribune, and San Jose Mercury News.
Best known for his time in Dallas covering the Cowboys, Bayless even wrote a trilogy of successful books about the team, further driving his prominence. The books included God’s Coach: The Hymns, Hype and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry’s Cowboys, The Boys: Jones vs. Johnson – The Feud That Rocked America’s Team, and Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the “Win or Else” Dallas Cowboys.
Then, Bayless moved to TV and radio. He made sporadic appearances on ESPN and wrote a regular column for their website before appearing in the sports entertainment show Cold Pizza, which became First Take.
Initially, Bayless debated with Woody Paige before Paige left the network to be replaced by a rotating cast. Eventually, the network settled on Stephen A. Smith. Bayless and Smith became a popular duo, giving rise to a plethora of shows featuring talking heads arguing about sports on TV.
Bayless has made his career by offering contrarian opinions in order to stir controversy, drawing the ire of many athletes and sports figures including Troy Aikman, Mark Cuban, and LeBron James. Bayless is also famous for supporting polarizing athletes like Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel.
Skip Bayless’s current role
Currently half of one of the most successful duos on sports television, Bayless appears with Shannon Sharpe on Skip and Shannon: Undisputed on Fox Sports 1. The show’s format is the exact same as the one he saw success with on ESPN’s First Take. Sharpe and Bayless simply banter back and forth about the most controversial topics of the day.
The show’s ratings aren’t quite as good as the ratings Bayless received when he was with ESPN’s First Take. According to Newsday, Undisputed averaged approximately 107,000 viewers during the first four months it aired in 2016. Viewership improved since then, averaging 130,000 in 2017, 165,000 in 2018, and 169,000 in 2019 through Aug. 5.
Bayless’s old show First Take has averaged approximately double the viewership this year. The TV personality is also known for riling up fans and haters via Twitter, where he tweets about sports while following zero accounts.
Skip Bayless’s net worth and salary
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Bayless’s net worth is $13 million. His salary is reported at $5 million. It’s unclear if the TV personality is worth it. While the ratings for Undisputed have improved, a Forbes piece from last year asked if sports highlights shows with lower overhead costs are a better idea than costly shows that don’t get huge ratings.
In a scathing tweet, The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch pointed out that in 2018, Undisputed regularly got worse ratings than the children’s cartoon Paw Patrol and even game show reruns.
For now, Bayless’s high salary will remain, but it’s uncertain how long past his initial deal FS1 will want to continue. A return to ESPN alongside his former partner Smith could be in the cards sometime in the future.