Tuesday October 3, 2023

Upping The Ante: Shannon Sharpe In Talks With FanDuel

  • Sharpe could potentially join Shams Charania, Kay Adams and Michelle Beadle.
  • FanDuel is looking for talent after losing Pat McAfee to ESPN.
A side view of Shannon Sharpe during an on-site taping of "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed."
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Sports TV free agent Shannon Sharpe is in early talks with FanDuel, sources told Front Office Sports.

The former co-host of FS1’s “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” has been in negotiations about potentially joining the FanDuel TV platform, said sources.

But the 54-year-old Sharpe has talked to several suitors since ending his seven–year partnership with Skip Bayless on FS1’s morning debate show. He will likely have several options before he comes to a decision.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has already invited the Pro Football Hall of Famer to join his rotating team of panelists on “First Take.” New ESPN hire Pat McAfee also said he’d love to see Sharpe join the Worldwide Leader.

Sharpe dropped a coy tweet Monday that he will be back on morning TV “soon.” The tweet has drawn nearly 14,000 likes and 1.3 million views.

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A deal with FanDuel would make strategic sense for both Sharpe and the giant sports betting operator.

The three-time Super Bowl winner needs to capitalize quickly with the kickoff of the 2023 NFL season less than three months away. 

Sharpe could also make his popular “Club Shay Shay” podcast (which boasts 1.2 million followers) part of any new deal.  

“Shannon doesn’t want to sit out the football season,” said one source. “It’s his bread and butter.” 

Sharpe would instantly become one of the biggest stars for the new FanDuelTV and its FanDuel TV+ streaming app. 

FanDuel TV has signed several big-name sports TV talents in less than a year, including former NFL Network host Kay Adams and ex-ESPN anchor Michelle Beadle.

Sharpe is acquainted with FanDuel, attending their Super Bowl party this year and giving the brand a public shoutout on Instagram. 

FanDuel also allows its talent to maximize their earnings potential via multiple opportunities. 

NBA Insider Shams Charania, for example, co-hosts FanDuelTV’s “Run It Back,” with Beadle, Chandler Parsons and Eddie Gonzalez, while also working for The Athletic and Stadium.

The betting operator has proven its willingness to throw big bucks at top talent. McAfee was pocketing an eye-popping $30 million per year from his partnership with FanDuel.

They might not be the only deep-pocketed gambling company interested in Sharpe. Rival DraftKings has a deal with Dan Le Batard and John Skipper’s Meadowlark Media. Former ESPNers Kenny Mayne and Trey Wingo are now working for Caesars Sportsbook.

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Meanwhile, FanDuel would love to make a big talent splash after losing McAfee to ESPN.

McAfee will take his eponymous YouTube show to ESPN this Fall. His weekday program will follow Mike Greenberg’s “Get Up” and Smith’s “First Take.” 

As a result, ESPN will likely cancel Max Kellerman’s “This Just In,” opening up an afternoon slot for the former Indianapolis Colts punter. 

At FS1, the 71-year old Bayless is expected to micromanage a rolling series of auditions for a new debate partner. Possible contenders include: ESPN’s Kellerman and FS1’s LeSean McCoy, Emmanuel Acho, Joy Taylor and Nick Wright.

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