Sports | May 20, 2020 2:00 pm

Skip Bayless Contract Negotiations Could Establish New Norm

Bayless will be negotiating with Fox in the midst of an uncertain landscape for sports

Skip Bayless is featured on First Take, ESPN2's daily sports talk show on August 30, 2013.(Photo by Christopher Capozziello/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Skip Bayless is featured on First Take, ESPN2's daily sports talk show on August 30, 2013.(Photo by Christopher Capozziello/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The Washington Post via Getty Im

Skip Bayless, one of the most popular personalities in sports, may possibly set a new bar when he negotiates his next contract with Fox Sports. Problem is, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be a low one.

According to Front Office Sports, Bayless’s $25 million, four-year deal with Fox expires in September. When it does, Bayless, who hosts the morning debate show Undisputed, may have a tough time maintaining his current salary, let alone getting a raise with his next contract.

Bayless, 68, will be lucky if he simply gets a new deal for similar money as most on-air personalities at Fox Sports have already agreed to take temporary 15 percent pay cuts.

“Flat is the new raise,” a source told FOS.

Under normal circumstances, Bayless would be able to flirt with going to a rival network like ESPN in order to drive up his asking price. But, with most sports media companies struggling thanks to the fallout from the pandemic, the veteran host’s negotiating leverage has shriveled consistently.

It’s bad timing for Bayless, but it could be worse.

“That monster payday is tricky for Skip now. ESPN might not be able to bid big money,” a source told FOS. “Hard to imagine [Fox cutting Bayless’ pay]. The compromise would be to hold the line.”

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