Most Pro Athletes Make Less Money After They Retire. Not Pat McAfee.

His new sponsorship deal is far more than he made in his playing career

Pat McAfee
Former Colts punter Pat McAfee watches the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns joint training camp practice on August 14, 2019 at the Grand Park Sports Campus.
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With a handful of exceptions, most professional athletes can look forward to making less money after they retire than they did during their playing days. One of ESPN’s 30 For 30 documentaries, titled Broke, focused on this phenomenon with an array of sobering statistics and harrowing personal narratives.

One former athlete who’s done very well with their post-gridiron career is Pat McAfee. He retired from the NFL at the age of 29 — a decision that left many observers surprised, as he had just concluded a very successful season. Not long after his retirement, he made a move into broadcasting and podcasting. And it turns out that that’s paid off very well.

The Athletic reported that FanDuel signed a new deal to sponsor The Pat McAfee Show for $30 million each year. The deal will establish FanDuel as the show’s sole sportsbook sponsor, and is set to last for four years.

It’s an impressive deal all its own. But when you look at it in the context of McAfee’s NFL career, it’s even more of an achievement. A new Sporting News analysis compares the size of this deal to what he made when playing for the Colts — which peaked with $3.75 million in 2014, and totaled $15 million over the course of his career.

That’s an impressive sum of money, to be sure; it’s also half of what he’s now making in a year for his show. At the time McAfee retired, many questioned his decision. In retrospect, it looks a lot more savvy — and a lot less physically taxing.

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