The ten-year 375 million dollar contract makes Brady the highest-paid sports personality in history, and ex-ESPN President John Skipper thinks it’s ridiculous. “There’s very little economic value,” the current CEO of Meadowlark Media said during an appearance on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “He’s a very, very, very expensive trophy.” Brady’s salary will be twice the amount of Troy Aikman and Tony Romo’s haul with their respective networks. For a former sports network head not to “get it” is a bit of a surprise to this Bucs writer.
Apparently, Skipper is oblivious to Brady’s overwhelming popularity. Maybe he isn’t aware that thousands of Patriot fans began wearing pewter and red when Brady flew south in 2020. How many NFL Fans have that kind of loyalty to any player on their favorite team that they would jump ship, so to speak, after being devoted to one team for twenty years or more? Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Barry Sanders might have commanded that kind of loyalty on a much smaller scale. Brady’s followers are a lot like Dead Heads were towards the Grateful Dead in following the band anywhere and everywhere for 30 or so years. People quit their jobs to be Dead Heads full-time. The loyalty and love of all things Tom Brady aren’t all that much different. I feel compelled to say that the Dead were not considered the Greatest Rock and Rollers of all time by the majority of music fans. Brady, on the other hand, is widely considered the best at his position: All Time — he’s the most-popular quarterback to ever play in the NFL.
There is very little chance Brady won’t command the press box the way he had the pocket for over 22 years. Fans, however, will tune into Fox matchups to watch games that they normally would have zero interest in — simply because of his presence. Who else would command that kind of attention? Madden and Cossell; maybe in their broadcasting primes? It’s the teams that are playing in any given game that bring the fans, and they would have to settle for whoever is scheduled to be in the booth for the most part. Not anymore. Thousands of viewers will turn on Fox games just to watch Tom Brady. John Skipper seems not to be aware of those facts. He also seems unaware that commercial air-time and sponsorship will also rise in value on broadcasts he is associated with. It’s no different than in the NFL: Wherever he is, he’s the man. There’s the G.O.A.T., and then there’s everyone else. There is no reason to expect retired Dallas Cowboy Quarterback money when you are Tom Brady.
Soon Brady will be hanging them up and becoming the best at the next thing he does. That’s just a given. Go Bucs!!