Pat McAfee’s show has been the center of the sports world with his Aaron Rodgers guest spots, but there is an equally intriguing ongoing story involving McAfee’s future.
It is in play that McAfee could walk away from his four-year, $120 million-plus deal with FanDuel, The Post has learned.
He is in the second year that pays him more than $30 million a year.
McAfee has rocketed to sports media success by doing it his way; first by retiring as a Pro Bowl punter to join Barstool Sports, then leaving Barstool to strike out on his own.
If he were to walk away from FanDuel, it might be another level of gutsy. That said, it appears McAfee will only make the jump if he knows where he is landing.
McAfee has continually bet on himself, and won, which means, first and foremost, he’s going to trust his instincts and not others.
It is definitely “Up to Something” season, which is the on-air phrase McAfee uses when he is talking about new deals.
He has been saying it recently on his program. And it could be big.
McAfee has had talks with other entities, including Amazon, according to sources.
Another possibility could be Google/YouTube, which just did a big deal for NFL Sunday Ticket.
Apple and McAfee don’t feel like a fit, but probably can’t be entirely ruled out. Could a company such as Fanatics eventually emerge as a wild card? There could be more traditional players, too.
McAfee is relentless in his media career, but he is also restless.
In recent weeks, he eliminated the FanDuel emblem from his show.
The sponsorship logo had been watermarked throughout his entire program in the upper-right corner.
In a series of DMs with The Post last week, he was elusive on what is going on with FanDuel, though he said there is no rift.
During the Super Bowl, McAfee was noticeably absent in FanDuel’s ad that featured Rob Gronkowski and McAfee’s former teammate Adam Vinatieri attempting a live field goal to win $10 million for customers.
As FanDuel’s biggest star and a former kicker/punter, McAfee would seem like a natural fit for such an ad.
When asked if he was disappointed about being excluded from the Super Bowl spot, McAfee said, “No sir.”
As for FanDuel, a spokesman for the sports gambling platform declined to directly address its missing emblem on McAfee’s show.
“We really value our relationship with Pat and we are always evaluating how to work to engage his audience,” the FanDuel spokesman said.
McAfee, 35, has had a whirlwind existence that has led him to the center of the sports media world after walking away from the Colts in 2017 and the final two years of contract that was set to yield him around $6 million.
It is not only the weekly paid appearances of Rodgers to be a part of the program, but it is the energy that McAfee, A.J. Hawk and his team bring to the show.
It is why so many entities have lined up to work with McAfee.
The idea of partnering with a network, according to sources, potentially could allow McAfee to stay with FanDuel or find a new gambling partner.
But it feels like McAfee may want to simplify and possibly pare down his responsibilities, because it is more complicated than just turning on the mics for three hours.
Besides his daily show, McAfee and his wife are having their first daughter in a couple of months.
He’s being sued by Brett Favre for defamation.
Plus, while running a daily show is fun and comes with freedoms, it also includes all the headaches of owning a business.
McAfee doesn’t just do the daily talk show either.
He worked WWE’s “Friday Night Smackdown” on Fox before moving to ESPN’s “College GameDay” on Saturdays this fall.
Aside from a Royal Rumble appearance, he hasn’t returned yet to WWE since college football season ended.
It is a lot of traveling that, even for someone with McAfee’s energy, has to wear on him. McAfee also has done college football “Manningcasts” for Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. He has a multi-year deal with ESPN, according to sources.
McAfee has left deals early with Barstool, DAZN, Westwood One, and he elected not to renew with SiriusXM last year.
An early FanDuel exit would be another level.
Though McAfee wouldn’t say what is going on with FanDuel, sources said FanDuel executives have been supportive as McAfee explores what is next for him and the company.
It is definitely “Up to Something” season for McAfee. He is daring — the question is, how daring?
“[There are] a lot of moving pieces right now,” McAfee, who reps himself, said during our direct messages last week. “Not exactly sure where it all ends up. No beef, all love with FD (and you). Just trying to make my show and life easier. I’ll have a lot more info and direction late next week probably.”
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