An Inside Look at the Next Chapter of Dan Patrick's Career: NBC, ESPN, or Turner?

For over two decades, Dan Patrick has been one of the most recognizable names in sports media, dating back to his days on ESPN alongside Keith Olbermann hosting SportsCenter.

But with Patrick’s 10-year run on Football Night in America over, and the future of his radio/tv show on NBC Sports Network shrouded in mystery, where will his career go from here?

When reached by phone, Patrick told The Big Lead that he is more than satisfied with his current situation and his top priorities are to continue to focus on The Dan Patrick Show, his program at Full Sail University, and finding a home for Sports Jeopardy. He also broke some news, revealing for the first time that he will be replacing Joe Buck on Undeniable on DirecTV’s Audience Network.

Patrick did not want to commit to Football Night in America long-term, and NBC wanted a 5-year commitment. Patrick says he was more interested in discussing a two-year deal. The dissolution of that marriage instantly led to questions about the future of The Dan Patrick Show.

His radio show is under contract with NBC through the end of the year, with another option year, but with NBC Sports Network reportedly putting together a morning show – Patrick’s radio show airs in the morning on NBC Sports Network – it has led to industry-wide speculation that the show will no longer be simulcasted there going forward.

An NBC Sports spokesperson told The Big Lead: “We have an ongoing relationship with The Dan Patrick Show, which does not end in the near term.”

The Emmy-nominated radio/television show is under contract with AT&T/DirectTV for three more years, as Patrick recently agreed to an extension with the company that has produced his radio show since 2009.

The uncertainty at NBC led to Patrick’s discussion with other networks. Patrick said he had talks last year with ESPN when it was helmed by President John Skipper. But Patrick says the talks were only about bringing Sports Jeopardy to ESPN and about current and former ESPN employees getting involved in his program at Full Sail University.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Michael McCarthy of Sporting News reported that Skipper had hoped for a reunion with Patrick and Olbermann on 6pm SportsCenter; however, Patrick vehemently stated there was never any discussion about this.

Still, he said, “never say never,” when asked if he will ever move back to ESPN, but he does not envision that happening in the near term.

Patrick said he is very proud of his time at “The Mothership” but a return is not something he is craving.

 

While Patrick does not know where the show will be seen beyond Audience Network, an expected merger between AT&T and Turner Sports could open up many options. Conceivably, Turner could increase the show’s viewership immensely putting it on TNT, TBS, or digitally streamed on Bleacher Report.

Turner Sports is also considering bidding on the NFL rights in 2022. If able to capitalize, it would be sensible that they could use the services of Patrick on their coverage. Alongside CBS, Turner also has a working relationship airing the NCAA Tournament (basketball is Patrick’s favorite sport).

On the radio side, an important situation to watch is whether the radio show will remain syndicated by Premiere Networks’ Fox Sports Radio (where, in disclosure, TBL’s editor-in-chief Jason McIntyre hosts a weekend show). If not, the most logical fit would be with Entercom Communications because it controls CBS Sports Radio after a merger last year.

There has not been any discussion as of now about Turner airing Sports Jeopardy, but Patrick thinks Amazon and Netflix could be suitors. Patrick is very high on the digital giant: “Amazon needs to be watched out for, they are going to be bidding on live rights,” he said.

Patrick is a risk taker. He opted to leave ESPN at a time it was unprecedented to leave and recreate an individual brand. There is a lot of mystery surrounding Patrick’s future, but as history has proven he is not one to bet against.

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