Tim Tebow’s days as an NFL player appear to be over. With the season more than three-quarters finished, no team has made a roster spot for him—not even those in dire need of a quarterback. The question of what’s next for Tebow grows less and less hypothetical. Yesterday, USA Today‘s The Big Lead, citing anonymous sources, reported that a bidding war is brewing amongESPN (DIS),CBS Corporation (CBS), and21st Century Fox (FOX) for Tebow’s services as a football commentator.
According to the report, ESPN wants to make him part of a studio show for its SEC Network, launching next year. CBS wants him for the pregame show for its weekly SEC game. And Fox wants him for a dual role covering college and the NFL. “He’s probably more apt to work at the college level,” says Steve Rosner, a partner at 16W Marketing, a New Jersey agency that represents announcers such as Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, Cris Collinsworth, and Brian Griese. Rosner sees a regular spot on the SEC Network, with occasional appearances on other ESPN shows, as a natural fit.
A bidding war is, of course, just what Tebow’s agent Jimmy Sexton and his other agents at CAA Sports would like to see. “If there is a bidding war for his services,” Rosner says, “then he would make more than your traditional ex-Heisman Trophy winner who is trying to get into the business.” Still, the sports talk market is crowded and not as lucrative as being on the field. “Coming out of the chute, I’d be extremely surprised if Tim Tebow would earn anywhere close to seven figures,” Rosner says.
An experienced cable network analyst working both in the studio and the booth does well to earn $500,000. No one knows whether Tebow, for all his fame, charisma, and good looks, would be good on the air. (He should start prepping for screen tests.) “He’s got to understand that it’s a different mindset than when he was being interviewed as a player,” Rosner says. “Sometimes the most successful guys are the guys who are the most opinionated.” Tebow might actually be too nice for the job.