Paul Finebaum not attending SEC Media Days would be like peanut butter without the jelly or spaghetti without the meatballs. Nobody would know what to do. Luckily the world doesn’t have to find out what that would look like.
After rumors swirled of the radio and television personality skipping the annual event if a new contract with ESPN wasn’t finalized, the magic finally happened just before the event at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta from July 16-19.
The regularly scheduled programming, including The Paul FInebaum Show and SEC Nation, on ESPN’s SEC Network can go on thanks to a multi-year contract extension.
That also includes 45 hours of live coverage surrounding SEC Media Days.
“I’m thrilled to be a member of the ESPN family and look forward to continuing our show on SEC Network,” Finebaum said in a statement. “I consider myself incredibly blessed to do this every day, and I’d like to thank everyone at ESPN, as well as all of our loyal listeners and viewers, for their support.”
Just in the nick of time.
So how serious was this? Was the 62-year-old, and most recognizable media figure in the conference, really not going to SEC Media Days?
It was definitely possible. There were even talks that Finebaum, who joined ESPN in 2013, might even join the Big Ten Network, which is owned by FOX Sports.
But he will remain with ESPN and keep providing insight on programs such as SportsCenter, College Football Live, Finebaum Film Room and College GameDay.
“Paul is one of the most compelling personalities on SEC Network and ESPN,” Stephanie Druley, the Senior Vice President of ESPN events and studio production, said. “His passion for the SEC and its fan base is evident every day on The Paul Finebaum Show. Over his years on SEC Network, Paul and his callers have delivered daily with captivating debate and light-hearted humor. We look forward to enjoying The Paul Finebaum Show, and Paul’s varied and valued contributions to our studio show programming, as we head into yet another jam-packed football season.”
For the first time ever, SEC Media Days will not be in the Birmingham, Ala., area, where Finebaum spent more than 20 years of his career.
Rest assure, though. Everyone can take a deep breath now knowing he will be making the trip to Atlanta, too.