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Report: ESPN wants to lure Jim Nantz away from CBS

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From the Super Bowl to the Masters to the Final Four, Jim Nantz is as much a part of CBS Sports as the marquee events that it covers.

ESPN would reportedly like Sunday’s Super Bowl to be Nantz’s last with the network. Front Office Sports reports that ESPN hopes to lure Nantz away from CBS as he reportedly approaches the end of his contract this summer.

Tony Romo money for Nantz?

According to the New York Post, Nantz’s current deal pays him $6.5 million per year. He wants Tony Romo money in his next deal, per the report. Nantz’s booth partner on NFL Sundays is the highest-paid broadcaster in sports, reportedly making more than $17 million per year in a deal inked last year.

That would be a steep pay hike for Nantz, but an understandable ask for a man who’s been the face of CBS Sports for as long as most of us can remember.

Will CBS meet the demand?

“We expect Jim to be at CBS Sports for many years to come,” a spokesperson told FOS.

Jim Nantz (L) interviews Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots after the Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jim Nantz is reportedly approaching the end of his contract and wants Tony Romo money in a new deal. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

What would Nantz mean for ESPN?

Losing Nantz would be a big blow for CBS. ESPN already has a foothold on the network’s Masters coverage, sharing weekday coverage before the coveted weekend broadcast moves entirely to CBS. Nantz has deep ties with the notoriously exclusive Augusta National Golf Club. Would a move to ESPN mean a move for the Masters broadcast as well? It’s certainly a prospect CBS has to consider.

With a culture change at ESPN in recent years after the departure of former president John Skipper in 2017, the network has shifted to a focus of sticking to sports under the leadership of president Jimmy Pitaro. That has meant moving away from outspoken personalities like Jemele Hill and Dan Le Batard in favor of more traditional, straight-forward sports coverage.

Nantz fits that bill to a tee. He also carries an enormous amount of prestige. It’s not hard to imagine ESPN backing up the Brinks truck here.

Wherever he lands, it seems likely that Nantz is in line for a significant raise.

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