Congratulations to all of the MAXX Clients named to The Big Lead's '40 Under 40: Sports Media Talents' list for 2017!
The criteria used to generate these rankings are as follows: To what extent there would be a bidding war for these writers, reporters, and/or personalities if they came available, whether they could plausibly make it on their own, the ability to report or ideate original content — with opinion or breaking news — or be the subject of stories that spread throughout the sports media ecosystem. Can they shape discussions? How much do their names resonate in headlines? Also factored in are resonance/recognizability with viewers and readers, and the importance of one’s platform.
Without further ado:
25. Mina Kimes, Domonique Foxworth, Clinton Yates; ESPN
The three co-hosts of the weekend ESPN Radio program Morning Roast are atop ESPN’s proverbial bench now. Kimes now regularly appears on Around the Horn, has co-hosted Highly Questionable, and writes big NFL feature stories. If you watch ESPN, you will assuredly become well-acquainted with her. Foxworth, the former president of the NFLPA and a Harvard MBA, has also appeared on HQ. Yates joined ESPN’s Undefeated after spending nearly a decade at the Washington Post, and has recently been the go-to fill-in host on The Right Time With Bomani Jones.
22. Tom Haberstroh; ESPN
Haberstroh was formerly part of the TrueHoop podcast troop, and since the layoffs this past April now contributes to The Basketball Analogy pod. Haberstroh has been on a tear with deep stories of late, including dives into player rest and the Tinderization of today’s NBA.
18. Kate Fagan; ESPN
Fagan, whose book What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen will be released on August 1st, is both a reporter and opinionist on television. She appears regularly on Around the Horn, and is on the shortlist of people who could conceivably replace Bob Ley hosting Outside the Lines when that time comes (which hopefully will not be soon).
7. Nate Burleson; NFL Network & CBS
Burleson, whose work on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football has been noticed by many, will join CBS’s pregame show.
2. Bomani Jones; ESPN
Jones' new show with Pablo Torre is going to launch early in 2018, and will be produced by Erik Rydholm. Bomani has been co-host of Highly Questionable, and hosts a daily ESPN Radio show. He reportedly turned down a big offer from Fox to remain with ESPN.
1. Big Cat/PFT Commenter; Barstool Sports
Five years ago, Big Cat had recently shut down his personal blog to focus on his real estate gig. PFT Commenter was not yet a Twitter account, let alone a burgeoning voice at Kissing Suzy Kolber and SB Nation. Now, their Pardon My Take podcast is often ranked No. 1 in the sports category on iTunes, and the world is their oyster. They’ll literally soil themselves for the show:
They have massive social reach and their legion of fans approaches them in public, referencing their bits. There are going to be innumerable opportunities for expansion of their franchise, and it will be interesting to see how their core audience responds as their ascension continues from being buzz-worthy outsiders into the mainstream establishment.
Just Missed: Matt Jones; Kentucky Sports Radio