When one door closes, another one opens.
In February of 2020 Carron Phillip’s opening lede of a story on the shocking news that ESPN was canceling its daily talk show, featuring Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre, read like this:
It was devastating to fans who crave real sports talk with insight, purpose and a perfect mix of analysis, humor and diversity. The thought within the industry was that Bomani would land on his feet and secure a new contract with ESPN or another prominent role on a competing station.
Bomani without a job at ESPN was like NFL quarterback Cam Newton sitting at home waiting for a team to tender the former MVP a contract — absurd.
Well, Cam signed with the 6-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots this week. The NFL’s flagship franchise secured themselves a playoff appearance with that move.
Similarly, Bomani’s sunset has risen again as ESPN has reached a multi-year contract extension with the host and commentator.
Bomani Can Deliver The Numbers
Jones continues to deliver his popular ESPN Podcast, The Right Time With Bomani Jones, twice per week on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.
In May, The Right Time was downloaded more than 650,000 times, a 60 percent increase over the last year.
Those numbers are proof that Jones has a following. His fans switched mediums and boosted Bomani’s podcast listenership as a direct result of the fact that he wasn’t on TV anymore.
Back To The Grill Again
Jones reassumes his role on Highly Questionable with Dan Le Batard. He was a full-time co-host of the show from May 2013 until June 2017, where his national visibility rose and he became a major, provocative Black voice in media, appearing across ESPN platforms and showing the versatility to handle myriad sports and bring poignant interjection with him to every show.
Jones started his relationship with ESPN as a columnist for ESPN.com and has been contributing to ESPN as a writer and commentator since 2004.
“I’m thrilled to continue my tenure at ESPN,” Jones said. “The Right Time is growing, and the ability to share my voice on many shows and platforms is exciting in this moment.”
Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor, production, added, “Bomani’s voice is impactful and resonates across platforms. He is an important member of our team and we are very happy he will continue to help us serve sports fans.”
At a time when sports media needs voices that are diverse and representative of the people who are being most affected in this transformative moment in our country’s history (where social injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism is being called to the carpet) a voice like Bomani’s is imperative. It demands a vehicle with range and trajectory.
His latest contract with ESPN is another stepping stone for a guy who has years in the game and isn’t even 40 years old yet. The Patriots are all the rave after signing Cam Newton and ESPN has to feel the same about Bomani’s new deal.
The sports boss from Houston via Atlanta is a game changer.