Vince McMahon Did Pat McAfee a Huge Personal Favor Which Helped Him in Securing a $85M Deal With ESPN: “I Felt Pumped”

Published 06/02/2023, 11:45 AM EDT

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A lot has been written and said about Vince McMahon over the last few months. And despite the allegations surrounding his interactions with former WWE employees, one cannot fault his business acumen. He proved it by inking a mammoth deal with Endeavor that’ll see the WWE and UFC merge to form a $21 billion company. And not just his own, McMahon’s word of advice helped Pat McAfee bag an $85 million deal with global sports broadcasting giant ESPN.

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In a recent chat, the former NFL punter and WWE commentator revealed his interaction with McMahon and the interview that almost didn’t happen.

Pat McAfee recalls Vince McMahon’s favor

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McAfee joined WWE in 2018 and moved to SmackDown in 2021. It was at the blue brand that he started interacting with the 77-year-old and began asking him questions. “I would just go ask Vince questions. ‘Why do you guys do it this way? Why do you do this?’ I feel like he’s naturally a teacher. I feel if people approach him and ask him questions, he wants to tell people why he did what he did,” he said during his appearance on the SI Media podcast.

via Imago

“I just started asking questions about decisions I would have to make. I think he appreciated it, I think he respected the questions,” the 36-year-old further revealed. He said McMahon was aware of his podcast and knew that the questions were aimed at bolstering McAfee’s business. The former football punter said McMahon would regale him with stories from the past and they built a camaraderie.

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The practice that McAfee had with McMahon further helped to understand the business and how to run it. It ultimately led to an ESPN contract that is reportedly worth $85 million over five years. His new deal will see his daily show, The Pat McAfee Show, being moved to the ESPN network. This is the same show where he interviewed Vince McMahon last year. 

When the host asked him if he was nervous interviewing McMahon, McAfee said, on the contrary, he was excited, stating, “I felt pumped for the opportunity, for sure.” Meanwhile, McAfee also recalled Vince McMahon’s blessing for him.

Vince McMahon interview almost didn’t happen

Vinnie Mac sat with McAfee for a nearly one-and-a-half-hour chat during the aforementioned interview in 2022, during which they discussed several topics related to pro-wrestling and his personal life. Reminiscing the interview, the former WWE commentator said McMahon hadn’t confirmed joining the team for the show.

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“Him blessing us, he flew in for that. Didn’t know if it was going to happen. It was reported, it was talked about, day of though, before we went live, did not get a confirmation. I just assume he’s coming,” he said about McMahon’s arrival at his show. Despite the doubts regarding his attending it, the 77-year-old came and answered the questions in a rare appearance on chat shows.

Just weeks later, McAfee and McMahon met one another again. However, they swapped the cozy comfort of a podcast setup for the squared circle. The duo locked horns at WrestleMania 38, what has been described as the “worst (non sanctioned) match of the year” by McAfee himself.

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That said, what do you think about Vince McMahon’s guidance for Pat McAfee? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by:

Sudipto Maity

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One take at a time

Sudipto is a WWE writer at Essentially Sports. He holds a PG degree in Mass Communication. Being an experienced journalist, Sudipto has interviewed WWE Superstars Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus and hopes to add some more names to that list.
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Edited by:

Sherjeel Malik

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