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Top 20 Most Powerful People in Sports Media

The power had by some of the most-recognized names in the sports media seemingly grows with every year. Part of that reality has to do with the popularity of those personalities among fans who watch s

The power had by some of the most-recognized names in the sports media seemingly grows with every year. Part of that reality has to do with the popularity of those personalities among fans who watch sports-related television, who listen to sports talk radio content and who follow sports media individuals across multiple social media platforms. Those who are able to drive television and radio ratings and who have massive followings on websites such as Twitter are able to work just about anywhere they want in the sports world, and they also make quite a substantial amount of money doing so.

The Big Lead, which is an extension of USA Today Sports, released its yearly list of the most power people in sports media for 2015 in May. It should come as no surprise to anybody who follows North American pro sports that personalities who have associations with ESPN, the television and radio king of sports in the United States, dominate the majority of the list. SportsCenter anchors, talk show hosts and in-game commentators who work for the “Worldwide Leader” have, over the years, become stars all on their own, and some are just as recognizable as are the athletes who take the fields and courts for games.

What is somewhat ironic about that last sentence is that the man atop the list of the most powerful people in sports media no longer works for ESPN. It is perhaps that reality that has made him even powerful in the sports world than he was at the beginning of the year. Now that he is a free agent as of the posting of this piece, that man will be able to pick his next place of employment, and you can be sure that he is going to cash in on a lucrative deal that will probably be worth more than what ESPN was paying him. Not bad work if you can get it.

20 Mike Francesa

Via nypost.com

19 Darren Rovell

Via espnmediazone.com

18 Paul Finebaum

Via secsports.com

17 Jason Whitlock

Via youtube.com

16 Dan Patrick

Via metalinjection.net

15 Nick Khan

Via thewrap.com

14 Kirk Herbstreit

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports Images

13 Jay Glazer

Via sportsbizusa.com

12 Colin Cowherd

Via thebiglead.com

11 Dan LeBatard

Via youtube.com

10 Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon

Via youtube.com

9 Mike Florio

Via csnchicago.com

8 Skip Bayless & Stephen A. Smith

Via sbnation.com

7 LeBron James

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports Images

6 Jay Bilas

Via gamedayr.com

5 Jon Gruden

Via chatsports.com

4 Adrian Wojnarowski

Via foxsports.com

3 3 Peter King

Via chatsports.com

2 Charles Barkley

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports Images

1 Bill Simmons

Via complex.com

Bill Simmons became the hottest free agent in the sports media world after he parted ways with ESPN in 2015. That news was hardly a shock to anybody who has been paying attention, as Simmons and ESPN have had a tumultuous relationship for some time. The former Boston Sports Guy made his way up the ranks at ESPN with his fantastic columns and podcasts, and the company even gave him multiple television segments. Simmons will have his choice of where to work whenever he decides to return to sports media, although we may not learn about his decision until the fall arrives.

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Top 20 Most Powerful People in Sports Media