Darren Rovell Staying at ESPN After Talks with CNBC

Kyle Koster

Darren Rovell will stay at ESPN on a multi-year contract, The Big Lead has learned from a source with knowledge of the negotiations. The source requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Rovell, as well as an ESPN spokesperson, declined to comment.

The sports business reporter’s role is expected to remain largely unchanged on the social media, digital and television sides. Rovell had been in talks to return to CNBC, where he worked from 2006-2012.

Rovell returned to ESPN in 2012 after a previous stint from 2000-2006.

Though the polarizing reporter operates in a different space than previous high-profile ESPN departures (Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, Bill Simmons, Mike Tirico), his social reach remains a valuable asset for management in Bristol.

The new deal comes on the heels of Rovell’s public dustup with UFC president Dana White. White aggressively criticized Rovell’s May story that UFC had interest in selling the company to WME-IMG, a report that proved accurate when such a deal was completed in July.

It’s unclear if winning such a faceoff with a figure of White’s stature played in Rovell’s favor. To an outsider, however, the timing appears fortuitous.