President Obama will have some free time on his hands in a few months when his second term comes to a close.
With that in mind, Richard Deitsch – the media writer for SI.com – decided to check with some of the top network executives to see if they would be interested in having Barack Obama talk sports on their network.
Although CBS declined Deitsch’s request and TNT didn’t respond, NBC, Fox and ABC/ESPN all agreed having the most famous sports fan in the world would probably be good for their broadcasts.
As Deitsch notes, no one believes President Obama has any plan to join a network or host an evening call-in show on the local sports talk radio station.
It is plausible, however, to picture him at big events or even dropping in to studio shows for things such as the NBA Finals or Final Four.
“I would absolutely hire President Obama if he expressed an interest in working as a sports commentator,” said Jim Bell, the executive producer of NBC’s Olympic coverage.
“Well known, great communicators packaged with great sports fandom don't grow on trees, so yes we would be interested in talking to him,” said Traug Keller, the ESPN senior vice president of productions and business divisions.
“Would I hire the most recognizable face on the planet in an industry where we obsess about Q scores on a daily basis?,” asked Charlie Dixon, the executive vice president of content and original programming for Fox Sports. “Yes. Yes, I would.”
Although there’s obviously some who disagree with President Obama’s politics, the executives Deitsch interviewed didn’t think those would be a hindrance to a sports broadcast.
“The minute they’re out of office, partisanship and rancor can often diminish,” said Bell of NBC. “Have you ever seen a former President throw out the first pitch at a baseball game? They’re very warmly received; the crowd isn’t there to think about party affiliation or politics – it’s all about the game.”
Said ESPN’s Keller: “It would certainly be a concern and we would have to be mindful of it. But in the end I would be more worried about him alienating Knicks fans because of his love for the Bulls.”