We speculated on it last October and now it has come to fruition. Skip Bayless is officially leaving ESPN, and he will make his final appearance on "First Take" the morning after the NBA Finals. With Jamie Horowitz running Fox Sports 1, the ESPN "competitor" seems like a natural next step for Bayless.
Horowitz is determined to make FS1 like it's sister station, Fox News. Once again, Horowitz is preaching embracing debate over actual hard news. Since leaving ESPN (and getting the boot from NBC), Horowitz has brought over Colin Cowherd to much fanfare (and little ratings) and Bayless seems the next player to join his former boss.
The loss of Bayless will be the latest in an extremely large exodus of talent to leave ESPN over the last couple of years. From Keith Olbermann, to Bill Simmons, to Cowherd, to Mike Tirico yesterday, and now Bayless, it seems as if the budget constraints from Disney are really costing ESPN. The Big Ten conference also have sold off half of their rights to Fox Sports, after years with ESPN. The package is supposed to cost Fox millions, while ESPN's bid came in significantly lower than expected.
In regards to "First Take", according to Richard Deitsch of SI, ESPN wanted to keep Bayless and despite his departure, "First Take" will absolutely continue.
I'm told First Take will continue and they already have some finalists for the Bayless position.