According to a Tuesday report by The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation indicate that a bidding war has commenced. The parties interested are ESPN's SEC Network, CBS Sports and Fox Sports.
All would provide interesting opportunities for the former Heisman Trophy winner, who was released by the New England Patriots following the 2013 preseason and has remained a free agent since.
At this late juncture of the season, it doesn't seem like that will change, and McIntyre's sources say that Tebow is readying for a transition to TV. One source says ESPN has already planned a show for Tebow.
McIntyre's report included the following in regard to ESPN's SEC Network, which is slated to launch on Aug. 21, 2014, but is encountering problems that Tebow's presence could potentially resolve:
An industry source said the SEC Network is running into pickup problems from cable providers the same way Fox Sports 1 did before its launch in August. There’s a thought that having Tebow—one of the most popular athletes in the country—as the face of the network might alleviate some of those issues.
The new SEC Network would reportedly feature a new version of College GameDay, and if Tebow can't be landed, another former athlete would fill his role:
ESPN’s SEC Network...is planning its own version of "College Gameday" and has settled on three names: Rece Davis (an Alabama grad) would be the host, the voice of the South Paul Finebaum would play the role of Lee Corso, and Tebow would be the show’s Kirk Herbstreit. A source says ESPN is currently searching for another former SEC athlete to fill the final spot.
There is little doubt that Tebow would be a lightning rod for viewership wherever he decides to go—assuming he doesn't get another shot in the pros as a player. Negotiations should likely escalate even more in January.
But CBS is the traditional flagship of the SEC, which gives the network at least some leverage. Tebow starred at the University of Florida before being selected in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Denver Broncos.
Fox Sports is an interesting proposition, too.
Its fledgling channel, Fox Sports 1, has brought aboard some unique talent, including former ESPN personality Mike Hill and longtime TSN anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole from Canada.
Tebow's more reserved demeanor would be quite the juxtaposition to Fox Sports 1's unorthodox but effective style.
Despite being invested in so heavily only four drafts ago, Tebow seems to have accepted that he won't get another chance in the NFL, at least for now.
The positive aspect of that is an endless amount of opportunities to star on TV as an analyst, and it will be fascinating to see what his next career move will be.