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The Man Who Will Be King: OutKick’s Clay Travis High On List Of 2021’s Most Influential Sports Media Personalities

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Politics and news website Mediaite confirmed what most of what readers of OutKick pretty much already knew — that OutKick founder Clay Travis is being heard.

More specifically, Mediaite listed Clay as No. 2 on its 2021 Most Influential in Sports Media list, which ran 10 deep.

“Outkick founder Clay Travis had a breakout year in 2021, moving past the sports niche to emerge as a news and political media star,” wrote Mediaite’s Brandon Contes. “This year, Travis made the unprecedented leap from Fox Sports Radio to conservative news talk, joining Buck Sexton to replace the late Rush Limbaugh’s time slot. Travis hasn’t escaped sports completely, launching the OutKick college football bus tour and contributing to the network’s highly successful Big Noon Kickoff.”

Clay finished only behind ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Mediaite’s list, and ahead of TNT’s Charles Barkley (No. 3), Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy (No. 4) and CBS’ Nate Burleson (No. 5). Pat McAfee, Mina Kimes, Dan Le Batard, Jemele Hill and Skip Bayless rounded out the top 10, respectively. As an aside, Clay also finished No. 67 on the list of 75 for the Most Influential in News Media.

Clay Travis

A former lawyer, Clay began his media career in 2005, when he wrote for CBS Sports. His first year there, he worked for free. After leaving CBS Sports, he became a writer and editor at Deadspin, and a writer at the gone but not forgotten AOL FanHouse.

But FanHouse merged with Sporting News in 2011, prompting Travis to launch OutKick the Coverage, primarily a college football website at the time. It quickly became one of the most visited college football sites on the Internet, leading to gigs with Fox Sports, Fox Sports Radio, and eventually, Fox News — as Clay’s takes on politics, and their intersection with sports, gained people’s attention.

“Travis branded himself as the conservative answer to ESPN and he still delivers, even serving as the optimal spot whenever former President Donald Trump has a sports take,” Contes wrote. “Throughout the year, Travis stomped on the NBA’s love affair with China, challenged LeBron James and criticized everything ‘woke.’ Travis lashed out at COVID protocols and led a brigade of college football fans back into stadiums, fighting the narrative that major sporting events would be superspreaders.”

Then came summer, and Clay took a swing at baseball.

“While most sports pundits lauded Major League Baseball for responding to Georgia voting laws by pulling their All-Star Game from Atlanta, Travis used it as an opportunity to preach his ‘go woke, go broke’ tagline,” Contes wrote. “Conservatives followed his lead during the World Series, when Travis noted the irony of MLB returning to Atlanta for the league’s most important spectacle, further proving his influence where sports and politics meet.”

Clay Travis. Second on the list of this year’s most influential sports media personalities. Beware, coronabros everywhere. No. 1 is next.

Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico is the assistant managing editor-newsdesk at OutKick. He is also the co-founder and senior writer at Hoopswire.com, and has covered the NBA for nearly 20 years, including his time at Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and CBS Sports. A native of Akron, Ohio, his writing career began in Wyoming.

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