Suitors better prep their free agent budgets because longtime senior fantasy football analyst Matthew Berry is leaving ESPN after 15 years.
Berry, whose imprint at the company has grown from regular columns on ESPN.com to the “Fantasy Focus Football” podcast and ESPN2’s “Fantasy Football Now,” made the surprising announcement Monday via social media.
“When I came to the company in 2007, fantasy football was a niche of a niche, and ESPN was way behind the market leader. And now, many years later, I am so incredibly proud of all the work we have done together to bring fantasy football into the mainstream and, specifically, make ESPN the leading game and content destination for fantasy players everywhere,” Berry wrote in a statement.
So… some personal news: This is my last week at ESPN. pic.twitter.com/cDcVgN2BSc
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) July 11, 2022
Berry was hired in 2007 and quickly scaled up ESPN’s fantasy football coverage as the game grew in popularity over the last decade and a half. His weekly “Love/Hate” columns during the NFL season have become a staple for fantasy football enthusiasts while his humorous and conversational writing style helped make the game more accessible for new fans.
“Matthew Berry expressed a desire to explore new opportunities beyond ESPN. After discussing it with him, we agreed to support it,” ESPN said in a statement. “Since joining 15 years ago, Matthew has provided a distinctive and creative voice and been a catalyst in the proliferation of fantasy sports. He is dedicated and talented, and we wish him the best in his next endeavor.”
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) July 11, 2022
Berry will make one final appearance on ESPN Monday before finishing out his last week with the company. He did not reveal what his next professional move will be, but did write in a follow-up tweet that he’s “excited about the future.” In 2019, Berry made a small appearance in Marvel’s record-breaking box office hit “Avengers: Endgame.”
It’s unclear who will replace Berry at ESPN as NFL teams prepare for training camps next month, which typically creates a renewed focus on pre-draft fantasy football coverage. Berry’s podcast partners and fellow analysts Field Yates and Stephania Bell may be next in line.
In September 2021, ESPN Fantasy Football announced that it had established a new all-time record for sign-ups, with a spike of 21% over the 2020 season and an increase of 3% over the previous high set in 2019. It’s estimated that around 40 million people play fantasy football in the United States alone.