The world's best known sports tweeter is indeed headed back to ESPN. CNBC's Darren Rovell, who worked at ESPN prior to joining CNBC in 2006, is returning to the WorldWide Leader. Several sources including The Big Lead, Deadspin, and Jim Miller have reported the news already with TBL saying the deal is done.
A source tells AA tonight that Rovell is not only returning to ESPN with a new contract, but has signed on with ABC News as well. The ABC News deal includes appearances on Nightline and Good Morning America. As for ESPN, Rovell will appear on a variety of television platforms including SportsCenter and write for ESPN.com. We've also learned Rovell's last day with NBC Universal will be July 6th. It's unknown at this time whether or not Rovell will have his own show at ESPN as he did on NBC Sports Network.
With all the reports and rumors surrounding big names like Michelle Beadle, Scott Van Pelt, and Erin Andrews, Darren Rovell flew under the radar as a huge free agent in the sports media this summer and ESPN acted aggressively to bring him back to Bristol. It's ironic reports of Rovell's return emerge on the same day as comments from Executive VP Vince Doria to Ed Sherman calling Twitter "a headache." That may make for an interesting conversation once Rovell returns to Bristol.
Darren Rovell has certainly made his name on Twitter over the last year with many high-profile clashes and certainly not everyone is a fan of his style. However, when you break down the hire, this seems like a good move for ESPN and Rovell. Like him or not, Darren Rovell brings something to the table nobody else does on Twitter and in the sports business world. With the massive number of ESPN platforms available, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Rovell get a major push on the television and .com side of things as ESPN welcomes him back into the fold.
UPDATE (Thursday 8:40 AM ET): Rovell confirmed he is leaving CNBC and returning to ESPN, where else, on Twitter this morning.
I am indeed leaving my home for the last 6 years, @CNBC. It was a great place to grow & see how the best in business news do what they do.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) June 21, 2012
I’m thrilled to have reached an agreement in principle with ESPN. No matter how others bash it, Bristol is truly a magical place.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) June 21, 2012