John Skipper

ESPN, President and Disney Media Networks, Co-Chairman
Since taking the helm as president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks on January 1, 2012, John Skipper has secured ESPN’s global leadership position in the competitive sports media landscape into the next decade through groundbreaking multiplatform rights agreements and embracing new technologies to serve fans wherever they are. Today, ESPN enjoys unparalleled television and digital scale in sports media. Throughout, he has continued to foster what he calls “our best strategic advantage—the people and culture of ESPN.” Skipper has led ESPN to a series of long-term, multiplatform agreements (all through at least 2021) with major rights holders, including NBA; Major League Baseball; the College Football Playoff; major college conferences; US Open tennis; and the Rose, Sugar, and Orange Bowls. He aggressively signed long-term affiliate agreements with cable and satellite providers and new entrants like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV NOW, and Hulu. Skipper has also expanded ESPN’s footprint outside the U.S. with Sony in India, Tencent in China, and Kwesé in Africa.
The long-term, multiplatform agreements with major rightsholders and distributors include:
  • Major League Baseball; the College Football Playoff; NBA; ACC; Big 12; US Open tennis; WNBA; and the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls.
  • ESPN and the SEC announced a 20-year agreement to create and operate the ESPN SEC Network and digital platforms, while extending the existing media rights agreement through 2034.
  • In 2016, ESPN and the ACC announced a 20-year agreement to launch the ACC Network, across linear and digital platforms. ESPN’s rights agreement with the ACC was extended until 2036.
  • Agreements across all major nationwide distributors, both traditional – Altice USA (formerly Cablevision and Suddenlink), AT&T and DirecTV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Cox, DISH, Google Fiber, Mediacom, Midcontinent Communications, NCTC, NRTC, NTTC, Spectrum (formerly Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks), Verizon FiOS TV – and digital (Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV NOW, and Hulu).

Skipper holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature from the University of North Carolina and Columbia University, respectively. He joined ESPN in 1997 and had served as executive vice president of content, prior to being named president.

Featured in: Tuesday General Sessions: State of the Industry

<< Go back