ESPN President John Skipper: ‘Sports Television is Unique’

[ 0 ] July 3, 2013 |

John Skipper has led ESPN through a stage of innovation as television tries to keep up with the digital revolution.

Skipper, who is president of ESPN and a huge University of North Carolina Tar Heels fan, made ESPN network the first to offer live streaming on mobile devices, and he continues to re-imagine the way we watch sports. Watch genConnect talk to ESPN President John Skipper about the future of television and how sports TV is unique at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival:

WATCH: ESPN’s Tom Farrey: How Sports Impact Society

Skipper believes that ESPN has to keep innovating because watching sports is different from watching any other sort of television – you have to do it in real-time. You can delay watching any other sort of program and not lose any of the excitement or enjoyment but with sports. “In a lot of ways, sports is a sweet spot,” Skipper said. “In a world where you can watch everything else whenever you want to watch it, you don’t have to watch it because it gets scheduled at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday. But you’ve got to watch the game because that’s when it’s at.”

According to Skipper, the digitalization of television has made sports more valuable. By offering the option to watch their network on any device – providing you have a paid subscription – ESPN has ensured their customers will stay with them.


ESPN President John Skipper with genConnect’s Baruch Shemtov

Although Skipper is the president of the largest sports network, he is not positive that he is a “sports guy.” “From a very early age, I’ve been a very poor basketball player,” he quipped.

But Skipper attributes his success in business and at ESPN to luck. “I’ve had a great deal of good fortune and being in my position is more fortuitous than planned and, perhaps, than deserved.”

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

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About John Skipper: In his 14 years with the company prior to becoming ESPN President and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks on January 1, 2012, John Skipper was a key architect of ESPN’s explosive growth. He played leadership roles [...]
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