Today Sports Business Journal released their annual list of the most influential executives in sports and ESPN President John Skipper topped the list ahead of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:
Those major pro sports commissioners may be in the news much more than a largely anonymous figure like John Skipper, but ESPN is worth more than all those major pro sports league. ESPN has all the money, the power, and the influence they could ever want. ESPN Front Row has a piece on Skipper and a quote from SBJ on Skipper being recognized ahead of all the major pro sports commissioners and other TV execs…
“When I ask people in the sports business to name the most influential executive, John Skipper’s name always gets mentioned,” said Abraham Madkour, Executive Editor SBJ/Sports Business Daily. “He took over one of the most recognizable American brands a year ago, and ESPN didn’t skip a beat. There is a reason why everyone wants to be like ESPN. Its day-to-day influence on the sports business is without equal.”
Skipper took over as president from George Bodenheimer at the beginning of 2012 and ESPN indeed hasn't skipped a beat since. (Wow that pun is dare I say… Nantzian!) Skipper's biggest influence may be the aggressive acquisition of live sports rights, especially as VP of content for several years before rising to the top spot. Under his direction, ESPN has certainly won more than they've lost when it comes to televising the major sporting events in America. Given the incredible value of ESPN and their near monopoly over the sports world, there's no question Skipper is rightfully #1 on this SBJ list.